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Homeland Security

Secretary Napolitano Announces New Measures to Strengthen Aviation Security

Release Date: 
April 2, 2010

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Commends Release of Administration’s Surface Transportation Security Priority Assessment

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin implementing new enhanced security measures for all air carriers with international flights to the United States to strengthen the safety and security of all passengers—superseding the emergency measures put in place immediately following the attempted terrorist attack on Dec. 25, 2009.

These new, more flexible security protocols—tailored to reflect the most current information available to the U.S. government—will apply to all passengers traveling to the United States.

“These new measures utilize real-time, threat-based intelligence along with multiple, random layers of security, both seen and unseen, to more effectively mitigate evolving terrorist threats,” said Secretary Napolitano. “The terrorist threat to global aviation is a shared challenge and ensuring aviation security is a shared responsibility. I commend our many partners around the world who have taken steps to increase their own security measures through deployment of new technology, enhanced information sharing and stronger standards to keep air travel safe.”

These new, enhanced measures are part of a dynamic, threat-based aviation security system covering all passengers traveling by air to the United States while focusing security measures in a more effective and efficient manner to ensure the safety and security of the traveling public. Passengers traveling to the United States from international destinations may notice enhanced security and random screening measures throughout the passenger check-in and boarding process, including the use of explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams, or pat downs, among other security measures.

Secretary Napolitano, in conjunction with the United Nations specialized agency International Civil Aviation Organization, has been leading a global initiative to strengthen the international aviation system against the evolving threats posed by terrorists, working in multilateral and bilateral contexts with governments as well as industry. Over the past three months, Secretary Napolitano has participated in regional aviation security summits around the world in Spain, Mexico and Tokyo, forging historic agreements with her international colleagues to strengthen the civil aviation system through enhanced information collection and sharing, cooperation on technological development and modernized aviation security standards.

Secretary Napolitano also commended today’s release of the Surface Transportation Security Priority Assessment as another important step in efforts to protect the nation’s traveling public from acts of terrorism—conducted by the Obama administration in its first year as a thorough review of the nation’s surface transportation security efforts, which cover mass transit, commuter and long-distance passenger rail, freight rail, commercial vehicles and pipelines.

The Assessment was developed through engagement with federal, state, local and tribal government partners as well as the private sector, provides a comprehensive framework of recommendations to enhance surface transportation security.

The Assessment reflects the Obama administration’s commitment to coordinating surface transportation security efforts among all government partners and the private sector to enhance security; reduce risk; improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal security capabilities; strengthen interactive stakeholder partnerships; and streamline security management coordination to protect Americans from threats of terrorism. It provides a comprehensive framework for the continued improvement of surface transportation security and identifies discrete areas of focus for the institution of changes that will make the nation safer.

The Surface Transportation Security Priority Assessment is available here.

For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Aviation Security

Is the list of 14 countries of concern still in use?
These measures supersede the list of countries concern put in place as an emergency measure on January 3, 2010. The enhanced security measures that are going into effect are tailored to intelligence about potential threats and are focused on all passengers from all countries. They are part of a dynamic, threat based process covering all passengers traveling to the United States while focusing security measures in a more effective and efficient manner to ensure the safety and security of all those traveling by air to the United States.

Is this a weakening of the current posture system?
It’s a strengthening of the system. These new, more flexible security protocols are tailored to reflect the most current information available to U.S. authorities and are based on real-time, threat-based intelligence that will now be applied to all passengers traveling to the United States.

Which countries are affected by the new directives? 
The security measures apply to all passengers on international flights directly to the U.S. worldwide.

What can passengers expect to see at airports?
Passengers traveling to the U.S. from international destinations may notice enhanced security and screening measures throughout the passenger check-in and boarding process which could include explosives trace detection, use of advanced imaging technology, canine teams or pat downs, among other security measures to keep air travel safe.

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