"The nation's air, land, and marine transportation systems are designed for accessibility and efficiency, two characteristics that make them highly vulnerable to terrorist attack. While hardening the transportation sector from terrorist attack is difficult, reasonable measures can be taken to deter terrorists. The focus of this issue brief is how best to construct and finance a system of deterrence, protection, and response that effectively reduces the possibility and consequences of another terrorist attack without unduly interfering with travel, commerce, and civil liberties. Aviation security has been a major focus of transportation security policy following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In the aftermath of these attacks, the 107th Congress moved quickly to pass the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA; P.L. 107-71) creating the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and mandating a federalized workforce of security screeners to inspect airline passengers and their baggage. The act gave the TSA broad authority to assess vulnerabilities in aviation security and take steps to mitigate these risks. The TSA's progress on aviation security has been the subject of considerable congressional oversight over the past four years. Aviation security policy and programs continue to be of considerable interest in the 109th Congress."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB10135