27 August 2003
U.S. Seeks International Solution to Airline Security
MANPADS, air marshals, armed pilots among major issues, TSA chief says
The United States recognizes potential for an international solution to major aviation security issues including the threat from shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles and legal problems related to air marshals and armed pilots programs, a senior Homeland Security Department official says.
Speaking August 26 to foreign reporters in Washington, Admiral James Loy, the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the Department of Homeland Security, said that the Bush administration is working with other countries to prevent terrorists from acquiring and using the missiles known as Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) against commercial aircraft.
Because MANPADS could pose as much danger to civil aviation in the United States as in other countries, he said, the administration has been pursuing a three-pronged approach that includes "classic" non-proliferation efforts, assessment of the potential threat at U.S. and international airports and actual countermeasures.
Loy said that, according to intelligence reports, no credible threat of MANPADS being used by terrorists in the United States exists. Nevertheless, he said, the Bush administration is trying to do everything it can through bilateral and multilateral efforts to reduce the number of the missiles not controlled by legitimate governments. It also is challenging other countries to control both the manufacturing and the export of that weapon, Loy said.
The Group of Eight (G-8) industrial countries, which comprises Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, agreed in June to implement stricter export controls on MANPADS; stronger national regulation of production, transfer and brokering; and a ban on transfers to non-state users.
The chief of the TSA said that the Bush administration has been reviewing different technologies that could be used against the missiles, but he added it has not selected any specific equipment yet and has not decided how it would be used.
Loy said his agency has been working bilaterally with other countries on issues related to the expansion of the air marshals program, which has put thousands of armed security agents on board commercial planes on both domestic and international routes.
He said his agency and the U.S. State Department will also engage in bilateral discussion with countries that express interest in having armed pilots operating planes out of those countries' airports.
The Bush administration, mandated by Congress, has started training hundreds of commercial pilots who volunteered to carry firearms in cockpits.
Loy also commented on a new enhanced air passenger identification program, which has raised privacy concerns of civil liberties advocates in the United States and the European Union (EU). He said that his department is working with these advocates and other U.S. groups as well as European allies to put together the Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening System II (CAPPS II), which preserves the privacy of air passenger data. Loy also emphasized that CAPPS II is not a "system where we are depending in any way on racial or ethnic profiling."
Following is the transcript of Loy's briefing:
Foreign Press Center
MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Washington Foreign Press Center. And also, a warm welcome to journalists at our New York Foreign Press Center.
We're delighted to have this afternoon for a briefing at the Foreign Press Center Admiral James Loy, the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, which you probably know is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Admiral Loy came to the Transportation Security Administration after a long and distinguished career as commandant of the Coast Guard, which you probably know is an organization that also maintains security and safety for American shipping and boating and so forth.
He will be briefing today on the various levels of aviation security that have been established over the last 20 months, making travel more secure for tourists, businesspeople and others. And he'll have an opening statement to make, and after that, he'll be delighted to take your questions.
LOY: Well, thank you very much, and good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for being here and expressing your interest in the work that we're doing at the Transportation Security Administration.
Certainly, there are millions of people who travel to and from the United States on an annual basis. They have every right to expect safe and secure travel as they fly the airways of the world. And I think that's a constant among all the world's travelers, American or otherwise, and that expectation is something that we have been working very hard to fulfill since our organization was established on the 19th of November, 2001, in the wake of the tragedies of 9/11, where lots of folks' expectations and concerns with respect to traveling, obviously, were peaked in the aftermath of the tragedies.
What I'd like to do today is just, in a couple of words, talk about some fundamental themes that have guided our work at the Transportation Security Administration this last couple of years, cover some achievements that I think we are rightfully proud of and look perhaps a bit ahead to some challenges, all with a view towards reassuring or assuring, as the case might be required, the traveling public from around the world that we are, indeed, doing a good bit and everything that we can with respect to security of the traveling public. Knowing all along that there is sort of no guarantee in this business, we would like to be able to some day stand in front of a podium and say to the world's travelers: You never have anything to worry about again.
