Securing Airports Through Technology and a Risk-Based Approach

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<strong>New York &mdash; May 5</strong><br />Companies involved with the growing needs of protecting our nation&#39;s aviation interests will agree the U.S. has come along way. Advancements in technology combined with an entirely new mindset are the biggest reasons for avoiding acts of terrorism in the aviation industry. <br /><br />New York-based Global Security Associates LLC is providing guidance to many of the world&rsquo;s largest airlines on how to strengthen operations through increased security. The business of protecting our nation&#39;s airports is a priority, and under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there will be an 8 percent increase in funding during fiscal year (FY) 2007, with a total request of $46.4 billion in funding for 2008. <br /><br />One of the greatest areas of improvement is approach. "Risk-based assessments at airports and working with the airlines to understand where their vulnerabilities [were] great steps forward. Now this is an accepted way of thinking as history has proven over and over again, you must stay several steps ahead," said William McGuire, president and CEO of New York-based Global Security Associates, adding that, "While there have been many advancements made in airport security in the last several years, the industry as a whole has more it can do, but it cannot do it alone." <br /><br />The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) &mdash; which took over for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is now the governing body for security &mdash; performs all screenings of passengers, crew, baggage and cargo, creates strict guidelines for passengers to follow and maintains the no-fly/watch list. Making security work at our nation&#39;s airports, McGuire contended, is, "the layers of security provided by law enforcement, the TSA and private security contractors and of course the everyday staff of the airports and the eyes and ears of the employees."<br /><br />The report, titled &ldquo;Transportation Security: Efforts to Strength Aviation and Surface Transportation Security Continue to Progress, but More Work Remains&rdquo; ( U.S. Government Accountability Office, April 15, 2008), found that "efforts have helped to strengthen the security of the transportation network, [but] DHS and TSA still face a number of key challenges in further securing these systems. For example, regarding commercial aviation, although TSA has made significant progress in its development of an advanced passenger prescreening system, known as Secure Flight, challenges remain." <br /><br />The report also found that not enough future guidance exists from the agency for evaluating future technology enhancements. This is where many of the opportunities, in addition to day-to-day operations, exist for companies serving the aviation security industry.<br /><br />Answering the call to close the gap in technology, Global Security Associates is offering several programs that have proven to be a successful enhancement to the government&#39;s screening efforts. "For several years now, Web-based products are supporting the screening process. We have incorporated these programs here around the world in the aviation hubs we manage as it serves as an additional layer of security. Our products, SecureSwip and SecureCheck, are verification and access control security programs used to screen all those looking to gain access to the aircraft and or other secure areas throughout the airport," explained McGuire. <br /><br />DHS recently announced a proposed rule making that will establish biometric exit procedures at all U.S. air and seaports of departure. Biometrics was called for in the 9-11 Commission to confirm that travelers are who they say they are. Other advances in aviation security according to McGuire include the new body scanner installed at New York&#39;s Kennedy airport that allows screeners to look beneath traveler&#39;s clothing for concealed weapons. GSA provides security services at JFK&#39;s Terminal 1 and welcomes this latest technology installment designed to increase the security process. <br />

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