Air Cargo Security [Updated October 15, 2004]   [open pdf - 145KB]

"The air cargo system is a complex, multi-faceted network that handles a vast amount of freight, packages, and mail carried aboard passenger and all-cargo aircraft. The air cargo system is vulnerable to several security threats including potential plots to place explosives aboard aircraft; illegal shipments of hazardous materials; criminal activities such as smuggling and theft; and potential hijackings and sabotage by persons with access to aircraft. While it is generally agreed that full screening of all cargo placed on aircraft is not currently feasible, several procedural and technology initiatives have been proposed to enhance air cargo security and deter terrorist and criminal threats. Procedural initiatives include proposals to: expand the 'known shipper' program; increase cargo inspections; increase physical security of air cargo facilities; increase oversight of air cargo operations; provide security training for cargo workers; and tighten controls over access to aircraft during cargo operations. Technology being considered to improve air cargo security includes tamper-resistant and tamper-evident packaging and containers; explosive detection systems and other cargo screening technologies; blast-resistant cargo containers; and biometric systems for worker identification and access control. This report will be updated as needed."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32022
Public Domain
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