But I believe all of us understand that our effort is sort of a journey, not necessarily a destination.
The Aviation Transportation Security Act of 2001 is the legislation that gave birth to the Transportation Security Administration. Indeed, we were born, if you will, in the blood of the 9/11 tragedies, where the United States took a national vow, if you will, to do all that was possible to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies that occurred on that day.
It was the largest mobilization since World War II. We went from non-existence and really a couple of sheets of paper in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation to an organization of about 60,000 people over the course of a very deliberate year. That deliberate year was shared sort of in halves, where an awful lot of study effort and research effort was undertaken for the first six months, and then the doing of what occurred over the course of the second six months leading up to the 19th of November, 2002, which was A, the anniversary date of our founding as an organization; and B, one of the most challenging deadlines to be met, as outlined by the Aviation Transportation Security Act of just a year earlier.
Thirty-six congressional mandates have been met by TSA, the Transportation Security Administration, in the timeline since then, and many, many others as imposed or challenged in our direction from the president of the United States, from the new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, or even many self-imposed on ourselves, in the course of the effort that we've undertaken since then. And I am enormously proud of the people and of the spirit of the organization known as TSA because we can look back and claim that we have met, for the most time on time and on budget, virtually all of those mandates that were placed in front of us by the representatives of the American people, known as the Congress of the United States.
We are currently locked, if you will, 18 or 20 months later, in the proverbial engagement of sorting out the job description; what is really to be expected of this organization now and into the future, and the resource base necessary to get all of that work done. I think that's not an unnatural challenge that befalls almost any organization, and certainly a brand new one, and certainly a brand new one that was born in the wake of a tragedy such as that I just described.
A couple fundamental themes that have been part and parcel of our work over the course of this last year and a half are these:
We want very much to be seen as a threat-based, risk-managed organization. In other words, recognizing up in front that there are no guarantees in the kind of business that we are in, we want, nonetheless, to recognize the threat that we see, be agile and adaptable to adjusting our efforts, attendant to the changes in that threat as we watch it go by, and to then manage the risk associated with that threat to the greatest degree possible, given the resource base that we have to do that.
Another theme is that we understand our work especially as it was focused on aviation for this first year and a half to be necessarily integrated as a puzzle piece first into the rest of the transportation challenges of our nation, and then for that transportation piece to be blended into the rest of the challenges of homeland security, as are the -- the responsibility of Secretary Ridge [Tom Ridge, secretary of homeland security].
The third theme is sort of the multiple notion that we are concerned with security as it relates to people, as it related to cargo and as it relates to infrastructure. All three of those things deserve our attention. And to the degree that we end up finding concentration on one at the expense of the other, we should always make an effort to re-find the balance necessary to be addressing all three of those things over the course of our work.
And then, I think if there is a spectrum associated with a pre- and post-incident kind of thought process, the last theme I would offer you is that we are concerned from truly understanding what is going on in the transportation realm. We have termed that "domain awareness." That is, truly being aware of the domain in which we're working and that we're responsible for, and then stretching across the prevention and protection efforts to, God forbid, an event, and then dealing with those necessary plans for response and recovery and restoration. That full spectrum we believe to be the responsibility of TSA for transportation, and as an agent, then, TSA's transportation efforts for Secretary Ridge in the wider realm of the full scope of homeland security.
Some of the achievements that we look back on with a great amount of pride are to first have taken that step that [Transportation] Secretary [Norman] Mineta then, the department's secretary in which we were born, the Department of Transportation -- to take that first six months and truly try to think our way through the challenges that we were undertaking, rather than impulsively leap out and do some things that we might be sorry for later.
So the notion of thinking very carefully, planning very carefully and then using that last six months of that first year to actually execute the plans that we thought our way through.
We looked and found, if you will, no silver bullet. There was no single answer to the challenges of transportation security out there. And so, quickly we found our way towards standing up what I'll call a "system of systems" as the answer to the challenges of transportation security, the first and foremost being perhaps the immediate challenge of recognizing that information and intelligence sharing and analysis, both in a strategic sense and in a tactical sense, were things that we needed to do an awful lot better. And manifestations of that include, of course, watch lists and no-fly lists and many things that you find properly reported in the press and in the media to help the rest of the citizenry understand what we are about. But one of our early jobs was to recognize the importance of working better with the information that we had, and working with others better to share information and to develop tactically actionable products that could indeed add security to our world.
