Today, the international community took a significant step forward on aviation security - the adoption of an international declaration to enhance global aviation security. TSA does not conduct screening overseas; however, the U.S. works with over 190 countries as part of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to collaboratively enhance and strengthen aviation security standards worldwide. I was pleased to join DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and DOT Secretary Ray LaHood last week at the ICAO’s Triennial Assembly in Montreal, Canada where we joined representative countries around the world to build an unprecedented consensus on strengthening international aviation security measures.
The attempted terrorist attack on Northwest Flight 253 on Dec. 25, 2009, in which Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried and failed to detonate concealed explosives, drove home the importance of aviation security to people around the world. Flight 253 originated overseas and by working with the ICAO, we are strengthening international aviation security and better protecting U.S.-bound flights.
Secretary Napolitano has taken part in major, ICAO-coordinated international summits with partners in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Western Hemisphere. These meetings all resulted in joint declarations on aviation security, setting the stage for the ICAO Assembly.
The adoption today of the Declaration on Aviation Security is an important step. In the coming weeks, DHS and TSA will continue to build on this momentum through joining our international partners to collaborate on identifying new and emerging threats, further enhancing ICAO standards and recommended practices, increasing information collection and sharing, improving and deploying more detection technology to defeat terrorists and prevent them from boarding commercial aircraft.
John S. Pistole