Aviation Security: TSA’s Foreign Airport Assessments

GAO

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the steps it has taken to enhance its foreign airport assessments. The report highlights the steps the TSA has taken, as well as certain opportunities to strengthen the program.

This GAO study was conducted due to the large number of international flights bound for the US and the continuing threat of terrorism. This was evident in the most recent case of the “October 2010 discovery of explosive devices in air cargo packages bound for the United States from Yemen.” The attempted attack was carried out by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

“Based on GAO’s analysis of TSA’s foreign airport assessments conducted from fiscal year 2006 through May 2011, some foreign airports complied with all of TSA’s aviation security assessment standards; however, TSA has identified serious noncompliance issues at a number of foreign airports. Common areas of noncompliance included weaknesses in airport access controls and passenger and baggage screening. Moreover, GAO’s analysis showed variation in airport compliance across geographic regions and individual security standards, among other things. For example, GAO’s analysis showed that some number of regions of the world had no airports with egregious noncompliance while other regions had several such airports. However, TSA has not yet taken steps to evaluate its assessment results to identify regional and other trends over time. Developing a mechanism to evaluate its assessment results could help support TSA’s priorities for aviation security training and technical assistance, inform its risk management decision making by identifying any trends and security gaps, and target capacity building efforts.”

To read more about this report click here.

Article formerly posted at https://www.hsdl.org/blog/newpost/view/s_4377