Dateline: 84th Annual AAAE Conference and Exposition
AAAE Annual: Be Prepared and Proactive – General Aviation Airport Security Update
Robert Olislagers, A.A.E. Executive Director, Centennial Airport
Scott McMahon, Morristown Municipal Airport
Kerwin Wilson, GA, Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement, TSA
Kerwin Wilson took over from Brian DeLauter back in 2011 but according to his bio has experience in the general aviation community, as did Brian. He has been involved in the development of the “revised” Large Aircraft Security Program and is reviewing several other programs including repair stations, 12-5 security programs, DCA access program and others.
GA is responsible for approximately 1.2 million jobs and $150 billion economic impact per year.
Wilson reiterated the risk-based approach mantra that TSA has been chanting throughout the week.
The previous LASP had nearly 10,000 public comments with over 80% of them negative. Wilson says that the new LASP is 180 degrees from what it was before and he believes the industry will like it. However, since it is an election year, it’s not on a timeline and is not likely to come out this year.
The program continues to be developed.
Each operator going into or out of the Maryland-3 must have a CHRC and receive a PIN number in order to operate in those airport, but they are not currently approved to do pattern work. The operator is only approved for one approach and that’s something that Wilson wants to work on and is on his desk.
DCA Access Standard Security Program
The program is now in the GA security wheelhouse with 167 FBO’s in the operators and 73 gateway airports. We are up 55% in operations into Reagan and Wilson hopes to see it at 75% soon.
There are 24 slots available and we’re not close to filling them at all. The first wave of operators were Fortune 500 companies. Wilson looks to continue expanding to other operators and possibly using third-party screeners to alleviate any potential burden to TSO’s.
Armed Security Officer – the fallacy of the program is that most airport operators into DCA know everyone on the plane except for the unknown ASO with the firearm. Although this process played out well in the papers, Wilson is looking at alternative measures.
“I will tell you this right now, we will not eliminate the ASO program,” Wilson stated. We probably won’t be able to eliminate it but may be able to get some alternatives to it.”
After 9/11 a lot of flight schools disappeared out of the DC area. Wilson was involved in the establishment of the ADIZ around Washington DC. The GA community has shown me that you are part of the solution,” said Wilson. “GA had nothing to do with 9/11 and it’s hard to get a community to trust [GA] that they have no idea about.”
Wilson is looking at this program as well.
Presently, the no fly list must be downloaded by the GA operator and compared to the flight manifest. Wilson wants to automate this process by this fall or spring 2013. “I want it to be web-based…so the mom and pop operations can access it.”
South Capitol Street Heliport
The heliport was shut down after 9/11 and Wilson wants to reopen it, while maintaining the same security requirements for other DC airport security programs.
Principal Security Specialist
I think every GA person and community should have a point-of-contact so we’ve divided up the community into six regions and we will assign a PSS to handle security questions on anything related to GA.
Robert Olislagers PhD, AAE, TLO, ACE-Security – Intelligence Sharing in the Air Domain
“When there’s actionable intelligence, stuff is already happening,” Robert said in his opening comments.
The traditional approach is to wait for TSA to disseminate information to the GA community and Olislagers has been very frustrated with getting intelligence bulletins three days after the media reports the same information.
Olislagers has been working with the Office of Intelligence on information getting pushed out to the community.
Olislagers asked the audience if anyone has ever shared intelligence information or security threat information with the TSA – several hands went up. The second questions was – did you get feedback from TSA afterwards. No hands went up.
Olislagers notes that it’s a shame because we’re always looking for patterns. “The attack in Mumbai was a wake up call and should be a wake up call for every terminal in the United States. It doesn’t take a lot of folks (to disrupt the transportation or any system).
“The intelligence community is not designed to share information,’ Olislagers said. “But it’s getting better.” Once the intel gets through the IC system, we may eventually get a notification that basically says look out.
Olislagers notes that about 80% of the groups are Salifist (radical Islam).
One significant weakness Olislagers pointed out is that Denver International Airport has not had a FIO (Field Intelligence Officer – TSA) for over 14 months and that’s odd for the 4th busiest airport in the world.
The intelligence community (IC) local connection is through Fusion Centers. They have a program called Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO) or Fusion Liaison Officers (FLO) and the sole focus is to provide information to the Fusion Center (sort of like the see something say something program). Airport operators are eligible to become TLOs or FLOs.
Fusion centers have FBI, National Guard, and local law enforcement agencies – ‘if you have an interest in getting intelligence information, you can be part of the Fusion Center process… there’s no formal process to this, it’s all about relationships.’
The TLO program is a 3-day training program and does provide you access to timely intelligence information.
Information drifts to intelligence through a “puzzle” process – putting together pieces of information until it begins to form a picture. Robert told a story about a recent sale of a King Air and the buyer was asking unusual questions, such as how many seats are on the plane, rather than typical questions which are normally related to hours left on the engine and maintenance history.
“Art Students,” two are students who were hopping rides across the country on GA aircraft – pilots were allowing total strangers on corporate aircraft. They refused to leave the premises until they were threatened with arrest – we have flight crews that are not following standard procedures.
“Cross Dresser,” gentleman was first officer on a Learjet, had checked himself into a medical facility, threatened to kill his girlfriend by crashing the plane into her apartment. He checked himself out of the facility. They moved the jet and closed the airport and 3 hours later they found and arrested the individual near the airport.
Olislagers recommended that GA airport operators first get a secret clearance. It allows you to get deeper into the system and even sit in the Fusion Center. Also become a TLO, and get hooked into Infragard (an information sharing program) for homeland security (headed by the FBI).
“At the end of the day, we’ve been waiting for TSA to help us, but we need to go out there and be proactive,” said Olislagers.
K. Wilson: the problem is there has been a lot of information about GA but we just haven’t put it all together. Wilson says he’s been developing a joint information portal for intel information on GA and intends to establish a feedback loop.
The 1-866-GA Secure line is answered by Air Marshals in TSOC. They will notify local law enforcement – Wilson wants to build a homeland security information network. Wilson wants the ability to take Homeland Security Information Network data and push that information out to the 600,000 pilots in the GA community.
The Q&A feedback
One individual noted that they had not heard any of the intel information previously from their local sheriff. However, another noted that he really doesn’t think that GA security is something he should worry about and doesn’t have time to worry about it.
The panelists responded that it’s better to be proactive than to wait for something bad to happen and then be regulated.