Good afternoon. Thank you Minister Fletcher, and thank you all for joining us here at Ottawa’s MacDonald-Cartier International Airport. It is an honor to represent the United States for this important announcement.
I want to first express my thanks to Minister Steven Fletcher, and all of our friends and colleagues in the Canadian government for working with us to make this event possible.
Let me also recognize Transport Canada’s Assistant Deputy Minister for Safety and Security Gerard McDonald and Mr. Angus Watt, CEO for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), as well as our partners with the Canada Border Security Agency (CBSA).
I would be remiss if I did not also recognize the important role of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in making today’s announcement possible.
And finally, thank you to Paul Benoit, President and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority for kindly hosting all of us today.
I believe the close cooperation and collaboration between officials on both sides of the border demonstrates the long-term value our two governments place on cooperative transportation security efforts.
As Minister Fletcher stated, it is through efforts such as the Beyond the Border Action Plan that our two countries are building strong and effective partnerships to expand to use of vital risk-based security initiatives.
Earlier this year, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and I announced plans to continue expanding this important risk-based security initiative, bringing it to 35 of our busiest airports by the end of 2012. Two days ago, operations began in Denver, making it the 27th airport to offer expedited screening through TSA Pre✓™.
For those less familiar with the effort, TSA Pre✓™ is one of several risk-based, intelligence-driven measures helping TSA move away from a one-size-fits-all security model, and move closer to its goal of providing the most effective transportation security in the most efficient way possible.
We began implementing these procedures last fall and since then more than 3 million passengers around the country have experienced some form of expedited security screening through TSA Pre✓™ and the feedback we’ve been getting from travelers, as well as from our airline and airport partners, is consistently positive.
Bringing Canadian citizens who are members of the jointly administered NEXUS trusted traveler program into the TSA Pre✓™ population has the potential to greatly improve the travel experience when these passengers are transiting participating airports within the United States.
Of course, airport security checkpoints are only one part of a multi-layered system for aviation security. Other pieces, both seen and unseen by the public, include intelligence gathering and analysis, explosives detection of checked bags and cargo, canine teams, federal air marshals, and closed-circuit television monitoring.
From curbside to cockpit, the work of TSA includes efforts to constantly strengthen a layered approach to security through partnerships around the globe – with better technology, expanded data analysis capabilities, and enhanced understanding of current intelligence.
With nearly 1.8 million people traveling every day in the United States, and with more than one million checked bags and 2 million carry-on bags to screen every day, risk-based security is a process that evolves over time, and TSA Pre✓™ reflects our commitment to effective and efficient aviation security screening.
Once again, thank you all for coming out today. Thank you Minister Fletcher for your gracious hospitality, and I look forward to working with you to implement these improved aviation security processes as efficiently as possible.