ad space

Category Archives: Commercial Aviation Aircraft Operator Security

Aircraft Theft brings TSA’s Timing on Employee Vetting into Question

Aircraft Theft brings TSA’s Timing on Employee Vetting into Question

The Aviation Security Act of 2016 requires TSA to improve the eligibility requirements and increase the disqualifying criminal offenses for personnel working at an airport, who have unescorted access to certain airport security areas. Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be on the top priority of TSA as a few months back they decided to kick the proposed regulations on down the road – and then someone stole an airplane and reminded us that aviation is a still a target for terrorists, criminals and the mentally unstable.

Did you know that with the strictest definition of the current aviation credentialing regulation, an individual could commit murder, while hijacking an airplane, add in armed robbery, espionage, treason, arson, burglary, while smuggling drugs in an airplane and to make matters worse, turn off the navigational lights of the plane to avoid detection, WHILE smuggling the drugs, could still pass the current background check regulations and be issued identification to work in an airport or airline security area? As long as all of these offenses took place more than 10 years ago (and assuming they aren’t spending the rest of their lives in jail), this individual technically meets the existing TSA regulatory requirements.

Presently, as long as an individual has not been found guilty of 28 specific offenses within the past 10 years (known as the lookback period), they can be issued a security badge that allows them access to the airport ramp and commercial airliners. While some airport and airline operators attempt to add to the lookback time and add to the list of offenses, many others do not for fear they will not be supported by the TSA, nor supported by their bosses for the extra personnel and resources it will take to increase the requirements.

In response to the well-known insider threat, the 2016 act requires TSA to issue proposed rulemaking that would amend the vetting requirements for employees with access to a Security Identification Display Area (SIDA). The rule is supposed to add to the list of disqualifying offenses and extend the lookback period to at least 15 years. Unfortunately, TSA tossed this on the shelf until at least 2019.

While this particular rule would not likely have stopped the recent theft of a Horizon airplane from SeaTac airport, it does highlight gaps in the employee vetting process – one of which are the anemic background check regulations. Post 9/11, at least we can say that it’s more difficult to get a badge now than it was then, but this is an important rule and deserves serious consideration – sooner than later.

For more information on the rulemaking click here:

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Theft of Aircraft at SeaTac

Theft of Aircraft at SeaTac

This is an evolving situation so facts may change the information expressed below. The theft of an aircraft out of SeaTac’s airport has shined a light on a rarely considered area of aviation security, the potential threat from those with unfettered access to an airplane.  The last significant incident like this was the Germanwings first… Continue Reading

DHS Announcement on Metrojet 9268

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson just released at statement on aviation security enhancements in light of the recent crash of a Russian airliner. The statement is posted here, followed up by my commentary. STATEMENT BY SECRETARY JEH C. JOHNSON CONCERNING AVIATION SECURITY ENHANCEMENTS PENDING INVESTIGATION OF THE CRASH OF METROJET FLIGHT 9268  While the facts and… Continue Reading

Colorado Professor Appointed Board Member for Aviation Security with National Safe Skies Alliance

Jeff Price, aviation security specialist and owner of Leading Edge Strategies of Arvada, CO has been appointed as a Board Member for the Safe Skies Alliance. The National Safe Skies Alliance ( is an FAA-funded, non-profit, membership-based organization that serves aviation by providing impartial and effective testing and evaluation of safety and security for airports.… Continue Reading

Lockerbie: 25 years later

  I missed an important anniversary yesterday – the 25th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The bombing was eventually linked back to the country of Libya, who used operatives working for Libyan Airlines, based in Malta at the time. They placed a radio “boom” box containing an explosive… Continue Reading

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or of the one

The TSA is relaxing the restrictions on pocketknives and some sporting equipment. The flight attendants association is not happy. Unfortunately, it is not about the safety of individuals it is about the safety of the entire flight and allowing small items, actually increases aviation security. Shortly after 9/11, a documentary on airline security featured a… Continue Reading

Don’t hit the snooze on this alarm

When an alarm system is broken, you fix it, you don’t turn off the alarm. But that’s what Congressman Mike Rogers-R (Alabama) who is also the chairman of the Transportation Security Subcommittee Congressman said in a recent Bloomberg article – he believes that the terrorist threat has changed and that we should look at getting rid of… Continue Reading

Ideology Dies Hard, maybe we need Bruce Willis

Ever notice in all the Die Hard movies that once the bad guys are dead, they stay dead? They don’t continue to inspire hundreds if not thousands of others? Too bad movies don’t imitate real life. For the past few years, YouTube has been the place for those really upset with society to get their… Continue Reading

TSA wants to talk to you

It’s too early to tell if TSA’s new approach to behavior detection will work. Click here for full story. Unfortunately, the United States has a history of taking something that works really well, adapts it, but not without taking out the thing that made it effective in the first place. Hopefully, this will not be… Continue Reading