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Apex AEER Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the Apex Air Entry/Exit Re-engineering (AEER) program? A police officer assisting a passengar at an airport self check-in.

The Apex Air Entry/Exit Re-engineering (AEER) program is a collaborative partnership between Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The program was created to assist CBP in increasing its capacity to screen travelers entering the United States and to biometrically confirm the departure of certain foreign travelers from the United States. This overall process is commonly referred to as Entry/Exit.

Q2: How are DHS S&T and CBP working together on the AEER program?

The Apex AEER program is a highly collaborative effort supported by a multi-disciplinary team comprised of subject matter experts from the fields of technology, engineering, policy, federal law enforcement and several scientific disciplines. During the Apex program, participants will work as a single integrated team to facilitate organization-wide coordination and maintain open communication. Day-to-day management of the program will be handled by the Apex AEER Co-Leads: the Directors of DHS S&T Apex AEER, CBP Entry/Exit Transformation Office (EXT), and the CBP Office of Travel and Tourism.

Q3: What are the goals of the Apex AEER program?

1) Identify opportunities to introduce process efficiencies and enhance existing airport operations for screening travelers entering the United States; 2) Define and develop recommended approaches for cost-effective and integrated biometric exit capability; 3) Increase CBP’s ability to analyze and articulate the expected operational and economic impacts of changes in processes, technologies, and staffing required to perform traveler screening operations; and 4) inform future CBP acquisition programs.

Q4: Why re-engineer air entry and air exit operations?

The Apex AEER program is working to re-engineer both air entry and exit operations in order to: 1) increase the capacity to screen travelers entering the United States to meet the increasing traveler volumes (four to five percent annual growth) and to minimize traveler wait times; and 2) to identify a cost-effective biometric exit solution for implementation to meet the congressional mandate for biometric exit.

Q5: How will the studies be conducted?

The Apex AEER Program will use laboratory, scenario-based, and field trial testing to determine the best performing technology capabilities for integration into current airport entry and exit processes.

Q6: What are some of the challenges to implementing a biometric exit capability?

Biometric exit is required by federal law. However, U.S. international airports were not originally designed for exit control. The nation’s airports are privately operated and were not built to control departures of foreign nationals from the United States, so there is no federal inspection area for outbound travelers. CBP is carefully considering how best to introduce biometric exit into existing port infrastructure. Any change to the processes must be implemented in a manner that balances the need for greater security while minimizing impact to trade and travel.

For more information about the Apex AEER program, please email aeer@hq.dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 01/12/2023
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