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Securing Air Cargo Through Agency Partnerships

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As TSA Liaison to the National Targeting Center - Cargo in Herndon, Virginia, TSS-OSO Michael Jacobs collaborates with agencies to ensure the security of national transportation systems domestically and abroad.Michael Jacobs is a Transportation Security Specialist (TSS) for the Office of Security Operations and TSA’s Liaison at the National Targeting Center - Cargo (NTC-C). Located in Herndon, Virginia, the NTC-C is staffed by personnel from several agencies such as Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

As Liaison at the NTC-C, Jacobs helps TSA leverage dynamic targeting, law enforcement, and link analysis systems used to identify high-risk cargo shipments in the Air Cargo Advanced Screening (ACAS) program. These tools are also used by the TSA Cargo Targeting Unit (CTU) to provide “real-time” intelligence to the field, enabling a risk-based, intelligence-driven approach to transportation security.

After joining TSA in 2002 at Virginia’s Richmond International Airport, Jacobs has steadily progressed through the ranks, ultimately becoming a cargo TSI. In addition to the duties of his compliance position, he has supported the national mission as a Peer Review Facilitator and TSA Subject Matter Expert on detail during the initial start-up of the ACAS pilot.
“What I do matters because I have been able to establish strong partnerships with CBP and other federal agencies. As a result, the TSA targeters continue to gain access to valuable information, such as import and export data from my involvement with the International Trade Data System (ITDS) and air domain intelligence through my collaborative involvement in workgroups with other DHS agencies. 

“It is exciting to be a part of expanding the capabilities of the TSA Cargo Targeting Unit by networking and engaging in information sharing with other agencies. The CTU recently provided support to compliance staff at several airports during Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response activities. The CTU is completing research for FY14 cargo surges at airports nationwide, allowing compliance staff to focus resources on high-risk cargo. 

“As a representative at the NTC-C, I brief visitors on TSA regulatory authority and screening protocols related to the Air Cargo Advanced Screening program and on the TSA domestic targeting initiatives. For example, I’ve briefed a foreign delegation from Abu Dhabi and then followed up with a briefing to several maritime companies. There have been times when I’ve utilized an interpreter so that I could effectively communicate with some visitors to the NTC-C.

“The TSA Cargo Targeting Unit is a relatively new operation and when I came on board as TSA Liaison, I had to wear multiple hats: program analyst, supervisor, targeting analyst. I had to procure the different CBP and other federal government systems for our new staff, including equipment and supplies required to support a permanent staff.”

From the Office of Strategic Communications/Public Affairs

Latest revision: 29 November 2013