-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: Texas Query
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2011 18:33:33 -0400
From: Kimball, Nicholas
To: Gardner Selby <wgselby@statesman.com>

Gardner: here is some information that should be helpful.




Administrator Pistole began evaluating risk-based changes to the checkpoint security process, including the process for screening children, shortly after he was sworn into office in July of last year.



Some links:













From Pistole speech to American Association of Airport Executives conference (5/18/11):



…the system is not without flaws and we are always looking for ways to improve.

My vision for the future of aviation security begins with three fundamental principles:

With these principles in mind, the United States must evolve its approach to aviation security to become more risk-based.

In the 10 years since 9/11, we’ve kept aviation safe.  But in the next decade, we must assess what is working well to evolve our security approach to stay ahead of tomorrow’s threats. 

Since I began at TSA last year, I’ve had the opportunity to hear from many different people from all over the world about ideas for how TSA can work better and smarter.

Some concrete proposals have been offered up by highly-regarded voices in the security community. Believe me when I say that I am listening.

Within TSA, we have undertaken our own review of all procedures. Last fall, I directed the agency to explore ways to develop a strategy for truly risk-based security.

We have been looking at everything, including:

I point out these three specifics to illustrate that we are truly looking at every aspect of what we do.

And, even beyond assessing what we already do, we are also exploring things we could do.

One specific thing we’re considering is developing ways to expand our ability to conduct more identity-based screening.

Just about six months into this process, we have made good progress toward developing a long-term security construct that we hope could eventually change the flying experience for most travelers.

While many of these potential changes are still being developed and are not quite ready to be rolled out fully, in the coming months we expect to be ready to move forward with some smaller concrete steps that will begin to move us away from what can seem like a one-size-fits-all approach and onto the path of more risk-based security.

For example, one change is a new crewmember screening system. We are currently testing an identity-based system that will to enable TSA security officers to positively verify the identity and employment status of pilots against airline employee databases.

As the individuals tasked with actually flying and controlling the airplane, screening pilots for the standard prohibited items just doesn’t make much sense.

On the other hand, positively confirming pilots’ identities to make sure those in flight crew uniforms are who they say they are does make sense. Testing is underway at a limited number of airports and we hope to expand this process to additional U.S. airports this year.

While the initial incarnation of this program involves only pilots, flight attendants are under consideration for a future phase of this program.

Beyond short-term steps that will introduce real changes to the checkpoint today, we are also looking at concepts that could transform the checkpoint in the long-term.

Chief among these concepts is finding ways to focus our limited resources on higher-risk passengers, while speeding and enhancing the passenger experience at the airport whenever possible.

Eventually, passengers who can be deemed “low-risk” after volunteering information ahead of time could be eligible for expedited screening.

If we can verify the additional information that passengers submit, and combine that with our other layers of security, we should be able to expedite the physical screening for many people.

While there will never be a guarantee of expedited screening – we must retain a certain element of randomness to prevent terrorists from gaming the system – this holds the potential to significantly change the travel experience.

This type of identity-based security is a long-term vision that can help strengthen security, and we hope it eventually improves the travel experience for most travelers.



From Pistole speech to American Bar Association Homeland Security Law Institute (3/3/11):



Now, I knew before I came to TSA last year, and I’ve grown more convinced since taking the job, that this system is not perfect.

We can all testify to the inconvenience we sometimes experience because of such a comprehensive system.

But the other thing we can say with absolute confidence is that this system has effectively secured aviation in this nation since 9/11.

However, we will always seek ways to improve.

Since being confirmed to lead TSA last July, I’ve had the opportunity to engage my counterparts overseas, and listen to stakeholders, private industry, our employees, and the traveling public. 

And I’ll tell you something: a lot of people have a lot of opinions


Here at home, TSA is also engaging in important work to explore checkpoint of the future concepts that incorporate cutting-edge technology to improve security while making the travel experience better.

And before I close and take some of your questions, I want to expand on this idea a bit more.

First, recognize that TSA screens more than 628 million airline passengers each year at U.S. airports.

The vast majority of the 628 million present little-to-no risk of committing an act of terrorism.

Everyone is familiar with the current system in place that screens nearly everyone the same way.

If we want to continue to ensure the secure freedom of movement for people and commerce across this great nation and around the world, there are solutions that go beyond the one-size-fits-all system.

My vision is to accelerate TSA’s evolution into a truly risk-based, intelligence-driven organization in every way.

Last fall, I directed the agency to explore ways to further develop this strategy.

Our team is making good progress.

We want to focus our limited resources on higher-risk passengers, while speeding and enhancing the passenger experience at the airport.

I believe what we’re working on will provide better security by more effectively deploying our resources, while also improving passengers’ travel experiences by potentially streamlining the screening experience for many people.

I look forward to announcing more details on this effort later this year.