Hearing To Be Held Wednesday On Capitol Hill
A House Committee on Homeland Security subcommittee will hold a hearing Wednesday morning regarding the process used by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to screen student pilot candidates from other countries. The Government Accountability Office has conducted a review of TSA's performance, and identified some challenges the agency faces with maintaining security over flight schools that train foreign citizens in the United States.
In a statement on the committee website, Subcommittee Chair Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) (pictured) said: "Created in direct response to 9/11, TSA's Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) is meant to ensure that terrorists can never again exploit holes in our vetting and information sharing processes for training foreign nationals at flight schools in the U.S. Unfortunately, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently uncovered weaknesses in the AFSP which call into question the TSA's effectiveness at making sure foreign nationals’ training at U.S. flight schools do not pose a security threat. It is disturbing to learn we could still be vulnerable to the same actions the 9/11 hijackers took over a decade ago. This hearing will examine the findings and recommendations in GAO's new report."
NBAA Vice President, Safety, Security, Operations & Regulation Doug Carr will speak at the hearing, titled "A Decade After 9/11 Could American Flight Schools Still Unknowingly Be Training Terrorists?" Carr will address the observations the business aviation community has had with the program, and offer recommendations for bringing further clarity and consistency to it. NBAA also views the hearing as an opportunity to educate committee lawmakers about the host of measures implemented throughout the general aviation community to harden the industry from terrorist threats, many of which have been the direct result of cooperation between the industry and TSA.
"It's been a few years since NBAA has had the chance to speak before this committee," Carr noted. "We want to remind lawmakers how the general aviation industry has worked with TSA to continually enhance security, including through the implementation of voluntary measures and guidelines to address situations absent a government directive."
In the years since Sept. 11, 2001, the general aviation industry has worked closely with the TSA on a number of security measures, including the DCA Access Standard Security Program that allows certain general aviation aircraft to utilize Reagan National Airport (DCA). The association and its Members have also been very engaged with TSA officials in that agency’s work on a Large Aircraft Security Proposal for the general aviation community.
Additionally, NBAA has partnered with the DHS and TSA in developing effective and efficient general aviation security measures, resulting in a host of best practices for business aviation security to assist operators with both complying with TSA regulations, as well as maintaining safe and secure operations as a whole.