RE: security

By Bonnie Wilson, Airports Council Int'l - North America

June 2000

Keep an eye on changing regulations
Aviation security in 2000-2001 won't look much different on the surface than it has in the past, though subtle but important changes are on their way. Some airports and air carriers will find themselves responsible for carrying out security programs to a larger extent than they have previously.

The Federal Aviation Administra-tion has been working with the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC) to find a way to re-categorize airports for the purposes of security on a more comprehensive basis than the criteria applied in the past.

Members of the ASAC requested the FAA take a look at airports and air carrier activity in the context of probable threat, and other security related concerns, and to work with the local security consortia to determine what "category" an airport should be.

FAA will be working with airports and carriers to reassign categories, and the security responsibilities that go with them, through the Airport Security Program Amendment process. As these category changes are made, airports, air carriers, security service providers, and other tenants may see their roles and responsibilities for providing aviation security change as well. In cases where the airport's category is "raised responsibilities" for passenger and baggage screening, access control and other security measures will increase accordingly.

Other changes will come about with the issuance of the "new" security regulations for airports and air carriers — 14 CFR Parts 107 and 108. These long-standing regulations have been in the rewrite process almost as long as they have been in effect. FAA predicts that a final version of both rules will be issued in June/July of 2000. The changes to the regulations are not expected to be drastic in nature, though the regulations are comprehensive and will require all regulated parties to undertake an extensive review of their existing security programs to reflect the new way of doing business.

A recurring theme of the proposed regulations is that all parties with access privileges in the secure area of the airport have the responsibility to uphold and maintain the security system.

One new program area reflecting this change is a requirement for airports and air carriers to establish programs to ensure individual employee compliance with airport and air carrier security programs. Commonly referred to as "individual accountability", the new requirement will impose penalties for non-compliance on the individual who violates the rules and regulations, not on their employer as was common practice in the past.

Non-air carrier tenants will also be given the opportunity to accept a larger role in providing security at airports. Under the existing regulations air carriers may enter into exclusive use or exclusive area agreements with the airport and the FAA under which they provide for access control and other "107" security responsibilities. The proposed regulations would allow non-air carriers tenants to enter into similar agreements with airports, whereby they would be responsible for providing overall security and access control measures for specific areas of the airport.

new regulation also proposes to remove security requirements where they may not be needed by allowing airports to redraw the Security Identification Display Area (SIDA) — or secure area of the airport — closer to the terminal building and commercial aircraft operations. These and other changes to access control procedures, identification/access media applications and recordkeeping, signage, training requirements, and incident reporting procedures will keep aviation security professionals busy as they implement the new regulations.

A whole new section of the Code of Federal Regulations has been introduced this year as well. New Part 111 will govern the operations of security screening companies. Passenger and baggage screening is the first line of defense in aviation security. Recognition of that has led to the introduction and deployment of a variety of new screening technologies and a new section of federal security regulations that will establish performance criteria for all persons and companies that wish to provide aviation security screening.

The proposed Part 111 includes provisions for the certification of companies performing security screening for air carriers, indirect air carriers, and foreign air carriers. If carriers choose to perform their own screening, they too will be required to be certified to do so. Certified screening companies would be required to prepare operations specifications, security programs, training and testing programs, and oversight programs to be included in a Screening Standard Security Program (SSSP.) The final regulation will set forth specific screening procedures and performance requirements that will be monitored and eventually verified by Threat Image Projection (TIP.)

The rule is expected to delineate employment qualifications for screener personnel, and require screening companies to have qualified management and technical personnel — all of whom will be required to pass computerized FAA knowledge-based tests and x-ray interpretation tests.

The new screening regulations are being put into place to support the FAA's ongoing equipment deployment effort. The FAA's Security Equipment Integrated Product Team (SEIPT), a cooperative govern-ment/industry research and advisory group, has been purchasing a wide variety of explosives detection technology and installing it at screening checkpoints and in checked-baggage systems around the country.

The SEIPT's role is to determine the effectiveness of each type of available technology, the training requirements associated with its use, the performance capabilities of specific products in the field, and to make recommendations to the FAA's Office of Civil Aviation Security on future deployment.

FAA's goal is to develop a comprehensive screening regime to ensure that all passengers and baggage are screened in the most effective and efficient methods possible, but at the same time making sure that the equipment fits the needs of the facility and the passenger flow.

By working with industry in this way, FAA can ensure that security goals are met and that the equipment deployed meets the needs of individual facilities.

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As we move along with the implementation of the new rules and procedures we can be sure that the FAA, the Department of Transportation Inspector General's Office, and the U.S. Congress will continue to keep track of our progress. Continual testing of the industry's performance is the reality of the day.

FAA and the industry have made major strides in improving the security programs provided at our nation's airports, but our work is not complete. Working with the regulators, the industry can assess our progress, identify areas for improvement, and carry out the most effective measures possible to achieve the goals of the aviation security community.

About the Author
Bonnie Wilson serves as senior director of Airport Facilities and Services for Airports Council Int-l - North America, based in Washington, D.C. She is responsible for representing members in negotiations and rulemaking procedures with federal agencies, among others.