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Homeland Security

Crew Vetting aircraft crew screening program

TSA has been involved in crew "vetting," - the process by which security threat assessments are conducted on airline crewmembers are verified for authenticity - since the program was established by the FAA in October, 2001. On October 19, 2001, the Federal Aviation Administration issued, by way of Emergency Amendment, requirements for submission of cockpit crew lists to ensure vetting through intelligence databases. This EA applied to select foreign countries of concern and required the submission of cockpit crew list information, including crewmember's name, date of birth, place of birth, and pilot/flight engineer license (certificate) number.

In December, 2003, TSA received new information about specific threats to aviation security related to crewmembers on flights to, from, and overflying the U.S. and issued a series of Security Directives (SDs) and Emergency Amendments (EAs) significantly expanding the scope of crew vetting. Requirements specified that applicable air carriers with operations into, out of, and overflying the United States and its territories must submit Master Cockpit Crew Lists which included the cockpit crewmember's name, date of birth, place of birth, and passport number and country of issuance.

On March 30, 2004, TSA issued the most recent SDs and EAs pertaining to crew vetting. These SDs and EAs expanded the definition of "crewmember" from only cockpit crew member to include cabin crew and persons on all-cargo flights. They also expanded the amount of information to be collected to include gender and status onboard aircraft. Persons onboard an all-cargo flight not included in the definition of a crewmember must so indicate their non-crewmember status. In addition all air carriers were required to submit their Master Crew Lists to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

TSA will collect and retain personal information about persons authorized to be cockpit and cabin crewmembers on all TSA- regulated passenger and all-cargo flights and non-crewmembers on all-cargo flights. Air carriers and operators are required to provide this information in Master Crew Lists for all crewmembers and non-crewmembers, where appropriate, who potentially will be authorized to be on flights into, out of, or overflying the territorial United States and for all foreign air carrier/operator flights within the territorial United States.

TSA will collect the following information from CBP immediately for the aviation security threat assessment based upon the Master Crew Lists and Flight Crew Manifests: full name (last, first, middle as they appear on the passport or other government issued ID accepted for travel), gender, date of birth, passport number and country of issuance and status onboard the aircraft. Additional data to be provided on the master crew list are pilot certificate number and country of issuance (where appropriate). In future phases of this program, TSA will collect a full permanent address and the place of birth for every person contained in a Master Crew List.

TSA will use the information collected to conduct aviation security threat assessments on the covered individuals in the established TSA Master Crew Lists and Flight Crew Manifests. Individuals who are cleared by TSA and/or U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies will be added to the Master Crew Lists submitted to TSA or authorized to be a crewmember or non-crewmember, as appropriate, on a Flight Crew Manifest. The Master Crew Lists will be maintained by TSA and will be reviewed on a regular basis to reassess the suitability of those individuals on the list to be authorized crewmembers or noncrewmembers. Flight Crew Manifest submissions will be vetted against the TSA maintained Master Crew Lists to reassess those individuals who have already been authorized through a successfully completed aviation security threat assessment. TSA will also undertake a security threat assessment of covered individuals submitted on Flight Crew Manifests each time they fly to ensure that any new data that may have become available and affects that individual's authorization is reviewed.

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