The News Journal Editorial Board
Much has been made of the enhanced security risks since the U.S. military tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden.
On Thursday, Sen. Tom Carper, chair of the Subcommittee on International Security, and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown reintroduced legislation to improve the safety of American airports in time for the heavily traveled summer vacation season.
The Aviation Security Innovation & Reform Act is intended to step up the effectiveness of air passenger screening programs and bolster state and local law enforcement anti-terrorism partnerships. The bill standardizes training of the Transportation Security Administration's screeners with "increased baseline and anti-terrorism training nationwide with biannual re-certifications."
"We'll need to get smarter, adapt to the new techniques of those who wish to do us harm and make a better investment in the people on the front lines," Carper said.
TSA has spent billions on passenger screening technologies and other airport equipment, much to many passengers' frustrations. But the senators make the case for a wiser investment in personnel training for airport security. The AIR Act sets higher performance standards for screeners, raising the minimum training requirements to improve their ability to spot potential terrorists. And it mandates coordination of "behavior detection programs" that help TSA personnel spot terror suspects and other criminals without expensive technology.
In effect, AIR provides a needed symmetry of U.S. flight security tactics that past disparate programs and initiatives failed to achieve.