In the United States, almost all domestic commercial passenger flights carry air cargo in the cargo hold of the passenger aircraft. Nearly 50 percent of the goods in the hold of passenger aircraft are air cargo and as such passenger aircraft represents approximately 25 percent of all domestic air cargo transported (~15 million pounds of cargo daily on domestic passenger aircraft). In 2007 Public Law 110-53, “Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act,” mandated all cargo on passenger aircraft must be 100 percent screened for explosive and other threat devices before loading.
The Air Cargo Screening Program is structured around developing new air cargo security technologies and enhancing existing air cargo security systems. The program objective is to counter current and future air cargo threats. This broad, ongoing effort seeks to address requirements of air cargo security stakeholders (e.g., the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), commercial air carriers, and freight forwarders).
The Air Cargo Screening Program functions as the principal mechanism for the development and insertion of more effective screening capabilities into the air cargo chain. The program’s main goal is to reduce the potential vulnerability in the air cargo system, while reducing costs so the improved capabilities are commercially viable for the Air Cargo screening stakeholders.
The Air Cargo Screening Program is a vital part of S&T’s mission to provide Aviation Security R&D and directly supports the DHS Transportation Security mission by providing R&D support to the TSA Air Cargo Aviation Security mission.