Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John S. Pistole today launched two major enhancements to general aviation security – the general aviation component of DHS’s nationwide “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign, and a streamlined system for vetting passengers and crew on general aviation aircraft entering and exiting the United States through a single, Department-wide process.
“This new component of ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ will enable general aviation passengers and crew to better recognize and report behaviors and indicators associated with new and evolving threats,” said Secretary Napolitano. “We are also transitioning to a streamlined system for vetting travelers on general aviation flights to and from the United States to provide a single, electronic screening process while maintaining robust security standards.”
“As we saw in the Times Square attempted bombing, the public plays a key role in security,” said Administrator Pistole. “We ask that general aviation pilots and community members join us in helping to keep general aviation secure through ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ and by helping to develop new programs and initiatives, such as our new streamlined vetting system for international general aviation travel.”
Today’s announcements came as Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Pistole visited the 2010 Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wis., where they met with general aviation industry leaders to discuss ongoing efforts to protect the international aviation system from threats of terrorism.
The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign – originally implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and funded, in part, by $13 million from DHS’ Transit Security Grant Program – is a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats and emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.
The general aviation “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign is the second major expansion of the program since July 1, when Secretary Napolitano announced the initiative’s first phase, for Amtrak. In the coming months, DHS will continue to expand the campaign nationally with public education materials, advertisements and other outreach tools to continue engaging travelers, businesses, community organizations and public and private sector employees to remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping our country safe.
As part of the general aviation component of “If You See Something, Say Something,” DHS is asking the public to report suspicious general aviation activity to TSA’s hotline at 1-866-GA-SECURE.
Additionally, DHS will streamline the process for pre-screening passengers and crews entering and exiting the United States on general aviation aircraft by allowing pilots and operators of general aviation flights to submit a single manifest to the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) online tool for submitting general aviation data.
This will fulfill both CBP reporting and TSA international waiver requirements, and promote a Department-wide approach to maintaining robust general aviation security standards. DHS expects the streamlined system to take effect on Sept. 1.
“We are encouraged to see TSA and CBP collaborating to streamline the process for our members and eliminate unnecessary paperwork and redundant procedures,” said Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President and CEO Craig Fuller. “This decision demonstrates their commitment to improving the efficiency of the system for all users, and we look forward to working with both agencies to identify additional opportunities for improvement.”
“Security has always been a top priority for the business aviation community, and these two new security enhancements reflect an understanding of how our industry operates, and also how government and industry can enhance security without sacrificing mobility,” said National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We thank the TSA and DHS for working with industry on these measures, which will be fully effective and workable as a result of our collaboration.”