The “Forgotten” Layers of Airport Security

TSA just posted a new YouTube video highlighting several layers in aviation security. The graphic they use has been around for quite sometime and is more focused on layers that TSA is directly responsible for. However, I also like to add that there are other significant layers that are often left off of this list. For the most part, these “ forgotten” layers are the primary responsibility of your local airport operator, but are still just as critical to the protection of the airport and air carrier operations.

The “forgotten” layers:
Performed by the airport operator
1. Airport access control systems which allows access by employees at an airport to certain security related areas and prevents access by those who are unauthorized, such as the general public.

2. Airport credentialing and criminal history/terrorist watch list checks for all employees requiring an airport ID badge. This helps insure that those individuals with an airport identification badge have undergone a fingerprint-based criminal history record check and a check against the Terrorist Screening Center watch list before being issued the badge. An airport ID badge is often the “key to the kingdom” allowing certain personnel to access security areas, such as the Sterile Area (where passengers wait for their flights), and the Secured Area, which is the ramp area in the airfield where aircraft operate.

3. Airport perimeter protection is the primary responsibility of the airport operator, to ensure that only authorized personnel can access the airfield. Vehicle searches and identification of personnel are a frequent part of this process.

4. Security training for all badged personnel at the airport – everyone with an airport ID badge must undergo security training before being issued the badge. This security training makes them part of the security system. A primary security rule that all badge holders consent to, is to challenge anyone in a security area that is not wearing the proper identification or to notify law enforcement if they see a security threat or situation.

5. Contingency plans to flex avsec strength during times of high threat conditions. When threat levels are higher, either for airports or the nation, airports have security programs that can immediately add more layers of security for a short-period of time.

Performed by the air carrier:
1. Air cargo security programs to ensure cargo is not shipped on a passenger plane without properly being screened.

Also, every commercial service airport is required to have a TSA-approved Airport Security Program that outlines how it will comply with the regulations, and all air carriers have Aircraft Operator Standard Security Programs that outline their regulatory responsibilities.

See the TSA article here:
https://www.tsa.gov/blog/2017/08/01/inside-look-tsa-layers-security

To read more of my posts on aviation security, click HERE.

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