Every one of us wants more robust security measures and I applaud the House Homeland Security Committee for their tireless oversight on behalf of all Americans. However, taking the 9/11 Law’s definition of screening to mean a physical examination is unrealistic. The Law continues the definition of screening with wording to the effect, as well as additional methods to ensure cargo does not pose a threat … Should Congress decide to force TSA to physically examine every piece of cargo prior to accepting it for transport, the air cargo system will fail. All cargo airlines in this country do not have the capacity to pick up the massive amount of cargo transported on passenger aircraft. And TSA has a demonstrated history of establishing requirements that bring unfunded mandates to the struggling airlines. Today’s US aviation industry is fighting for its very survival; industry consolidation will take place as carriers look for cost savings. Jet fuel prices are beyond sustainable levels with the current ticket pricing structure. A Congressional mandate along an apparent misinterpretation of the 9/11 Law to mandate physical screening of every box, may well cause the Perfect Storm that causes the demise of the airline industry.
This industry is one of the finest pieces of logistics in history. People and cargo move throughout the world as part of the Just In Time concept of supply chain management. Businesses of all types are completely dependent upon the airline industry.
The United States is the most technologically advanced nation in the world. By leveraging the vast creativity of our entrepreneurs, the skill of our technologists, and the computing power we have developed, there are new and outside-of-the-box means to develop additional methods of screening and approaches to protecting our supply chain’s security.
Technologies currently on deployment supporting our armed forces use all aspects of intelligence analysis, which fuse predictive analytics into this operation to create a force multiplier. These tools are utilized in the war against the IED threat and in searching for wanted individuals and organizations. Combining these tools with airline and cargo experts, logisticians, and technologists will produce a near real time system to evaluate threats and validate the authenticity of shipments on our air transportation system. Not only will this system be more effective then 20th century methods of boots on the ground examining every box, it will also expedite the supply chain’s flow which is so very critical to U.S . businesses.
I would propose that Chairman Thompson hold a hearing to review the alternatives and consider expert advice as to how we may better empower the TSA with their difficult and critical mission.