After months of working with the cargo and aviation industries, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced last week that it has met a key requirement of the 9/11 Act by screening 100 percent of air cargo on domestic passenger aircraft.
That's welcome news, considering Congress had established an August 1, 2010 deadline for this requirement.
To meet the mandate, TSA created the Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP), which allows certified facilities across the country to screen cargo before it reaches the airport. Prior to the August 1 deadline, over 900 facilities became CCSP certified, and according to TSA, this distributed screening effort has enabled over half of the more than 9 million pounds of cargo loaded onboard passenger-carrying planes each day to be prescreened, avoiding potential bottlenecks at airports. (This is an important point, because as you may recall, TSA has been criticized for not developing strategies sufficient to prevent supply chain disruptions that would disturb the flow of commerce. )
The CCSP initiative is part of TSA's multi- layered approach to air cargo security. The agency's program now includes:
procedures for known and established shippers to ship cargo on domestic passenger aircraft,
deployment of explosive detection canine teams, and
covert tests and no-notice inspections of cargo operations.
"TSA has taken another step forward in strengthening the security of air travel," says TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. "Screening all cargo on domestic passenger aircraft adds another layer to our already robust security system and ensures that TSA is doing everything possible to ensure the safety of air travel."
The agency is now working to improve cargo security on passenger flights originating in other countries.