TSA hosted high-level aviation officials from the Philippines for two weeks of training at Indianapolis International Airport (IND) to share and collaborate on security best practices. The event was part of an international partnership designed to improve aviation security and operational efficiency both domestically and abroad.
The training showcased TSA Indiana’s successful operational model and shared best practices on threat detection, risk mitigation, operational leadership, scheduling, crisis management and screening of cargo and passengers. The visitors from Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) gained critical knowledge of TSA’s aviation security practices, tools and procedures, which they can now implement to enhance security and improve the passenger experience in Manila.
For 11 years in a row, Airports Council International-North America has recognized IND as one the best airports in North America that accommodate 5 to 15 million passengers annually. TSA Indiana has played an important role in the success of the airport and the agency’s critical security mission.
“TSA Indiana is thrilled to partner with the Indiana Airport Authority and other local stakeholders to showcase the top-tier security practices in place at Indianapolis International Airport and help our international partners acquire useful knowledge they can apply back home in the Philippines,” said Indiana TSA Federal Security Director Aaron Batt. “Raising the global baseline for airport security has positive implications at home as well as abroad, and TSA is deeply grateful for the warm welcome our partners in Indiana have extended to the delegation.”
Representatives from the Philippines’ Office for Transportation Security, the Manila International Airport Authority and Philippine Airlines participated in the training.
The event was borne out of TSA’s Airport Partnership Program, which paired TSA Indiana in 2019 with Philippine aviation security officials to prioritize security goals and share best practices. Since then, TSA has hosted virtual meetings and sent TSA Indiana staff to the Philippines to assist with on-the-ground training on new security equipment, processes and procedures.
The partnership program, supported by the Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism, kicked off the event with a welcome at an IND checkpoint, featuring remarks from TSA and airport officials as well as U.S. Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.).
The Philippine delegation appreciated gaining knowledge they can use to improve the security posture at MNL.
“Security is everyone’s business, and on behalf of the delegation, I want to express our gratitude for the training and hospitality we’ve received in Indiana,” said Philippines Office for Transportation Security Undersecretary Ma.O Aplasca. “We look forward to continuing this partnership as we strive to achieve our security goals and improve operations in the Philippines.”
The Philippine delegation participated in training on identifying threats, remediating risks and developing action plans. The international delegation viewed a demonstration from TSA Indiana’s explosive detection canine teams and toured IND checkpoints, the airfield perimeter, IND fire station and Airport Emergency Operations Center. The contingent also had the opportunity to see how security is conducted at local sights such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indiana Statehouse, where the group met Governor Eric Holcomb.
The IND-MNL Airport Partnership Program is the first of its kind, although TSA Assistant Administrator for International Operations Gary Renfrow said TSA will expand the program to include other domestic and international airports as the agency evaluates positive mission results.
“The relationship between TSA Indiana and MNL has been so successful in increasing security of the global transportation system and ensuring safe and secure movement of people and commerce because of the significant commitment from senior leaders from both nations – governments, airports and industry,” Renfrow said.
The initiative is designed to facilitate the exchange of information, best practices, lessons learned and airport-to-airport technical assistance to achieve both domestic and international benefits. While the Philippines benefits from learning about the state-of-the-art security safeguards implemented in the U.S., TSA also gains from the partnership.
“What is especially valuable about this partnership is that it is a two-way exchange of information,” said Batt. “Since 2019, we’ve already seen great progress come from this international collaboration and sharing of best practices, and TSA continues to benefit from the perspectives and insights of our peers from the Philippines.”
By Jessica Mayle and Mike Frandsen, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs