Answers Questions About Security Focus On Aviation
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano (right) delivered remarks
highlighting the Department’s ongoing efforts to bolster
aviation security at the National Chamber Foundation’s Annual
Aviation Summit, a forum sponsored by the non-profit affiliate of
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in order to foster public debate on
emerging critical aviation issues.
In her remarks Wednesday, Secretary Napolitano underscored the
Obama administration’s unprecedented efforts to strengthen
the international aviation system by enhancing information sharing
with international partners about terrorists and other dangerous
individuals; increasing cooperation on the development and
deployment of new technology, such as Advanced Imaging Technology
and Explosive Trace Detection units; and modernizing aviation
security standards around the world.
Secretary Napolitano highlighted DHS’ partnership on
aviation security with the Department of Energy and its National
Laboratories to develop new and innovative screening technologies
and several major recent international meetings that she has
attended that resulted in joint declarations to strengthen aviation
security among the United States and African partners on April 11;
among the United States and Asia/Pacific partners on March 13;
among the United States and Western Hemisphere partners on Feb. 17;
and among the United States and European partners on Jan. 21.
She also discussed new, threat and risk-based security
protocols—tailored to reflect the most current information
available to the U.S. government—that strengthen the safety
and security of all passengers traveling to the United States.
These enhanced security measures supersede the emergency measures
put in place immediately following the attempted terrorist attack
on Dec. 25, 2009.
In addition, Secretary Napolitano commended the United
States’ many international partners who have taken steps to
enhance aviation security through deployment of new technology,
enhanced information sharing, and stronger standards to keep air
But while fielding questions after her prepared remarks,
Secretary Napolitano was asked by an FAA employee, who wished to
remain anonymous, why so much of the agency's focus was on
aviation. A Fox News blog reports that the employee cited "transit
attacks" in Russia and Spain in which rail systems were
Napolitano said DHS has made some progress in that arena, citing
the arrest of Najibullah Zazi, who drove a shuttle bus at Denver's
airport who was recently convicted of planning an attack against
the New York subway system. She also pointed out that the latest
budget proposal from the White House includes funding for so-called
"VIPER" (Visible Intermodal Protection and Response) teams similar
to the U.S. Air Marshals.
Still, the Secretary admitted that rail security has not gotten
the attention that aviation security receives. "That is a work in
progress," she said in response to the FAA employees' question. "We
haven't does as much there as we have done on aviation."