|House Approves DHS Authorization Bill
The House today approved by a vote of 386-41 H.R. 2825, the DHS Authorization Act, a bill to update programs and offices throughout the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This is the first measure to reauthorize DHS programs since the department was created 15 years ago. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
The bill includes provisions to ensure that TSA continues to staff exits lanes, maintains 30 VIPR teams, reimburses airports for providing local law enforcement officers to support checkpoint screening operations, and continues the Innovation Task Force — all programs that ACI-NA successfully worked to protect after the Trump administration proposed reducing or eliminating them in its Fiscal Year 2018 budget request. ACI-NA also worked closely with the bill’s sponsors to clarify the bill’s requirements and minimize the operational impact of these provisions on airport operators.
As a reminder, a summary of the airport-related provisions in the bill can be found below:
- TSA Administration and Acquisition
- Adds the TSA Administrator to the roster of DHS officials and incorporates the position into the executive schedule.
- Establishes an agency structure at TSA, including Office of the Administrator; Office of the Deputy Administrator; Office of Public Affairs; Office of Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, and Traveler Engagement; Office of Legislative Affairs; Office of Finance and Administration; Office of Chief of Operations; Office of Chief Mission Support; and Office of Chief Counsel.
- Passenger Security and Screening
- Establishes a pilot program for the biometric verification of the identity of individuals at PreCheck checkpoints.
- Directs TSA to deploy at least 300 explosives detection canine teams dedicated to passenger screening in U.S. airports by the end of 2018.
- Directs TSA to develop a staffing allocation model for passenger screening canines.
- Requires DHS to establish a more effective process for addressing complaints from travelers who feel they were wrongly targeted for additional screening at airport security checkpoints.
- Strengthens security standards for foreign airports with direct service to the United States.
- Streamlines the application and agency review process for airports requesting participation in the Screening Partnership Program.
- Authorizes $77 million for TSA to continue staffing exit lanes in Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018.
- Authorizes $45 million for the LEO Reimbursement Program in Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018.
- Formalizes the Innovation Task Force for TSA to collaborate with air carriers, airport operators, and other aviation security stakeholders to pursue innovations prior to the acquisition process.
- Requires TSA to notify Congress of any changes to its Five-Year Technology Investment Plan for Aviation Security, and directs TSA to provide Congress annual updates on its plan.
- Access Controls and Employee Vetting
- Directs TSA to conduct – in consultation with the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC) of which ACI-NA is a member – a cost and feasibility study of airports deploying new employee screening systems at all access points.
- Directs TSA to work with airports, air carriers, and vendors to assess credentialing standards, policies, and practices to ensure that insider threats to aviation security are adequately addressed.
- Requires airports to alter their SIDA applications by requesting a social security number and adding a disclaimer that badged employees are subject to screening at all times.
- Requires that all credentialed aviation workers currently required to submit to fingerprint-based criminal record history check be continuously vetted through the FBI’s Rap Back Service.
- Directs TSA to provide local airports and air carriers with the results and recommendations concerning covert testing of employee inspection operations conducted by the TSA.
- Directs TSA to establish a national database of employees who have had either their airport or aircraft operator-issued badge revoked for failure to comply with aviation security requirements.
- Declares DHS as the lead interagency coordinator pertaining to insider threat investigations and mitigation efforts at airports.
- Requires TSA to update its Transportation Sector Security Risk Assessment (TSSRA) for aviation and to follow up with an update to the intelligence information contained in the Comprehensive Risk Assessment of Perimeter and Access Control Security.
- Requires TSA to update the 2012 National Strategy for Airport Perimeter and Access Control Security.
- Directs TSA to conduct a system-wide assessment of airport perimeter security and access control points.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Christopher R. Bidwell, Vice President, Security, at (202) 861-8081 or <a href="mailto:scusson, Director, Public Safety and Security, at (202) 293-4532.