Secretary Janet Napolitano at the announcement of a new GA
security initiative. Photo by Jim Koepnick
The federal government's
transportation-security leadership visited EAA AirVenture 2010 on
opening day, meeting with general aviation organization heads and
announcing two new initiatives designed to enhance and simplify the
industry's ongoing response to terrorism threats.
In the first of two announcements,
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John S.
Pistole, in his first visit to AirVenture, told attendees his agency
plans to expand its existing "If You See Something, Say
Something" security-awareness campaign to encompass general
The campaign, first implemented by the
New York City subway system, aims to "raise public awareness of
indicators of terrorism, crime, and other threats and emphasize the
importance of reporting suspicious activity" to the proper
authorities, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(DHS), the TSA's parent.
Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary
Janet Napolitano, another AirVenture first-timer, said the DHS will
streamline the existing pre-screening process for pilots and passengers
using general aviation for international travel.
Beginning as early as September 1, 2010,
the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) existing Electronic
Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) will allow GA pilots and
operators to submit a single manifest, streamlining what had been a
cumbersome process involving both CBP and the TSA.
In the years since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks,
international flight operations required a waiver from the TSA. That
requirement, the continuing need for which was first questioned by EAA
staff while meeting with DHS/TSA personnel during last year's
AirVenture, will be met through the new, streamlined manifesting
procedures announced Monday.
According to the DHS, the new procedures
will fulfill both CBP reporting and TSA international waiver
requirements while promoting a "department-wide approach to
maintaining robust general aviation security requirements."
Both agencies-the TSA and the CBP-are
within the DHS.
See something? Say something
Applying the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign to
general aviation marks the second major expansion of the program since
June, according to DHS.
The department said it will continue to
expand the campaign nationally with public education materials,
advertisements, and other outreach tools in the coming months.
The campaign's purpose is to engage
travelers, businesses, community organizations, and the general public
to exercise and maintain vigilance and to play an active role in
reporting potential security threats.
EAA President Tom Poberezny introduced
Napolitano and Pistole to AirVenture attendees, noting the pair's visit
to AirVenture and the two program announcements were "important
steps toward ensuring continued general aviation security and
"We ask that general aviation pilots
and community members join us in helping to keep general aviation secure
through 'If You See Something, Say Something,'" the TSA's Pistole
added, "and by helping to develop new programs and initiatives,
such as our new streamlined vetting system for international general
Secretary Napolitano labeled the "If
You See Something, Say Something" campaign a
"force-multiplier." Noting the high level of interest and
cooperation expressed by general aviation organization leaders during
her visit to AirVenture, she added it was "no surprise we picked
general aviation as the second transportation sector [in which] to
expand" the campaign.
The general aviation component of the
"If You See Something, Say Something" campaign involves asking
the public to report suspicious general aviation activity to the TSA's
existing Airport Watch hotline, 1-866-GA-SECURE.