A hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on “Closing the Gaps in Air Cargo Security” on Nov 16 2010 with joint testimony from the Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Administrator, Transportation Security Administration;
Significant trends can be identified in these testimonies which indicate enhanced levels of air cargo security cooperation between DHS, the US Customs Administration and the Transportation Security Administration; and, between these organizations, the international air cargo community, and ICAO.
DHS, CBP and TSA testimony before these hearings confirmed that:
new pilot programs are being implemented to understand the type, quality and timeliness of current and future air cargo pre-departure information;
CBP and TSA are working to leverage data CBP currently receives from the CBP Automated Targeting System (ATS), and as TSA develops programs for domestic aviation security, CBP is assisting by providing information based on its long experience with international aviation and its technological capabilities;
the lack of physical presence in many airport locations where host nation partners and air carriers conduct inspections is being addressed, and priority is being given to engagement with worldwide cargo hubs and high-risk/high threat shipping locations;
coordination and mutual recognition of processes and programs among federal partners is proposed and also, where possible, among private and public sector partners with a role in aviation security;
a standard definition of high-risk cargo is to be established and chain of custody requirements and compliance requirements will be defined; and
a collaborative mechanism is proposed for international counterparts from governments and industry to come together within the framework of ICAO to discuss threats from a risk perspective and identify actionable mitigation options, and, as for this undertaking to serve as a model for the establishment of a mechanism for timely incident management led by ICAO, and also help to unify the global response as incidents occur.