Dateline: 11th Annual AAAE/TSA/DHS Security Summit, Washington DC
Opening Session: Chip Barclay, President, AAAE, and TSA Administrator John Pistole
(written in real-time during the session – please forgive grammatical and structure errors)
In typical “FBI” format, Administrator Pistole gave a short, to-the-point briefing on where TSA will be in 2012. The presentation, which only lasted about 15 minutes, before breaking for questions, focused on the passenger pre-check program, the known crew member program and some other new program focused on RBS – Risk Based Security.
Pistole – [aviation security] is about risk mitigation, not elimination of risk. “Ten years after 9/11 I think we’re poised to a new paradigm shift.” There are several layers to RBS, but the most public is the airline pre-check, which is expanding to additional airports.
Pistole noted that they want to capture as many people as possible in pre-check, but did not cite specific figures as to how many passengers they expect to enroll in the program. The speed of the expansion of that program is more dependent upon technology implementation, not policy.
Pistole predicted that 2012 would see a large expansion of the pre-check program throughout the country and an expansion of the Known Crew Member program. “Why are we spending time with pilots who may have some prohibited item in their cockpit, when they are flying the aircraft,” asked Pistole. In 2012, look also for an expansion of Known Crew Member. Talking with the flight attendants association to possibly add them to the program in the future.
Pistole also mentioned that there are other programs where there are holders of government credentials, to get them to an expedited screening program.
The focus in 2012 is to look at the U.S. / Domestic market, to ensure the new programs are working before expanding to the International market.
TSA is in the process of creating a TSA Academy, with the idea of having everyone going to a single training facility, to create a consistent training program for all personnel. They will probably use an existing facility, such as FLETC.
Question to Pistole from participant: ten years after the attacks, airports have made significant investments to protect from attacks – but now politicians and public officials have started to question whether we need to continue investing money in aviation security. What’s the threat level to aviation? “The bad guys, the terrorists, still want to hurt us, our concern is that “they” have radicalized someone here in the U.S., who accesses an aircraft using a non-metallic device and attempt to blow the plane up,” said Pistole.
“We have been successful in the past 2 years…there are still bomb-makers out there, who have been very adept at designing, constructing and concealing, non-metallic devices… if you get questions, asking if there is a threat, come into one of our confidential briefings. The threats are real the stakes are high.”
Other notable quotes from Pistole:
“To provide the most effective security in the most efficient way.”
“We are first and foremost a counterterrorist organization”