Covenant/Lockheed team to assume screening operations at Sioux Falls under Screening Partnership Program

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National Press Release
Friday, February 3, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced that the Covenant Aviation Security (CAS)/Lockheed Martin Information & Technology Services team will assume screening operations on Sunday, Feb. 5 at Joe Foss Field in Sioux Falls, S.D. under the Screening Partnership Program (SPP).

TSA awarded the contract for private security screening services for passenger, checkpoint and checked baggage operations to the CAS/Lockheed Martin team in mid-December. The team was chosen from vendors that submitted proposals and were among the 34 private screening companies identified on TSA's Qualified Vendor's List (QVL). The total contract award value, including options, is approximately $12 million. The total period of performance is five years, which commenced on December 19, 2005 and will end on September 30, 2010 (if all options are exercised).

“This weekend will signal the transition from TSA federal screeners to private screeners employed by the CAS/Lockheed team,” said Sioux Falls Acting TSA Federal Security Director Mark Heisey. “TSA will maintain responsibility for security standards by overseeing contractor performance. The only difference travelers should notice at Sioux Falls is that security screeners will be wearing different uniforms.”   

Most federal transportation security officers at Sioux Falls accepted positions with the CAS/Lockheed-Martin team. Those few remaining who chose to stay with TSA will transfer to different airports. CAS/Lockheed began recruiting for additional security screener positions last month. TSA’s Sioux Falls staff will monitor CAS/Lockheed’s security screening performance. Currently, CAS is providing screening services at the San Francisco and Tupelo airports.   

“Covenant looks forward to continuing to develop a strong relationship with the airport, the local TSA, and the Sioux Falls community,” said Gerry Berry, President of Covenant Aviation Security. “We are working very hard to make this a smooth and seamless transition from federal to private screening.”

SPP is designed to meet the requirement for the "opt-out" program established in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 (ATSA). Since November 19, 2004, airport operators have been allowed to apply to TSA to have screening functions performed by qualified private screening contractors through the SPP. In 2002, ATSA required TSA to conduct a contract screening pilot program (known as the "PP5") at five airports to evaluate the performance of private screeners relative to federal screeners. 

Under ATSA, the pilot program ended on November 19, 2004, but TSA issued short bridge contracts to the original PP5 contractors to allow TSA time to develop the rules for applying the SPP, the acquisition process, the QVL and the Requests For Proposals (RFPs) for the new SPP contracts. All the original PP5 airports [San Francisco International, Kansas City International (Mo.), Greater Rochester International (N.Y.), Jackson Hole Airport (Wyo.), and Tupelo Airport (Miss.)], plus Sioux Falls, applied to have qualified contractors perform screening functions under the SPP program.

In addition to the new SPP contract awarded at Sioux Falls in December, a new SPP contract for Jackson Hole was competitively awarded to the Jackson Hole Airport Board on Feb. 2, 2006. Over the next few months, TSA plans to complete the procurement process for the remaining PP5 airports.

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