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Speech

Keynote Address to the U.S. – Europe Aviation Security Policy Conference (as written)

Monday, July 2, 2007
Contact:
TSA Press Office
(571) 227-2829

Kip Hawley, Administrator, Transportation Security Administration

U.S. - Europe Aviation Security Policy Conference
Aviation Security in the Future: Is there a better way?
Brussels, Belgium
July 2-4 2007

Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to this beautiful city. I am pleased to join this forum to discuss aviation security and to work together on solutions that prepare us for the future.

It is a great honor to share the podium with my good friend and colleague Marjeta Jager. I am especially pleased to be here following the signing of our recent historic agreement to harmonize security.

The daily cooperation and active engagement of our friends in the transatlantic community has had an enormous positive impact on our mutual security.

The success of our unprecedented level of cooperation after the August 10 plot prove that none of us is alone in the mission to secure our local, our national, or indeed our global, systems. We must continue to build on this relationship and its synergy. We are interdependent and we must be interconnected.

Our terrorist enemies do not live in a rigid world of unchanging barriers and predictable rules. To them, borders are barriers only to us.

They have no deadlines, no rules, no borders. A static, fortress-like defense is to their advantage. For terrorists, it is easy to plot against a system so predictable they know exactly what to expect each time they approach it.

Rigidity creates greater vulnerability. If we over-focus on one item or in one particular physical area, we may leave other areas open.

If our enemies do not operate in a rigid, predictable fashion, neither should we.

We fight an adaptive, learning enemy. Security efforts based on a “remove the most dangerous item” approach-which may be easy to determine day-to-day, but difficult, if not impossible, to determine going forward-actually create vulnerability. If we over-focus here, we leave over there open.

Sophisticated state-of-the-art technologies for screening passengers, baggage, and cargo are important wherever it is possible to put them in place. However, high-tech equipment is not the only way to protect our citizens and national infrastructure.

A solid base of security everywhere is much better than having the highest levels of security in only a few places.

We recognize that not all nations have the same resources. Less expensive technologies for supplemental screening and innovative “people-based” detection programs can greatly enhance existing security regimes, and still meet international standards.

In this aviation system that spans the globe, we all have a stake in building the capabilities of parts of the world such as Africa, Asia, and South America.

Raising security worldwide to one consistent level will lead to true harmonization.

This type of intelligent security can in some ways be very simple.

TSA's strategic direction is risk-based security-Focused on people, not on things-Innovative and flexibly-designed-to overcome an adaptive enemy.

We must build security that is unpredictable and can change as the threat information changes. And develop measures that are based on the “people-resources” already in place, to take advantage of the skills and expertise that all of us have in abundance: a dedicated, trained, mission-focused workforce.

Risk-based security shares resources across all risks, both high and low, but in strategic proportions. The terrorists' aim is to beat the system and exploit predictable opportunities. The best security strategy is flexible, mobile, and above all, dynamic.

Unpredictability is a crucial tool in thwarting terrorists' attack plans. If an element of unpredictability is introduced- such as changing or adding inspection routines on a variable basis, or using canine teams at different places each day- this randomness increases the complexity for would-be terrorists. It is one of our best tools to defeat them.

TSA is focusing beyond the physical checkpoint-to draw our borders out, so to speak-to look more at people and to identify those with hostile intent even if they are not carrying a prohibited item. We invest in a lot of technology, but taking advantage of the human capability in our organizations is how to get ahead of the terrorists-and anticipate rather than react.

Better overall security results if we use security officers most flexibly, and not overly tied down at checkpoints checking and re-checking people and property.

We're coming out from behind the checkpoint and extending the reach of our intelligence by placing eyes and ears throughout the airport.

Some examples of this are:

  1. Shared intelligence. The best way to stop a terror attack is to disrupt and dismantle it before it becomes operational.

  2. The Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program uses non-intrusive behavior observation and analysis techniques to identify potentially high-risk passengers. The program is a derivative of other successful behavioral analysis programs that have been employed by law enforcement and security personnel both in the U.S. and around the world.

  3. The Aviation Direct Access Screening Program (ADASP) for screening of airport employees emphasizes the random and unpredictable aspects of our approach. Its specific focus, location and duration are dynamic. It may also include assisting airport and aircraft operators in the performance of their security responsibilities. We are able to implement these activities on very little notice.

  4. Visible Intermodal Protection Response (VIPR) Teams consisting of Federal Air Marshals (FAMs), Surface Transportation Security Inspectors, canine teams, and advanced screening technology. These teams leverage a variety of resources quickly and effectively.

  5. Aviation Security Inspectors (ASIs) who are SPOT-trained. Our vision is to get them out of the office and provide active security. To get inspectors personally, physically engaged in their territories.

  6. Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) - We'd like to allow them to move geographically, internationally, out of the airplane, to provide operational benefits to the entire system, and not just one plane-load of people.

Harmonization of our efforts promises a future in which the aviation system is one consistent network of strong security worldwide. As that day approaches, we are confident in our partnerships within the transatlantic community and in the strengths you bring to this alliance.

None of us can stand alone in the face of growing security challenges. We are only as strong as our neighbors and together we will accomplish more than we can apart.

These are the building blocks of our future and of a diverse, coordinated, and sustained global security effort. I urge you to consider adopting-and sharing-low-cost, creative measures in your own operating environments.

Thank you.