Author Archives: Jeff Price

Getting it right, getting it wrong

It seems that Rep. John Mica has joined the opposition to the appointment of Erroll Southers to the head of TSA. Mica is criticizing what he perceives is Southers lack of executive management experience. Among rumors that Southers was nominated only after more qualified candidates passed on the opportunity as being unwilling or reluctant to serve, Mica is blasting both Southers position on collective bargaining for TSA screeners and what he calls Southers “second-tier” leadership experience.

Meanwhile, an article ran today on The Daily addressing measures the Los Angeles International Airport is taking to increase security. LAX has been one of the airports on the forefront of aviation security taking additional measures, studying counterterrorism methods and employing them where appropriate. Did I mention that Erroll Southers is from LAX!

After hearing Erroll lecture to a classroom full of airport security coordinator trainees in a class I was training last June in Los Angeles, I was immediately impressed with his poise, knowledge and learned perspectives on aviation and transportation security. Continue Reading

Who is responsible for airline security?

Ask virtually anyone on the street “who is responsible for airline security,” and the answer will most likely be, “TSA.” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and could mean that airlines will have to pay more and take on more security responsibilities for their international flights.

While TSA sets forth and enforces the regulations, there are many players and many layers within the aviation security system, and it’s important to know who’s who and what’s what because it could make a difference in the security of the plane you’re on.

Recently, after the failed Christmas bombing, TSA dished out several security procedures … Continue Reading

Security has a real cost

Finally, nine years after 9/11 and people are starting to understand the real economic impact of security.

Today, CBS news reported that a 2008 survey showed that 41 million trips were avoided due to security hassles resulting in a cost of $28 billion to the U.S. economy. Business travelers have options such as web casts, telecommuting, and even driving to shorter destinations. While corporate aircraft sales have not seen a real increase as a result of aviation security rules, it looks like there has still been an uptick in corporate aircraft travel through the use of fractionals and charter credit-style card usage.

Today, Transport Canada announced that only certain items would be allowed in carry-on baggage and are actively discouraging carry-on’s. This is THE problem. We have the technology, know-how and effective security practices, such as behavior profiling, to implement an aviation security system that does not require the passenger to conform to the rules, but the processes to conform to the passenger (sometimes still known as the “customer”).
Continue Reading

Playing with Fire

Absurd: wildly unreasonable, illogical or inappropriate. Pick one of these descriptors and they all apply to the recent news about Erroll Southers, President Obama’s appointee to head TSA.

So now some information has come out about Erroll Southers and that he forgot to tell Congress about an alleged misdeed he did about 20 years ago. Well, so what?

First, remember that this is how people are attacked today when someone has a beef and no legitimate argument to stand on. See, a certain Congressman has a problem with Southers’ views on TSA employees receiving collective bargaining so he has held up Southers’ confirmation to be the director of TSA. Rather than debate Southers on the subject, it seems it’s easier to just try to discredit him so people are digging for dirt. That’s nonsense considering that TSA desperately needs leadership right now. Continue Reading

Fixing the System

As more and more news reports begin to come out about this incident, along with the inevitable “what needs fixing,” stories, let’s take a look at what really needs fixing.

The No-Fly and TIDE List

TIDE is the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center and is a repository of information on international terrorist identities. According to a recent press report, there are about 550,000 people on the TIDE list, 14,000 on the Selectee and 4,000 on the no-fly (click here for source).

We need to continue initial efforts by TSA to clean up the no-fly and selectee list. The fact that this guy wasn’t on the no-fly list may just be an indication that he had not done enough previously to warrant being placed on the list. To screen everyone on the TIDE list however, will take more time and may potentially let the bad guys know that they are on the list. Sometimes, in law enforcement and intelligence, it’s not good to let the hunted, know they are being hunted.

Deployment of Whole Body Imagers … Continue Reading

Attempted Bombing

The attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 brings aviation security back to center stage. The attempt of course brings many questions back to the forefront about aviation security, questions I have addressed in this blog previously. So, let’s use an interview style to address what inevitably will be questions being asked at media outlets… Continue Reading

Security Scare Tactics

Normally, I wouldn’t bother to address a media report that is obviously unbalanced and done just to evoke fear and ratings. However, sometimes you have to raise the nonsense flag, particularly when things are so skewed that they demand correction. Recently, Fox News in Denver ran a story where TSA missed 3 rolls of coins… Continue Reading

Registered Traveler on the Ropes

Clear, the company that developed the Registered Traveler program in the U.S. announced today that it is ceasing operations. All Clear lanes are shutting down effective immediately.

Here was the message sent to Clear users: “At 11:00 pm PST today, Clear will cease operations. Clear’s parent company, Verified Identity Pass, Inc. has been unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations. After today, Clear lanes will be unavailable.” Continue Reading