12th Annual AAAE Annual Aviation Security Summit Hyatt Regency Crystal City Alexandria, VA
Dec 11, 2012
General Session I
Perspectives from Congressional Leadership
Moderator: Joel Bacon, AAAE
The Honorable Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Chair, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, US Senate
Its post 9/11 and US U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-LA says that it’s time to stop throwing money at the Department of Homeland Security and we have to start doing more with less.
“After 9/11, we were throwing money at this issue (aviation and homeland security) and hoping something would stick,” Landrieu said. “Those days are over. We are going to have to do more with less and that’s going to require innovation and cooperation.”
Landrieu’s comments came at the forefront of a speech that discussed the importance of aviation to the US economy, and segued into the elephant in every room, the fiscal cliff.
Landrieu is confident that a solution to the looming crisis will be found, but it may be at the final our, or even a bit past it.
“We may go over the fiscal cliff, but only for a day or so,” she said. “The good news is I think we’re going to avoid sequestration. I would like to get some sort of agreement before Christmas but I think it’s unlikely.”
Landrieu said that today the U.S. is in competition with other countries, and working on the passenger travel experience is essential to attracting tourists to visit the United States.
“$4,500 is average amount each tourist spends when they come to the United States,” said Landrieu. People don’t have to come to the U.S. If they can travel without hassle (to another country), they will.”
Landrieu said she wants to host hearings next year, not with TSA but with business travelers, and individuals in the hotel and restaurant industries to see if the DHS initiatives, such as Global Entry, are working the way (DHS) says it is.
“It’s not just about moving people, it’s also moving cargo,” said Landrieu. “When the recession ends, Europe stabilizes itself, the pressure will return on this system to move goods and services and people back and forth, . . . in a productive and profitable way.” Landrieu said that the programs such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program will be critical to developing the innovations necessary to continue to secure air travel, but do it at a lower cost and more effectively.