Category Archives: Uncategorized

No Golden Rule for the TSA

There is a lot of entertainment recently with the controversy over the Longmont, Colorado woman who allegedly groped a TSA screener. While this is a turnabout from what usually occurs, it’s not likely to change TSA’s procedures. Currently, under the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the TSA employee is conducting a lawful search, and  despite… Continue Reading

9th Annual Aviation Security Summit

So what do the industry leaders have to say about the future of aviation security?

Let me start out by saying that everyone wants to work cooperatively, to build partnerships on an intelligence-driven-risk-based-assessment approach to reduce the size of the haystack because at the end of the day it’s all about security.

If that sounds like a convoluted sentence, it is. But, those were the terms that we heard over and over again. I might also add that those are the same terms we hear just about every year. Other recurring themes, that recurred again this year, included the usual “let’s focus on bad people not bad things,” which in the real world ends up meaning – “throw more technology at everything.”

The Opening Session

There were a few patterns that may give us some clues about the shape of things to come… Continue Reading

What’s wrong with SPOT? No, not the dog

Recently, the NTSB released the report on Continental Airlines 1404 that went off the runway at Denver International Airport in December of 2008, due to crosswinds. The NTSB stated that the Captain did not hold proper crosswind correction on the rudder.

While this incident may seem not to have anything to do with aviation security it does relate to the issue of training — and training has everything to do with aviation security.

It’s an unfortunate given — when times are tough and budgets are being cut, training is one of the first things to go. Agencies and businesses will cut training that is not mandatory, and look for the cheapest solutions for training that is mandatory. When you cut training, there is usually no immediate impact. Kind of like missing a workout. You miss one workout, no big deal. No one will even notice it. Go ahead and miss two, three, five even 10 and your outward appearance will barely change if at all.

But, what happens when you miss 20 workouts? How about 30? There will definitely be a consequence. You’ll gain weight, not have as much energy and invite disease into your body. The same thing happens when training is cutback to the lowest common denominator. This is what has happened with the TSA’s Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) and Behavior Detection Officer (BDO) programs. Continue Reading

Don’t shuffle the deck chairs

As the new TSA Administrator is sworn in two events have occurred that may influence his appointment — but careful consideration should be given before any actions are taken. The first is a recent news report about comments made by Representative John Mica, blasting TSA for it’s ineffectiveness and top heavy bureaucracy. Click here. Second,… Continue Reading

Still blogging…

Just a quick note to the readers of this blog — yes, we’re still blogging. I just returned from a 10 day trip to Italy and have a few blog entries in the works to discuss some of the international security practices, and also some new domestic security practices and issues to address. Stay tuned,… Continue Reading

Air cargo screening deadlines may be tough to meet

While Northwest Flight 253 has been making many of the security headlines lately, there is another debate going on that is drawing less attention, but is very important. By this year, the industry is expected to be conducting 100% screening of air cargo placed on a commercial aircraft, and it’s looking less and less like that deadline may be achieved. Continue Reading

Mishandled Aircraft Bomb Threat

The news is just starting to emerge that the airport may have mishandled Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas day. The core issue is this — it comes back to education AGAIN. Procedures were not followed. TSA had watch list failures. The air carrier and airport had operational and procedural failures. Everyone in industry needs to be as educated on aviation security as they are on aviation safety issues. 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

Columbine and Airport Security

On the 10th anniversary of Columbine, I’ve been reading Dave Cullen’s excellent book on the subject and having some insights as related to airport security. First, my personal connection to Columbine was as a Jefferson County public information officer for the Jeffco Airport at the time. All available PIO’s were sent to the site the… Continue Reading