One of the existing systems hat was developed to a greater degree almost immediately was what is now known as CAPPS or CAPPS I. Mostly the reference to CAPPS or CAPPS I is a antecedent reference to the real issue on the table, which is CAPPS II, the would-be successor to CAPPS I, that we believe -- that I believe truly will become one of the most dramatic enhancers of both security and customer service that we will put into practice over the course of this next year.
As you know, we have just recently issued an interim privacy notice with respect to that particular project. And as I think you probably know, just yesterday we had some groups gathered together to suggest that perhaps we needed to do a little more work on that. One of the most important aspects of that is that it was an interim final notice, and it offered the ongoing dialogue that we think is enormously important with as many different agents as are possible that can help us understand the best CAPPS II to put together to actually put onto the marketplace when we turn that switch on, perhaps about a year from now.
One of the other elements of the system was federal air marshals. In the days of just 9/11 and immediately before that, we had a very small number of marshals, numbering in the tens -- I think the number was actually around 32 or 33 -- who were flying predominantly international flights. And over the course of the ensuing six-month window, that number has become thousands of air marshals flying tens of thousands of flights every month, both domestically and internationally, focused as intelligence offers us the opportunity to focus them, and dealing, as necessary, with bilateral foreign agreements with many of the nations represented in this room and around the world, so as to, on a reciprocity basis, respect the desire for that law enforcement authority and capability on the aircraft, and to do whatever is necessary to enhance that in a bilateral fashion.
Passenger screening has been enhanced dramatically here in the United States. In the days of pre-9/11, the existence of contracted screeners who were working for the airlines were often put into practice with a very minimum amount of training. We're enormously proud of the curriculum that we've developed, with the individual people that we have taken aboard as passenger and baggage screeners. And we feel that we have as professional a group of screeners that are found anywhere in the world. So, both on the passenger side and on the checked baggage side, both in terms of people and equipment, dramatic enhancements of what had been in place on the occasion of the tragedies of 9/11.
Airport security plans actually were a requirement in place long before 9/11. But the enhancement of airport security plans, such that perimeter security, for example, as an issue, needed to have attention given to it as a much higher priority than had been the case, as we walked in the immediate days leading to 9/11.
Hardened cockpit doors. An example of a lesson learned from international expectations, and the simple reality of a hardened cockpit door and, therefore, a much more difficult challenge for a would-be intruder, terrorist or otherwise, to find their way from the passenger cabin into the cockpit of any airplane aloft.
And the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, one, again, that is gaining some media attention over the course of the last couple of days, where, again, the United States has chosen to press on with this program. And should there be any kind of an interest in the question of introducing pilots with arms to the international airports of the world, that will become something that the Department of State and we work very diligently about, probably dealing, again, in a bilateral fashion with nations around the world before ever there would be an armed pilot on a U.S. airliner being introduced to one of the rest of the world's airports. So, we stood up this 60,000-person organization. We met mission along the way, getting the job done as this year has played out. And then, as if any of that was not enough work to be done, we moved to the Department of Homeland Security; at that particular point in time, an idea more than a reality. And I would offer that any of those three jobs was a full-time job for just about any kind of an agency, and we're enormously proud, again, of what's been accomplished.
Looking ahead for a moment to the challenges that remain in front of us, I would offer that there is more work to be done in aviation security. I think the 108th Congress of the United States has developed an interest, a taste, a quest for dealing with the cargo issue of air cargo. Certainly, charters and general aviation also offer elements of concern still to be dealt with in as constructive a fashion as we will give those pieces of aviation security attention. And then, of course, for TSA, our name is the Transportation Security Administration, not the Aviation Security Administration, and there is an enormous amount of work to be done in the rest of the transportation spectrum to press on to recognizing and working with good leaders that are already in existence, like the United States Coast Guard and its lead on maritime affairs and the four main aspects of terrestrial transportation that we'll grapple with into the future, those being rail, and highways, and transit systems and pipelines. All of those, we have been working diligently on, and we'll continue as the days wear on.
