Our Mission: To use our experience working for the Federal government, airlines, airports and with technology developers to promote the adoption of meaningful aviation security measures that effectively balance security, privacy and passenger convenience.
Overview: The failed attempt by the “Christmas Bomber” to detonate a bomb he had brought on board NW Flight 253, again shows that the aviation security system remains ineffective against suicide bombers. When coupled with earlier attempts by the “Shoe Bomber”, the U.K. Liquids plotters, the 911 terrorists going back to Ramsey Yousef’s 1994 “Bojinka Plot”, it is clear that regulators’ reliance on an obsolete passenger checkpoint strategy designed to counter ransom-seeking hijackers is ineffective against today’s civil aviation threat.
We are aviation security professionals with more than two centuries aviation security experience who have come together to formulate and promote an effective strategy for this complex problem based on our shared concern that more innocent travelers will die in future terrorist attacks on commercial aviation without strong, effective action. We believe that regulators are reacting by adding more technology to an obsolete strategy, and need to strategically address the shortfalls and underlying complex issues, which in our opinion are:
•The passenger checkpoint threat is more challenging than checked bags
•The current checkpoint, designed to find guns and knives of the 1970’s hijacking era, is woefully inadequate against today’s IED threat even with the addition of newer technologies, such as body scanners
•Today’s checkpoint does not integrate data to allow reliable detection of dispersed threats across one or more individuals; it still screens bag-by-bag or passenger-by-passenger
•While elements of risk based security (presented in one of our 2009 position papers) is being adopted, focus has been on passenger convenience and not on applying advanced technology to higher risk passengers
•Critical is an urgent change of regulators’ focus, mentality and organization
Several proven post-911 initiatives leveraging technology and processes available today could lead to real, measurable security improvements without inconveniencing the majority of the traveling public. Together, these can form the basis for a checkpoint screening strategy that can counter suicide bombers on commercial aircraft, which we believe is urgently needed. through presentations at international security forums, Association members have increased the visibility of this position and several Association members worked with IATA to help define their Checkpoint of the Future process, using many of the positions outlined earlier in the Association’s position papers.