TSA opens comment period for air cargo security plan

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National Press Release
Friday, November 12, 2004

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced publication in the Federal Register of the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for the Air Cargo Strategic Plan. The proposed rulemaking would require the adoption of security measures throughout the air cargo supply chain, and would impose significant barriers to terrorists seeking to use the air cargo transportation system for malicious purposes.

"TSA is closing the loopholes for those who would do harm to our nation and its people," said Rear Admiral David M. Stone, USN (Ret.), Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for TSA. "Several more layers of security protect American interests with the implementation of these initiatives."

Congress requires TSA to provide for screening of cargo carried on passenger aircraft operated in the United States. Currently TSA meets this mandate by the application of its Known Shipper Program to all cargo transported on passenger aircraft. At the same time, TSA is to establish a system to screen, inspect or otherwise ensure the security of cargo transported in all-cargo aircraft.

To secure the air cargo supply chain, TSA is developing and implementing a layered security system that uses an optimal combination of information- and technology-based solutions. Initiatives include:

  • Creating a new mandatory security regime for domestic and foreign air carriers in all-cargo operations using aircraft with a maximum certificated take-off weight of more than 100,309 pounds.
  • Creating requirements for foreign air carriers in all-cargo operations with aircraft having a maximum certificated take-off weight of more than 12,500 pounds but no more than 100,309 pounds.
  • Creating Security Threat Assessments on individuals with unescorted access to cargo.
  • Enhancing existing requirements for indirect air carriers (freight forwarders).
  • Codifying and further strengthening the Known Shipper program, which requires regulated parties to comply with a broad range of security requirements to qualify shippers as "known." (Since 9/11, TSA has taken several steps to enhance the program, including the establishment of a centralized database.)

Affected parties will be domestic aircraft and airport operators and indirect air carriers, and foreign aircraft operators.

TSA invites interested persons to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data or views. TSA also invites comments relating to economic, environmental, energy or other impacts that might result from adopting proposals in the NPRM.