Aviation Security Summit, Day Two, General Session I
Aviation Security: A Look Back and A Look Ahead
Carter Morris, SVP Transportation Security Policy, AAAE
Douglas Hofsass, Deputy Asst., Administrator, TSNM, TSA
Doug Hofsass has been with TSA for quite sometime. He was on the emergency response team for United Airlines for Flight 93, then served as the Federal Security Director at LaGuardia and has served in several roles at TSA HQ. He has been extraordinary in his outreach to industry throughout his time.
Hofsass acknowledged that there have been challenges, particularly with the implementation of several Security Directives, but that with Administrator Pistole, TSA is trying to bring industry into the conversation earlier in the process to assess what will work and will not work. Hofsass pointed to successful programs such as the In-Depth Security Review (ISDR) but that there is more work to be done.
Hofsass commented that ‘”people feel better about working with TSA since they used to,” which was met with numerous positive head nods throughout the room.
“IDSR is one of the most successful initiatives that TSA and airports have taken on,” said Hofsass. With the trade associations, airport operators and TSA at the table, the IDSR began with the mission to clean up the SD’s, but has turned into a regulatory review and created a vehicle that can be activated, “we have a trusted group of individuals … that we can bring in and do an immediate threat stream analysis.”
Other benefits of IDSR have been good pilot programs to look at insider threat and other technology and process solutions, that are economical for airports.
Hofsass noted that when TSA personnel are discussing issues with Pistole, his first comment is, ‘have we talked with industry about that?’
TSA’s Transportation Security Network Management (TSNM) branch is now being reorganized to Security Policy and Industry Engagement (SPIE) will have the responsibility of driving policy for the industry but will go outside of commercial aviation.
Hofsass said that general aviation’s revised Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) regulations, and the Foreign Repair Station regulations, are on the front burner.
Former FAA Security Director, Cathal “Irish” Flynn, questioned Hofsass about White House and Congressional pressure to “do something,” when there is an attack, and whether TSA now has the wherewithal and credibility to stand up to lawmakers and say they are already addressing the issue and that knee-jerk legislation is not necessary.
“Having one of the world’s most respected and counter-terrorists chief, does not hurt,” said Hofsass. Hofsass noted that Pistole has opened doors to key communities that had not previously been accessible by previous Administrators.
Reno Airport Director Krys Bart questioned Hofsass about recent FSD proclivities to pushing TSA responsibilities back to airport operators, speaking specifically about exit lane staffing. Bart noted that this is similar to the early days of TSA.
“Is there a mandate for airports to man exit lanes at airports,” asked Bart.
“Not that I’m aware of,” replied Hofsass.
Several years ago, TSA did change exit lane staffing responsibilities to the airport operator where the exit lane was remotely located from the security checkpoint, but Bart claims that some TSA FSD’s are telling airport operators that they now need to staff the exit lanes that are co-located with the screening checkpoints.