Aviation Security Summit – General Session III

Aviation Security Summit – General Session III
Risk Based Security Initiatives
Mark Crosby, A.A.E. Chief of Public Safety and Security, Port of Portland
Paul Leyh GM Commercial Aviation, TSNM, TSA
Ken Sava, Director, Trusted Traveler, US CBP
Phil Gilbert, Manager, Security Compliance, American Airlines
Wendy Reiter, Director, Aviation Security and Emergency, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

(written in real-time during the session – please forgive grammatical and structure errors – comments are paraphrased, unless enclosed in quotes)

Risk based security continues to the be the theme of the day, but Paul Leyh notes that while most people feel they themselves are low risk, some people don’t want to provide the additional, personal information, necessary to conduct the appropriate background checks, to identify them as a low risk traveler.

Ten years ago, we did not have the technology or systems, implemented widely, to incorporate a risk based program – among technical challenges is the ability of the airlines to be able to print the codes on the boarding passes to identify low risk travelers.

“Mitigating risk is not eliminating risk,” Layh parroted Pistole’s comments from earlier this morning. Random and unpredictable security measure in place in order for RBS to be effective. “We don’t want to have 100% of the time, people feel entitlement to walk to the checkpoint and walk through – there needs to be some randomness.”

Gilbert noted that they wanted to be involved in the passenger pre check program, because, unlike registered traveler, pre-check provides a benefit to the customer (beyond front-of-the-line privileges).

At last years’ security summit, TSA alluded that they are looking at CBP’s Global Entry program, where there are presently about 800,000 enrolled members, to develop and implement the passenger pre-check program. CBP’s Ken Sava discussed the benefits of Global Entry – “what it allows us to do is take a segment of the population that we don’t need to look at at all, and take those officer hours and direct them [to others]. Since Global Entry was started, we’ve saved almost 30,000 officer hours [in screening others who do not require screening].

Sava did note that there is a lot of pre-work to become enrolled in Global Entry – and the system continues to re-run individuals to look for any issues with the existing Global Entry members. “While we’ve scrubbed these travelers to ensure they are low risk… they are still part of the complete passenger manifest process when the arrive [at a border checkpoint].

Sava also noted that Global Entry is coming to general aviation airports.

Specific to airport operators, the process for conducting background checks so airport and airline employees can receive the Customs Seal (for their airport ID badges to allow access to customs areas) will hopefully, also, be expedited. Equipment is lined up and deployment schedules are created – CBP hopes to do 5 airports after we get a final regulation and will expand further beyond that.

Over the past 10 years, the airlines have desired to take care of their premier passengers, who comprise about 60% + of their revenue (quoted Leyh), so they’ve created the frequent flyer lanes to accommodate them. Part of the challenge of pre-check is retaining the ability to provide the premium flyers the same [privileges] they have today, but, according to Leyh, TSA and the industry need to work through the initial testing issues and grow the population, so they can address these issues.

Gilbert, from AAL, noted that it’s very important that their premium customers continue to receive their privileges, throughout the travel process. Gilbert extended the “when you’ve seen one airport, you’ve seen one airport,” phrase, to “when you’ve seen one checkpoint, you’ve seen one checkpoint.”

Leyh noted that even though many airports would like to get pre-check as soon as possible, the program will expand as quickly as the airline systems can adapt to be able to encode the boarding passes. Right now, the United-Continental merger has left that company behind in implementing pre-check, as they try to integrate other essential systems, but United is next up for implementation.

Wendy Reiter, discussed their Known Crew Member program – Sea-Tac elected to not use the existing checkpoints, but other locations to conduct the credential check. “Obviously the pilot’s love it.” The pilots based in Seattle use it all the time, but pilots not based in Seattle, come in with the flight attendants and go back out with the flight attendants, so they use the Known Crew Member checkpoints, less. Also, Reiter feels that the pilots enjoy doing the credential check away from the general public.

Leyh also noted that with the pilots being checked separately, it allows screeners to focus more on passengers. Leyh mentioned that with the known flight attendant program, that there is value to having flight attendants continue to be screened, but there are also security benefits to having them undergo the Known Crewmember process – so TSA continues to weight the benefits.

Leyh fielded a question that has been on everyone’s mind – why not use the existing registered traveler program, commonly known as Clear, to add to the passenger pre-check program. Leyh’s answer was a bit convoluted – he said that while they will take a look at that population, they aren’t interested in just adding numbers to the program, and that not everyone in RT can meet the background standards of the pre-check program.

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