1st Edition

Airport and Aviation Security U.S. Policy and Strategy in the Age of Global Terrorism

By Bartholomew Elias Copyright 2009
    440 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    The response of the U.S. federal government to the events of September 11, 2001 has reflected the challenge of striking a balance between implementing security measures to deter terrorist attacks while at the same time limiting disruption to air commerce. Airport and Aviation Security: U.S. Policy and Strategy in the Age of Global Terrorism is a comprehensive reference that examines the persistent threats to aviation security that led up to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, describes subsequent terror plots against aviation assets, and explores U.S. efforts to counter and mitigate these threats.

    Addressing the homeland security challenges facing the U.S. in the age of terrorism, this text explores:

    • Security protocol prior to 9/11
    • Precursors to 9/11
    • The rising threat of Al Qaeda
    • Tactical and congressional response to 9/11, including new legislation
    • The broader context of risk assessment
    • Intelligence gathering
    • Airport security, including passenger, baggage, and employee screening
    • Airline in-flight security measures
    • Airport perimeter security
    • The threat of shoulder-fired missiles
    • Security for GA (general aviation) operations and airports

    Beginning with a historical backdrop describing the dawn of the age of global terrorism in the 1960s and continuing up until the present time, the book demonstrates the broad social and political context underlying recent changes in the aviation security system as a direct result of the 9/11 attacks. Coverage examines ongoing threats and vulnerabilities to the aviation infrastructure, including an exploration of how past terrorist incidents have come to shape U.S. policy and strategy.

    Pre-9/11 Threats to Aviation Security and the U.S. Policy Response

    The Significance of Aviation Terrorism

    The Late 1960s and Early 1970s: The Dawn of the Age of Global Terrorism

    The Looming Menace of Aircraft Bombings

    The 1980s: The Shifting Threat

    The 1990s: The Failure to Imagine and Adequately Prepare

    The 9/11 Attacks and the Ensuing Policy Debate

    Precursors to 9/11

    Bojinka Plot

    Rising Threat of Al Qaeda

    Buildup to 9/11

    Preattack Phase: Terrorists in our Midst

    9/11 Attacks

    Tactical Response on September 11, 2001

    DOT Rapid Response Teams

    Congressional Response to the 9/11 Attacks

    Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA, P.L. 107-71)

    Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296)

    Vision 100: The Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (P.L. 108-176)

    Policy Refinement in Response to the Evolving Terrorist Threat

    The 9/11 Commission and Its Impact on Aviation Security Policy

    Aviation Security-Related Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission

    National Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458)

    TSA Regulations to Strengthen Air Cargo and the Push for 100% Cargo Screening

    Lingering Congressional Policy Concerns

    Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-53)

    Continuing Terrorist Threat

    Evolving Terror Threat

    Homegrown Terrorist Threats in the United States

    An Asymmetric Threat Intent on Diminishing Our Resolve

    Cost of Protecting Aviation

    The U.S. Strategy for Combating Terror Threats to the Aviation Domain

    Pre-9/11 Approaches to Aviation Security

    Post-9/11 Actions Addressing Aviation Security Policy and Strategy

    The National Aviation Security Policy

    Security Threats to Aviation

    The Risk-Based Framework

    Strategic Objectives

    Strategic Actions

    Strategic Roles and Responsibilities

    Aviation Mode-Specific Plans

    The Air Domain Surveillance and Intelligence Integration Plan

    The International Outreach and International Aviation Threat Reduction Plans

    The Aviation Operational Threat Response Plan

    The Domestic Outreach Plan

    Issues for Consideration

    Evaluating and Managing Security Risks

    Risk Assessment Methods

    Using the Risk-Based Framework to Determine a Risk Valuation and Assess Costs and Benefits

    Approaches for Developing Complex Models of Risk in the Aviation Security Domain

    Mitigating Aviation Security Risk

    The Multilayered Approach to Aviation Security

    Evaluating the Effectiveness of Mitigation Measures and Security Systems

    Assessing the Impact of Security Measures on Air Transportation System Efficiency

    Mitigating the Consequences of an Attack

    Exploiting Intelligence and Counterterrorism Information

    An Overview of Intelligence Gathering and Analysis

    Intelligence Reforms in Response to the Global Terror Threat

    TSA’s Role in Transportation Security Intelligence

    Tracking Terrorist Travel in the Aviation Mode

    Airline Passenger Prescreening and Terrorist Watch Lists

    Policy Issues Related to Passenger Prescreening and Terrorist Watch List Checks

    Future Directions for Exploiting Intelligence Information to Strengthen Aviation Security

