WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today launched 90-day employee screening pilots at seven airports as a requirement of the Omnibus Appropriations Act passed by Congress in January 2008. The legislation mandates examination of several types of employee screening in order to determine ways to enhance aviation security.
The pilots will include the following elements at each airport:
Boston's Logan International Airport
- 100 percent physical employee and vehicle screening at key airport perimeter entrances and select employee entrances from the public area to the secured/SIDA area.
- Evaluation of biometric access control.
Jacksonville International (Fla.) and Craven Regional (N.C.) airports
- 100 percent physical screening at all employee and vehicle access points from the public area to the secured/SIDA area. This screening may occur at existing checkpoints or at ones set up specifically for the pilot.
Denver International, Kansas City International, Eugene (Ore.), and Southwest Oregon Regional airports
- Increased random physical screening using Aviation Direct Access Screening Program (ADASP).
- Behavior detection training provided to law enforcement officials and airport operations/security personnel.
- Employee security awareness training.
- Deployment of portable screening equipment.
- Evaluation of biometric access control (Denver only).
These airports were selected from more than 100 that expressed interest in participating in the pilots because of their diverse flight operations, passengers and physical layouts.
"We look forward to working with these airports to evaluate the cost and effectiveness of various ways to enhance employee screening," said Kip Hawley, TSA administrator. "After the pilots, we will work with Congress and our security partners to assess and implement our findings."
TSA currently deploys a layered approach to airport employee security that includes random screening, checkpoint screening for other groups of employees and "surge" inspections. Random screening ensures that at any time, airport employees may encounter security on the airport grounds. In addition, TSA has made strides in improving the airport employee badging process. TSA requires all badged airport employees to complete a security threat assessment before a badge can be issued. Audits are underway at airport badging offices across the country to verify adherence to the measure.
The Omnibus Appropriation Act provides up to $15 million for these employee screening programs. TSA is required to report to Congress before Sept. 1, 2008 on the cost and effectiveness of the pilot programs at each airport.