The one year anniversary of 9/11 was my first day with TSA at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). I joined TSA for the same reason many of my colleagues did: I was appalled by the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and wanted to help in any way I could. We’ve had plenty of questions over the past ten years, but one of the most common questions we hear is, “How has TSA made travel safer?”
Well, here are just a few of the many steps we’ve taken, including those we have taken to address specific 9/11 Commission recommendations over the past ten years:
- In-Flight Security – Hardened cockpit doors, Federal Flight Deck Officers, the Crew Member Self Defense Training Program and an expanded Federal Air Marshal Service, better protect the flight deck against an act of criminal violence or air piracy.
- 100% Screening – Through Secure Flight, 100% of passengers flying to, from, and within the U.S. are prescreened against government watchlists. TSA screens 100 percent of checked baggage for dangerous items including explosives, and 100% of all air cargo transported on passenger aircraft that depart U.S. airports is screened.
- Professionalized Workforce – The Transportation Security Officers (TSO) working at 450 airports today are hired through a rigorous vetting process and extensive training that did not exist for the contract personnel who worked the security checkpoints on 9/11. TSOs have an average of 3.5 years of experience on the job, compared with the average of 3 months of experience for screeners prior to 9/11. Prior to 9/11, turnover in the industry was over 125 percent – today, TSA’s turnover rate is 6.4 percent.
- New Technology – Today through Advanced Imaging Technology and Automated Target Recognition, we can detect metallic and nonmetallic threats including weapons and explosives concealed under layers of clothing on passengers without physical contact. And, using Advanced Technology X-ray, Bottled Liquid Scanners and Explosives Trace Detection (ETD) Technology, we can more efficiently and effectively screen luggage and belongings for potential threats.
- Information Sharing and Detection – Through Secure Flight, Travel Document Checking and collaboration with our international partners, we can identify passengers who pose a risk to security, verify someone is who they say there are, and better protect the entire global aviation system.
Threats to airline safety are constantly evolving and TSA must evolve with them. We deploy an array of unpredictable and visible deterrents, and use a layered security approach to keep the traveling public safe.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.