Trusted Traveler Program To Be Tested At Four U.S.
TSA Administrator John Pistole announced a program called "TSA
PreCheck" as part of a speech delivered Tuesday at the AVSEC World
Conference in Amsterdam. The announcement came as Pistole was
outlining a number of the agency's initiatives undertaken since its
inception in 2001.
Pistole (pictured) said that the pre-check program is
currently in a "proof-of-concept" phase, in which the agency will
look at how to further enhance security through passenger
pre-screening and whenever possible, expedite the screening process
for travelers we know and trust the most, and travelers who are
willing to voluntarily share information with us before they
travel. "Doing so allows our officers to prioritize screening and
focus our efforts on those passengers we know the least about and,
of course, those on terrorist watch lists," he said. "Efficiencies
gained by implementing more risk-based security methods allow us to
make the best possible use of the resources we’ve been given
to secure air travel."
Pistole said initially, select frequent fliers from Delta Air
Lines, American Airlines and certain members of CBP’s Trusted
Traveler programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS who
are U.S. citizens and who are also flying domestically on Delta or
American are eligible for this screening option. Should they opt in
to this program, it could qualify them for expedited checkpoint
screening at select checkpoints at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta
International and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, as well as
Dallas/Ft. Worth International and Miami International
"As with any initiative, we are testing this pre-screening
concept with a small passenger population at limited airports,"
Pistole said. "If proven successful, we will explore expanding the
program to additional travelers, airports and airlines."
The TSA administrator said that under the program, certain
frequent fliers, as noted previously and if selected for expedited
screening, would be directed to a dedicated lane and may receive
expedited screening. "Of course, as I mentioned earlier with
respect to airport gate and perimeter security, nothing will ever
guarantee that a passenger receives expedited security
screening. All travelers need to understand that, to remain
effective, TSA must retain the ability to employ random and
unpredictable security measures at any point in the process."
Pistole said that TSA has also begun a known-crewmember
initiative, beginning with airline pilots in several U.S. airports.
Nationwide changes to the security screening process for children
12-and-under were also announced recently. He said both of these
concepts reflect the core principles of risk-based security;
airline pilots are among our most trusted travelers, and the
overwhelming intelligence indicates that children 12-and-under pose
little risk to aviation security.
TSA began evaluating the changes for younger travelers in August
at six airports, and following the successful proof-of-concept, it
began implementing the change September 14, with full
implementation on September 26 at airports nationwide. Depending on
the day and season, this impacts anywhere from 50,000 to 150,000
children and their families each day in the United States.
"These new screening procedures include permitting multiple
passes through the metal detector, as well as the greater use of
explosives trace detection to resolve any alarms that may be
triggered," he said. However, "(t)hese changes in protocol will
ultimately reduce – though not eliminate – pat-downs of
children…again, allowing us to focus our more extensive
screening on those assessed as being higher risk."
Pistole also said the agency is continuing to evaluate the value
of expanding TSA’s behavior detection program, to help our
officers identify people exhibiting signs that may indicate a
potential threat. Based on an existing program which was developed
by adapting global best practices, he said this effort includes
additional training for our Behavior Detection Officers to give
them the observational and engagement skills necessary to help them
identify those who may be a potential threat to security.
The expanded behavior detection pilot program has been tested at
Boston Logan, engaging more than 77,000 passengers thus far in a
brief interview prior to screening.
Airports Council International-North America president Greg
Principato (pictured) said in a statement that PreCheck was a
welcome shift in how airport screening is conducted.
“Airport officials have long advocated for this type of
risk-based approach to airport security that focuses limited
screening resources on those about which the least is known," he
said. "We believe the program will help in the development of a
sustainable system that balances enhanced security with improved
customer service. Today’s launch of the PreCheck Program gets
us one step closer to looking for bad people, not bad
AVSEC is an aviation security and facilitation conference put on
annually by IATA. It is in its 20th year.