Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 14, 2007

GAO: Collaborate Across USG, with Private Sector on Air Screening

Filed under: Aviation Security,General Homeland Security,Technology for HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on February 14, 2007

The new GAO study, rolled out in testimony this week by Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues Cathleen Berrick, suggested that DHS and the Transportation Security Administration should improve their risk-based decision making methods, planning and program evaluations, and the ways in which TSA collaborates with relevant stakeholders.

GAO cites Secure Flight – the domestic passenger prescreening system – as an example of disjointed or insufficient management attributes that have kept this program off schedule.  It’s worth reading the sections of this critique that make the case for better coordination across TSA and the international passenger screening efforts under the auspices of Customs and Border Protection.  This dimension of the report forces a more interesting discussion about how the different, but closely related, mission areas of the DHS components (TSA, CBP, S&T) could better reinforce one another and reduce duplication where similar objectives could be pursued with shared methods, data, technology, etc.  Screening of passengers lends itself perfectly to this ongoing challenge.

The new study also takes a look at how TSA and others could better partner with relevant private sector stakeholders.  Primary opportunities for better collaboration include:

  • Reducing the time it takes to screen air cargo in order to diminish the disruption to delivery time for air carriers;
  • Training individual cargo inspectors on more effective inspection technology;·       
  • Supporting the development and deployment of improved inspection technologies; and
  • Determining the best approach to implementing a “risk-based management approach to securing air cargo.”

The GAO report, entitled Aviation Security: Progress Made in Systematic Planning to Guide Key Investment Decisions, but More Work Remains, is found here.  A one-page summary also is available.

Updated DHS Schedule:

Thursday, February 15

Deputy Secretary Michael P. Jackson will testify before the House Homeland Security Committee on the department’s 2007 goals: 9:00 AM EST/311 Cannon House Office Building/Washington, DC/OPEN PRESS

Friday, February 16

Secretary Michael Chertoff will deliver remarks to the American Chamber of Commerce: 7:45 AM CST/ Intercontinental Presidente Hotel/ Campos Eliseos 218/ Col Polanco Mexico City, Mexico/ OPEN PRESS

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Chief of Citizenship Alfonso Aguilar will deliver the keynote address on citizenship and immigration issues at the Puebla State Forum on U.S.-Mexico Immigration Reform Puebla: 8:30 AM CST/ State Congress/ Puebla, Mexico/ OPEN PRESS

U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad W. Allen will provide remarks on recreational boating safety and maritime security at the annual meeting of Boating Writers International:  8:30 AM EST/ Miami Beach Convention Center:/ 1901 Convention Center Drive/ Miami Beach, FL/ OPEN PRESS

US-VISIT Acting Director Robert Mocny will testify before the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Homeland Security on the fiscal year 2008 budget request for US-VISIT: 10:00 AM EST/ 2362 Rayburn House Office Building/ Washington, DC/ OPEN PRESS 

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