There are some significant projects, and maybe I'll just name them with a word or two and offer an opportunity for questions and answers if you have some questions in these areas. Credentialing, I think, is an enormously important issue for us and for the new Department of Homeland Security as we press forward. We are in the midst of a project that is called the Transportation Workers Identification Credential, which is a means by which we want to guarantee as best we can identification authentication so that we can have every expectation that you are who you claim to be, if you're a truck driver bringing a load of hazardous materials into a particularly sensitive place or community. And we also want the whole notion of access control to potentially be dealt with, with our credentialing initiatives.
These are important initiatives for the new department that we will be part of as we move forward.
CAPPS II I mentioned a moment ago. Basically, at its root, it will be a means by which we will be attempting to guarantee the security of passengers on airliners by, again, a sense of identity authentication, on one hand, and a risk assessment effort that we will take literally with each and every would-be passenger that makes a reservation on an airline, the point there being that we will make every effort, as we have to this point in time, to recognize the appropriateness of privacy considerations, from the full scope of our privacy interests and spectrum here at home, as well as those abroad.
It's enormously important for us to understand and work as diligently with, for example, the EU or anyone else around the world as to the rightness and security with which you can feel the U.S. will treat passenger name record data, should it be offered to us, to be entrusted as part and parcel of our effort to screen passengers in advance, again, making certain that they are who they claim to be and that we can adequately assess them as a would-be terrorist of any kind, in some fashion, with our efforts to deal with the information that we have in hand to do those things.
I think MANPADS is an issue that is, I think, of concern to all of us around the world with respect to aviation security. We basically have a three-pronged approach in the United States, in an effort to deal with the MANPADS issue:
The first is a classic nonproliferation effort, where we, working with every country around the world, will make an effort to have control of the inventory of shoulder-armed and -fired missiles, such that we keep as many as possible out of the hands of anyone who would be inclined to do the wrong thing with them.
And secondly, then, to deal in a tactical countermeasures effort and a technical countermeasures effort, the tactical countermeasures effort being about the business of truly understanding what the footprint of a MANPADS threat represents at most of the airports here in the United States and around the world; to develop tools that will make it possible to assess that threat; and then to watch the activity profile of law enforcement organizations and others, once armed with the revelation that would come from an assessment of their airport.
And then, lastly, the notion of tactical countermeasures, which for the most part, most people want to go directly to; what kind of a situation do we put either on the ground or on the aircraft that is a countermeasure technically to an incoming missile that might be launched at that particular aircraft. Enormously important work for us to be doing collectively here amongst the many members of the community that have shown an interest in that work in the United States and, of course, to our friends and allies and others around the world as well.
Lastly, I'll just mention, because it's only been a month or so since the president made his judgment, but the traveling without visa program and the international to international programs that are currently suspended, based on what we felt was absolutely legitimate and credible intelligence that suggested the bad guys may be -- were looking for soft spots and the means by which people could introduce themselves into the United States. We realize that it's an inconvenience to a number of travelers around the world, who have historically used either one of those programs as a means to complete their travel itinerary from point A to point B by way of point C, which happened to be a U.S. airport, and now are going to be required to get a visa in order to do that. Why does that add to security? Because the means by which that visa is acquired has been strengthened dramatically by the State Department, and cycling people to that particular means by which you can gain access to the United States became the president's decision in terms of how to deal with this particular threat.
The rest of our work is going to be associated with blending to Secretary Ridge's "one team, one fight" slogan and the notion of pulling together in the Department of Homeland Security for the well- being of American citizens and those who are dealt with by the players in the Department of Homeland Security. And our bottom line remains, as our mission statement and our theme of values really tries to represent at the Transportation Security Administration, we want to build a secure transportation system, and we want one that protects the nation's transportation system to ensure the freedom of movement for both people and cargo and commerce in our country and around the world, because all of us are members of a global political and economic reality these days. And we must do that with a sense that focuses on some kind of core values in terms of how we go about our work.
