Secretary Napolitano Highlights Strengthened Aviation Security
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano toured Transportation Security Administration (TSA) explosive detection technologies and canine program operations in Virginia and Texas—highlighting $576 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds and other security investments devoted to securing the U.S. aviation system and creating jobs in local communities across the country since President Obama signed the bill into law one year ago. “Over the past year, DHS has put the Recovery Act to work in communities across the country—making significant investments in aviation security, while boosting the American economy,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Through the Recovery Act, we are building new explosive detection systems and deploying new enhanced screening technologies, bolstering security at airports throughout America.” Secretary Napolitano yesterday met with TSA employees at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va., observing Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) and Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) units at work as part of TSA’s layered approach to security. She also visited the TSA Breeding and Development Center, an explosives detection canine breeding and training initiative run by the agency’s National Explosives Detection Canine Team at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Since President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law on Feb. 17, 2009, DHS has awarded $576 million in ARRA funding to local airports and transportation authorities for aviation security infrastructure and technologies—in addition to a fiscal year 2010 enacted budget that includes an additional $129 million for checkpoint screening operations and $1 billion for checked baggage explosive detection systems, while providing an increase of 109 Bomb Appraisal Officers and supporting 805 explosive detection canine teams, 165 of which are proprietary. To date, the Department has invested Recovery Act funding in communities across America:
- $371 million for 17 inline baggage handling systems that strengthen security efforts while expediting baggage screening and streamlining airport security procedures for passengers;
- $25 million for 150 AIT units, which detect metallic and non-metallic threats, including explosives, on passengers in a matter of seconds;
- $15 million for 400 fixed ETD units, which detect traces of explosives on luggage or a passenger’s hands;
- $50.4 million for 12 closed circuit television systems, which enhance threat detection and emergency response efforts;
- $77 million for approximately 200 reduced-size Explosive Detection Systems—checked baggage screening units designed for flexible use at airports;
- $22 million for 500 Bottled Liquid Scanners, which screen medically necessary liquids such as infant formula and medications to ensure that they do not contain a threat;
- $2.9 million for 44 Advanced Technology X-Ray and Universal Conveyer Systems, which provide high-definition X-ray images that improve TSA security officers’ ability to detect potential threat items in carry-on baggage; and
- Approximately $830,000 for 15 Chemical Analyzer Detectors, which are used to detect specific explosive substances in medically necessary liquids that alarm BLS units.
Additionally, President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget prioritizes key investments in aviation security, including:
- $88 million to purchase 500 AIT units to deploy at airport checkpoints;
- $39 million to purchase approximately 800 portable ETD machines;
- $71 million for an additional 275 explosives detection canine teams; * $20 million for Behavior Detection Officers; and
- $85 million for increased Federal Air Marshals on international flight coverage.
ARRA, signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 17, 2009, committed more than $3 billion for homeland security projects through DHS and the General Services Administration (GSA). Of the $1 billion allocated to TSA for aviation security projects, $700 million is dedicated to screening checked baggage and $300 million is allocated for checkpoint explosives detection technology.
To learn more about the DHS Recovery Act projects, visit www.dhs.gov/recovery.