Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Ft. Lauderdale, San Bernardino, LAX, the Boston Marathon, Dallas, Las Vegas, Orlando – what used to be a list of US cities, schools and events, have become names synonymous with tragedy. And that’s not even an entire list. Let us also not forget the many airports affected, such as the MetroJet bombings, the Germwings hijacking by the first officer who tragically crashed the plane into the French Alps, the bombing of a Daallo Airlines flight, attacks on the Istanbul and Brussels airports, and that’s just a beginning. As we continue to concentrate efforts on advanced security measures to safeguard our public spaces, some of the top movers and shakers in aviation security got together for the AAAE/TSA/DHS Annual Aviation Security Summit in Washington DC to discuss the state of our industry.

The top 10 concentrations to watch for in 2018 in aviation security:

  1. The threat to commercial aviation will continue.
  2. We will continue to see changes in checkpoint operations founded in risk-based assessment of passengers.
  3. The rollout of more advanced CT machines into the screening checkpoints to better detect the evolving terrorist threat.
  4. Screening detection will continue to improve but likely will still not yet get a passing grade.
  5. Crowdsourcing will actually enable “see something, say something” to work and aviation security overall will improve as a result.
  6. ISIS and al Qaeda, although now relatively leaderless, will continue to spread their ideology like a virus that has already escaped the lab.
  7. A renewed focus on the insider threat will emerge.
  8. Outcome focused regulatory enforcement will continue to be improved.
  9. A renewed focus on air cargo security will gain emphasis.
  10. A TSA Administrator that, like the last one, gets the importance of the industry.

And the top 5 things not to hold your breath for in aviation security:

  1. Implementation of biometrics into airport access control systems.
  2. An acceleration of the time-to-market of new detection technologies, including adoption of tested and successful CBP strategies used to vet and move people through the system, merging into the TSA screening area.
  3. A substantial improvement in airport response to active shooters, improvised explosive device attacks and vehicle born improvised explosive attacks, including incorporating beneficial designs into the terminal structure, such as glass glazing, reinforced building materials and strategically positioned ballistic shielding in the terminal and public areas, and gunshot detection systems connected to CCTV systems that can provide a comprehensive solution to evacuations during active shooters.
  4. A serious cooperative movement with the air carrier community to improve aviation security overall (mainly due to a lack of support for airport financial initiatives that enable us to better improve our security measures.)
  5. A complete blind eye towards the newly established ICAO aviation security guidelines.

Over the coming weeks, I will expand on each of these topics to continue my own examination of progress being made in aviation security. Follow along by book marking my blog and adding your comments to the conversation. (

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