Our core values are simply integrity, innovation and teamwork. And we believe those three things, if carried out in each of our workplaces on a daily basis, will get us to where we need to be at the other end of the day.
So thank you very, very much for your attention and a quick snapshot of what TSA has been up to over the course of this last 18 or 20 months. And I welcome your questions.
MODERATOR: Let's go to New York for our first question. I think Capital News of Guyana has a question.
Q: Yes. (Name inaudible) -- from Guyana, Capital News. What efforts are being made, Admiral, to erase an impression that the random selection of airline passengers for detailed searches is really tantamount to racial profiling?
LOY: Actually, the word "profiling" has an awful lot of emotion wrapped around it. I like to think that we are in the profiling business, but it's "profiling" with a small "p," not "Profiling" with a capital "P," that has so much of that emotion wrapped around it. What we are in the business of doing is attempting to develop a profile for the terrorists that we can recognize by way of the tools that we are putting into practice and, in fact, find that terrorist and keep them off of the airplane.
I missed a portion of the middle of your question, sir, and if I was not responsive, I'll be glad to try to consider if you could say it again.
Q: What I was asking, Admiral, is what efforts are being made to erase the impression that the detailed searches of passengers is tantamount to racial profiling?
LOY: Well, I think there is a considerable effort underway to just help the traveling American public and global public understand why it is that we are doing what we are doing with respect to enhancing the security profile of our transportation systems here in the United States. We need to verbalize that there is no advantage to ethnic or racial profiling as part of finding a terrorist. And perhaps the most dramatic example of that, I believe, will be our Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System II, CAPPS II, if you will, as we are able to communicate more to the American public and to the international public why we are doing what we are doing with that system and why it represents a dramatic enhancement both to security and to customer service, mainly for one reason: because it is not a system where we are depending in any way on racial or ethnic profiling.
So that's our effort, that is our goal, and we need to find a means by which we communicate that more aggressively and articulate that more clearly to folks who I believe will be well-served by the system when it is in place.
MODERATOR: Okay, let's move to Washington, and let's start up front here. We'll take Handelsblatt, and then we'll come up here.
Q: Michael Backfisch, German business daily, Handelsblatt. Strategically speaking, if you compare the situation today with the one around September 11th, what are your major worries? How serious is the danger of shoulder-fired missiles? And in what areas will you ratchet-up controls around September 11th, 2003?
LOY: You're absolutely right, sir, the second anniversary of that terrible day does approach. I cannot speak for Secretary Ridge, who will make an ultimate decision as to whether or not there is any reason for we in the United States to have a greater level of concern on September 11th, '03, than we do today, for example. Obviously, we have the capacity to upgrade the security level, with respect to homeland security levels, if there was a read in the intelligence going by that suggested that was the right thing to do.
We also, as you can have seen -- as you have seen over the last couple of weeks and months, that it's not necessary that we do that in a blanket fashion, as has been the case over the first three or four times that the threat level was raised from yellow to orange here in the United States. We believe that we have developed now much more sophisticated tools that would enable us to do things like upgrade the level on a focused basis, if that was appropriate to what we saw coming in our direction or what the intelligence was reading as it related to that day.
But, as I stand here in front of you this morning, I have no intention to be recommending to Secretary Ridge one course of action or another, based on anything dramatic that we are seeing with respect to the oncoming 11th of September anniversary.
My hope, and I'm sure yours as well, is that it is just another routine day of safe travel for everyone from point A to point B, and that's exactly what we will try to make it be.
MODERATOR: (Off mike.)
Q: Dmitri Kirsanov, Russian new agency, TASS. Admiral, it is my understanding that you basically just said that the United States government is very interested in getting systems of commercial aircraft protection from shoulder-fired missiles. And as far as I remember, Boeing and Raytheon are currently working on creating such systems. Do you have any plans to cooperate on this issue with foreign companies; for example, Russian, Israeli, French?
