The Senate Commerce Committee's Aviation Operations Subcommittee held a hearing entitled "Stakeholder Perspectives on Improving TSA for the Security of the Traveling Public" that included testimony by Kim Day, Chief Executive Officer for Denver International Airport.
Officials from Airlines for America, the Cargo Airline Association, and Analogic Corporation, which designs and manufactures components for the security screening industry, also testified at the hearing.
In her testimony, Day focused on innovation and modernization and what TSA and Congress can do to help create a "future where we integrate existing technology, passenger segmentation and systems integration so that the screening process begins the moment you book your ticket." Day explained that Denver International Airport, like most airports, was not designed with the current TSA checkpoint in mind and the current configuration and resulting passenger queues create a vulnerability given today's public area threat. DEN is undergoing what it refers to as its Great Hall project to reconfigure its main terminal, streamline the passenger experience, and create a "greenfield' site for new TSA security screening. In addition to forming a public-private partnership to leverage private-sector capitol and experience, DEN has also reached out to TSA and has signed a MOU with the agency to work together on innovation.
Day highlighted the many opportunities to improve the existing security screening process, from expanding enrollment in the PreCheck program to adding multiple divestiture stations to automating the ticket document checker (TDC) function. DEN is participating in a biometric identification pilot this fall to test automation of the TDC and removing this bottleneck from the security screening process. Day urged Congress to encourage TSA to continue its work with the agency's Innovation Task Force. She also stressed that, although airports and air carriers are willing to partner with TSA, federal funding is needed to make these improvements and keep U.S. aviation security on pace and even ahead of the rest of the world.
During a discussion on public area security, which was a topic of interest for many of the Senators on the Subcommittee, Day spoke about a recent pilot at DEN that used passive screening technology at the public doors to screen for mass amounts of metal. Day stressed that there is a lot that can be done with passive screening and other innovative technologies in the public area in addition to existing resources such as VIPR and LEO patrols, canines and behavior detection techniques. Day cautioned against simply pushing out the perimeter or TSA checkpoint since there will always be a pre-security area open to the public.
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