    Using Intelligence Information to Identify Terrorist Networks

    Data Fusion in the Aviation Environment

    Passenger and Baggage Screening

    Policy Considerations for Aviation Security Screening

    Checkpoint Screening Human Performance

    Potential Impacts of Respecting Privacy on Screening Performance

    Covert Testing

    Threat Image Projection

    X-Ray Imagery and Carry-On Baggage Screening Performance

    Passenger Checkpoint Efficiency

    The Evolution of Checkpoint Design

    Next Generation Checkpoint Technologies

    Screening Airport Workers

    Screening and Vetting of Airline Crews

    Checked Baggage Screening

    Proposed Strategy for Baggage Screening Optimization

    Options for Reducing Baggage

    Firearms in Checked Baggage

    Screener Workforce Issues

    Screener Retention

    Airline In-Flight Security Measures

    Hardened Cockpit Doors

    Secondary Flight Deck Barriers

    Flight Deck Access Procedures

    Video Surveillance of the Airliner Cabin and Improved Cabin-Cockpit Communications

    Uninterruptable Aircraft Transponders

    Future Systems for Aircraft Surveillance

    The Federal Air Marshal Service

    Armed Pilots and Crew Security Training

    Consideration of Less-Than-Lethal Weapons for In-Flight Security

    Security Training for Airline Crews

    Armed Law Enforcement on Airliners

    Handling Disruptive Passengers and Other In-Flight Security Incidents

    Possible Terrorist Probing Incidents

    Responding to In-Flight Security Threats

    Mitigating the In-Flight Explosives Threat and Improving Aircraft Survivability

    In-Flight Chemical and Biological Threats

    Commercial Airport Access Controls and Perimeter Security

    Security Risk in the Airport Environment

    Commercial Airport Security Program Concepts

    Airport Security Technology Investment

    Airport Security Programs

    Airport Security Terminology

    Airport Security Risk Categories

    Evaluating Airport Compliance with Security Requirements

    Airport Physical Security and Security Technologies

    Airport Perimeter Security and Access Control Measures

    Surveillance Technologies

    Patrolling the Airfield and the Airport Perimeter

    Security Awareness Training

    Law Enforcement Support

    Access Control Measures

    Background Check Requirements

    Biometric Technologies for Credentialing and Access Controls

    Planning, Design, and Construction Guidelines for Commercial Airport Security

    Critical Incident Management and Response


    Mitigating the Threat of Shoulder-Fired Missiles and Other Standoff Weapons

    The Proliferation of Shoulder-Fired Weapons and the Terrorist Threat They Pose

    The Vulnerability of Commercial Airliners

    Assessing the Potential Consequences of a Standoff Attack

    U.S. Policy and Strategic Approaches

    Ground-Based Countermeasures

    Air Cargo Security

    Security Risks Posed by Air Cargo

    Screening versus Physical Inspection of Cargo Shipments

    Security in the All-Cargo Environment

    Physical Screening and Inspection

    Canine Explosives Detection Teams

    Cargo Screening Technology

    Cost of Cargo Screening and Inspection

    Technologies for Effectively Securing the Supply Chain

    Physical Security of Air Cargo Facilities

    Inspection and Oversight of Air Cargo Facilities

    Security Training for Air Cargo Personnel

    Increased Control over Access to Aircraft and Cargo Facilities

    Security for GA Operations and Airports

    What Is GA?

    The Economic Impact of GA

    The Security Challenge Posed by GA

    Security Vulnerabilities

    The Terrorist Threat

    Potential Consequences of an Attack Using GA Aircraft

    Options for Mitigation of GA Security Risks

    Airport Access Controls

    Background Checks and Vetting

    Physical Security Measures for Airports

    Physical Security Measures for Aircraft

    Securing Agricultural Aviation Operations

    Flight School Security

    Security Practices for Business and Charter Aviation

    Vetting and Tracking GA Flights at the U.S. Borders

    Airspace Restrictions

    Airspace Restrictions around Washington, DC

    Security-Related Flight Restrictions Throughout the United States

    Policy Issues Regarding Airspace Restrictions



    Bart Elias is a specialist in aviation policy for the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) in Washington, DC.

    Elias is uniquely qualified to write this text. … Lessons learned in this book will help in any security program.
    — Derek Knights, CPP, PCI in Security Management

    "To date I have read no better executive‐level examination of asymmetric, home‐grown, and insider terrorist threats."
    General Aviation Security Magazine