LOY: I think it's a wonderful question. And this is an international scourge and an international threat. I think the state of research being undertaken around the world is absolutely something that we need to find the right forum to pool the thinking that has been -- and the learning that has been accomplished over time.
I visited Israel several months ago. Certainly, one of the things on my agenda while I was there was to sort out the thinking patterns on one hand as well as the actual engineering research that was being undertaken by the Israelis at that time, as well.
So, let me applaud your notion that we need to recognize the potential for an international solution to this issue. And let me further say that in terms of U.S. companies and other companies around the world, this is not a hidden threat. This is a very dramatically public threat known to many around the world, and I would be enormously surprised if -- if I was the CEO [chief executive officer], the chief executive officer of any major engineering firm around the world that I thought might have a contribution to make, both in a sort of self-serving mode with respect to selling my product, and secondarily, in a humanitarian notion to make a contribution to the world's ability to deal with this threat, I'd be pushing very, very hard with my company to make that happen. And I'm convinced that that is going -- well, I know for a fact that it is going on in a number of major firms here in the United States, and I would be very surprised if it wasn't elsewhere around the world.
That is one of the legs of the three-pronged approach to dealing with MANPADS that is currently being discussed here. And I can tell you that the ownership of this particular issue in the United States is literally at the highest level. This is a Homeland Security Council/National Security Council-owned issue, with a working group that has been put together representing all the very best thinking, all the very best imagination that can be pooled together to deal with this issue for not only the citizens of the United States, but for the citizens of the world.
MODERATOR: (Off mike) -- in the middle, blue shirt.
Q: (Name inaudible) -- newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Finland. Do you foresee a situation in which it would be mandatory for the airlines to install weapons against these missiles? And another small thing. Have you experienced (any?) foreign airports and governments that are reluctant to let armed American pilots into the airports?
LOY: I don't know that the -- let me answer the last part first. I don't know that an adequate dialogue has yet been undertaken with respect to the notion or the desire on the part of either the airlines or the United States to introduce armed pilots into U.S. carriers or foreign carriers going back in the other direction.
I think it's an inevitable discussion item for us to engage in, but what I think will happen with it will be identically to -- or what I hope will happen will be that there will be the same kind of engagement effort, largely directed by the Department of State, on a bilateral basis, as we experience with respect to the Air Marshal Service -- a number of nations around the world who are enormously correctly and rightfully proud of the air marshals that they have on their aircraft, and as it relates to U.S. interests, in a bilateral fashion, have been able to come to a very workable effort back and forth with respect to federal air marshals. I see no reason why I should be any different than armed pilots in the cockpit.
I've lost your first point, sir. Could you help me one more time?
Q: This anti-missile equipment is going to be mandatory?
LOY: Oh, yeah. Again, I think it is too early for me to be expressing whether or not any kind of a mandatory regime would be in order. I think, first and foremost, we have to gain comfort and closure with the right kind of equipment -- there are a variety of different kinds, as many of you know -- but the right kind of equipment.
And then -- for example, in the United States, I think there is a -- the intelligence community would tell us today that there remains no credible threat of a terrorist organization having introduced missiles into the United States as would-be efforts and weapons against commercial aircraft here in this country.
I go back to the absolute reality that there are no guarantees about any of this business, as we know, and the numbers that we have all watched in the press have gone to the 700-750,000 kind of number of shoulder-fired missiles around the world, most of which, thank the good Lord, remain in the control of a solid inventoried fashion by militaries or nations around the world.
Our effort in that nonproliferation leg of the stool is to do everything we can to reduce the loose number, whatever it may be, to zero, if we can ever get it there. And that means, whether it's about destruction programs, buyback programs, or the kind of things that have always been part and parcel of nonproliferation activities, bilateral or multilateral, we very much want to push the success of that effort. And that's one of those efforts that must be over time, because at the same time we are attempting to challenge nations of the world to control both the manufacture of, the export of, the selling of or the whatever of that particular weapon.
