Aviation Security: FAA's Assessments of Foreign Airports, Report to the Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Government Activities and Transportation, Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 870KB]

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO: (1) evaluated the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) methodology for assessing security at foreign airports, focusing on those airports at high risk of terrorist and other criminal activities; and (2) provided information on how the Department of State used its Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program funds to enhance foreign airport security. GAO found that: (1) FAA revised its foreign airport assessment guidance in 1987 to promote more comprehensive documentation of compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, an inspection team approach, and increased rapport between inspectors and foreign security officials; (2) FAA inspectors interviewed various foreign government, airport, and security officials, observed various security measures, and toured airport perimeters to assess airport security; (3) FAA inspectors did not test the operational effectiveness of security systems or observe and evaluate the security tests conducted by foreign airport officials; and (4) FAA conducted about 600 assessments of 200 airports during 1986 and 1987, concluded that most airports met ICAO standards, and suggested 100 security enhancements at 33 of the 54 highest-threat airports. GAO also found that: (1) through fiscal year 1987, State's Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program provided aviation security training to about 500 persons from 19 countries and provided aviation security equipment worth $2.8 million to 18 countries; and (2) State generally provided such training through requests from foreign governments, since FAA did not formally notify State of specifics on training needs identified during security assessments.

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