TSA has recently launched a new US nationwide framework for dealing with Public Area Security to mitigate the risk of landside attacks, like those we have seen in recent years. We have combed through the documents, and would offer a summary of the following three trends.
1 – Break Down Barriers
A key element of the Public Area Security National Framework is the tenant of enhanced cooperation between relevant stakeholders. The key recommendations in this field being better communication between relevant airport stakeholders and an enhanced situational awareness for the airport security operations team and within the entire airport more generally. These efficiency gains can only be implemented if walled gardens are eliminated. It should be noted that this strategy has previously been a noted success in other US security domains, notably with the introduction of DHS regional fusions centers for intelligence sharing.
2 – Improve Staff Security Training
A second key theme which comes out of the Public Area Security National Framework is the increasing emphasis on heightening training in terms of security alerts and threat response for airport employees to reinforce readiness in case of a threat or an emergency. This measure can play an important role in increasing the workplace security culture at airports building on the prior TSA “This is my airport” and the DHS “if you see something, say something” initiatives. A secondary benefit of this focus on employee security training is the subsequent ‘ingrained resilience’ which it helps to build into airport operations through drills and repetition.
3 – Centralize and Innovate
The final theme which springs out from this new framework is the importance of focusing on innovation and centralized processes in airport security. As the document notes, infrastructure is best protected by rethinking design through a security lens with initiatives like defensive architecture and holistic design practices. Furthermore, airports must take greater ownership in ensuring effective and streamlined emergency decision-making and operations by, for example, implementing centralized crisis centers at each airport for all security stakeholders, with combined innovative thinking leading to greater operational precision.
Lam Lha applauds TSA for the new Public Area Security Framework. They are heading in the right direction. The question is whether leadership at the airport level will follow. We certainly hope so. We would love to hear your thoughts on this initiative in the comments below!