But once we have decided here in this country as to which, if any, system is the appropriate system to be actually placed onboard an aircraft, then we have to say, to what degree do we do that? Do we only do that to carriers that are going to places where the threat remains reasonably valid? Or do we deal with all 7,000 aircraft that are commercially flying for our -- in the national air space of the United States today commercially, passenger jets? I think those kind of judgments are not yet decided for certain, and it would be premature to go to those decisions before we truly understood both the cost of and the effectiveness of whatever system is eventually deemed to be the appropriate one.
MODERATOR: (Off mike.)
Q: Admiral, Lisa Miller from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. If I could just ask you quite generally, as we are approaching the second anniversary of September 11, given that every threat that you seem to tackle, a new one arises, is America any safer than it was two years ago?
LOY: It is without a doubt dramatically safer than it was on 9/11/01. I have a -- you know, I have a personal read on the decade or so that came before 9/11/01, where in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the dissolution of the Soviet empire, all of a sudden, the notion of what had been a reason to stay on our toes, if you will, as a nation and deal with whatever the threats on that horizon of the cold war included, I believe that there was a bit of a relaxation window across that decade or 12 years.
And we all remember the discussion about why didn't we connect the dots after the events. And to the degree that that's all behind us at this point, and that the cold pail of water in the face known as 9/11 has jerked us back to a sense of alertness in that regard, it is now manifested not only in this system of systems that I described to you about aviation security, but about a whole new department, led by Secretary Ridge, a former governor who understands this at the state level as well as at the national level, making every effort to coalesce the game plan that will gain not only comfort in a personal feel sense, but a reality associated with a greater degree of security than has ever been known in this country before.
We are learning about this new -- about this new threat. The president, I think, is enormously articulate when he says this is a global war on terrorism. Iraq and Afghanistan are campaigns in this war, regardless of how one might focus in on any one of them at any one time. And so I worry about complacency as a human attribute that can manifest itself in organizations and can manifest itself in nations. And we have to work diligently, I believe, to hold the edge, if you will, in the aftermath of the harsh reality of 9/11/01, and holding on to this edge, this alertness that must be part of our continuing future.
I am one of many who believe we are living in a fundamentally different and more challenging security environment today than we have ever lived, as global colleagues across time, before. We must pay attention to that. And we who are offered leadership opportunities in the midst of it all must take it enormously seriously or we will be letting down not only the American people but the colleagues of all of us around the world, given that the world is such a small place today.
MODERATOR: Let's take the lady back there, please.
Q: Leslie Miller from AP World News. Hi.
LOY: Hi, Leslie.
Q: As you probably know, pilots today were complaining that the program to arm them hasn't been moving quickly enough. And they've said that you personally opposed the program from the start and that's one of the reasons that the TSA isn't moving as quickly as it could. Could you comment on that, please?
LOY: Sure, I'd be glad to comment on it. I must admit that in the days before the congressional effort to establish this as a plan, I wondered very seriously as to whether or not, in a time frame where we were working as diligently as we could to keep every arm and every bomb off airplanes, why would we be now introducing them in the form of armed pilots? But I also recognize overwhelming votes in both the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States, and that is the will of the American people.
What I can assure you is that since that vote was taken and since the president signed that legislation, we have worked diligently to build the right program. And I believe the right program is one where, given only a week's time to introduce not only the notion of tactics, but weapon capability, and perhaps even more importantly, the psychological profile associated with whether or not one is able to, willing to or can point a weapon at someone and pull the trigger -- that is not a small thing for anyone to think about in a -- you know, in a cowboy fashion. It must be one where we have deliberately -- we have thought our way through not only the how to do it and how best to train people to be able to do it, but also, picking the right folks, volunteers first, but even within the volunteer community, those who have undertaken with us and by us a psychological profile review that enables me to literally deputize them and arm them with the ability to take that life. I think that is a dramatically important thing for us to get right, and we are working very hard to do so.
We now have hundreds in place with a full set of classes between now and the end of this fiscal year, and money in the fiscal '04 budget to dramatically increase the numbers flow into fiscal '04.
So, Leslie, I'm of the mind that the program, once challenged to us to build, has been built enormously well. And I feel, as I contemplate each and every one of those deputizations, that we have done the right thing in terms of preparing those officers to be federal law enforcement officers, restricted in their turf to the cockpit of an airplane in flight, but nonetheless, armed properly in many different ways beyond the weapon, to do that job well.
MODERATOR: Radio Sawa -- (inaudible).
Q: Samir Nader, Radio Sawa. How many -- out of the 60,000 employees you said, how many do you have overseas in ports and airports to monitor smuggling or cargo, like, coming to the U.S.? How many overseas do you have working (for you ?)?
LOY: Very few from TSA, and virtually all of them are associated with our airports. They're associated with assessment efforts. They're associated with compliance efforts to make certain that U.S. carriers and foreign carriers and foreign airports are what we, the nation involved and the United States, would have them be, as they relate to the potential of someone leaving from there to come to the United States. Now, having said that, other elements of the Department of Homeland Security -- the Bureau of Customs and Border Patrol, the U.S. Coast Guard, many other elements, including others outside the Department of Homeland Security that work under the aegis of the State Department -- are actively involved in the kinds of activities that you asked your question about, sir.
But from TSA's perspective today, the only folks that we have overseas are liaison officers in a variety of embassies around the world, responsible for airports, as has been the case for many years, even when they were still with the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration].
MODERATOR: (Off mike) -- back there -- (off mike).
Q: Heather Rothman with BNA here in Washington. I was just wondering -- you have an ambitious agenda and lots of congressional mandates, and there's been talk of a budget shortfall over at TSA. Do you anticipate you or Secretary Ridge asking Congress, when they return next week, for a supplemental to finish out this fiscal year?
LOY: It is, I think, enormously important for us to recognize what's really going on here. We have been an agency for 18 months, and I think if you look back in the history of this country's reaction to major tragedies of one kind or another, the history goes like this:
Major tragedy, often a rather impulsive piece of legislation, followed a year later or so by sticker shock associated with whether or not we can pay for what has been legislated into reality by that law.
And I think that's about where we are right now -- wrestling somewhere between the job description, on one hand, and the resource base necessary to do that. I think that is a rather expected discussion and dialogue that will continue between myself and Secretary Ridge in the Department of Homeland Security, and then between the administration, as represented by the secretary and OMB [Office of Management and Budget], with the Congress of the United States as they go to closure on the conferencing of the appropriation for the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal '04.
One of the things that has been valuable in this last month or six weeks has been the department's ability -- for the first time, I might add -- to actually reckon with all the agencies within the department as they prepare the department's fiscal '05 request to the Hill and submit that to the Office of Management and Budget. That is the first time that the Department of Homeland Security has had an adequate opportunity to truly influence all of the agencies within its boundaries and reflect forward to president what this particular secretary thinks is appropriate for that discussion about job description, on one hand, and resource base, on the other.
So, I think it's a little bit premature for us to talk about a supplemental until we see an actual appropriation initially among the conference bills that currently reside between the House and the Senate.
MODERATOR: (Off mike.)
Q: I'm with Chinese Xinhua News Agency. Do you have any cooperation with airlines to ensure aviation security, or do you require them to do so? If so, have you found any problems or difficulties because many airline companies are in financial difficulties? Thank you.
LOY: It's a very insightful question. What I would like to say is that we only have to think loudly and the airlines respond nobly every time. That's what I would like to be able to say.
The reality is, it's a combination of the airlines who, as you correctly describe, have had a passage of recent years of very difficult financial straits. But at the same time, my first order of business is the security of the traveling public. And so, to the degree it is appropriate, we do have the authority at the Transportation Security Administration to mandate requirements for U.S. airlines to meet as part of a security profile that we would be building for our nation's airways. And we are always in the stakeholder relations business of attempting to reach out and help people understand why we are trying to do things, but at the other end of the day, if necessary, we will use those authorities that are provided to us in the Aviation Transportation Security Act to act on behalf of the American people.
MODERATOR: Is there a last question? All right, then thank you very much, Admiral Loy. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
LOY: Thank you, Paul.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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