Sunday, September 2, 2012

TSA Announces ASAC Meeting – 9-18-12

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announces in this Tuesday’s (available on line yesterday) Federal Register (FR 53902-53903) that the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC) will be holding a public meeting on September 18th in Arlington, VA. While airport security is not generally one of the major concerns of this blog, this meeting will include receiving a report from the Air Cargo Security Subcommittee and that certainly may affect chemical transportation interests. Oh, yes, there is a brief cybersecurity mention that may be interesting.

Air Cargo Screening

The report on the actions of the Air Cargo Security Subcommittee (Sorry this is a link to the link to the report. The folks at the Federal eRulemaking Portal,, have made this as complicated as possible. Direct links to documents are no longer available.) is actually the minutes of the Subcommittee’s July 11, 2012 meeting. A number of interesting recommendations came out of that meeting, including:

• TSA should coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a formal process that would permit industry stakeholders to identify and submit cargo screening technology capability needs into the Department’s research and development (R&D) process.

• TSA should work with the international community- including through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), if appropriate – to promulgate harmonized, internationally-recognized standards for the development of air cargo screening technology.

• TSA should establish a formal process for receiving industry input on government policy at the earliest possible time. For purposes of this recommendation, “the earliest possible time” denotes the period of policy consideration, prior to its internal finalization and issuance for formal comment.

In many ways these motherhood and apple pie issues that few would have any serious concerns with. Yes there are those that decry any industry input into the rulemaking process, but no one understands the impact regulations would have on day-to-day operations better than does the regulated industry. As long as other impacted groups have substantial input in the regulation developing process there should be no real concern here.

Other Agenda Items

The other items on the agenda for this meeting are a report from the International Aviation Subcommittee and status reports on the following other subcommittees:

• Risk-Based Security
• General Aviation
• Passenger Advocacy

Presumably the Risk-Based Security Subcommittee deals with passenger screening actions. The other two should be relatively self-explanatory. No details on any of these three are available.

The International Aviation Subcommittee report does include a brief note about cybersecurity (page 2):

“Identification of infrastructure and procedural incompatibilities in security systems; identification of systemic vulnerabilities at the international level and how best to broadcast to appropriate parties. This would include among its primary targets the issue of cybersecurity [emphasis added], which could conceivably affect not just individual systems, but entire national infrastructures and their ability to communicate current threat and response information.”

I would like to commend the IAS report for including the affiliations of the subcommittee members. This was not done in the ACSS report.

Public Participation

This is a public meeting but since it will be held in a TSA secure facility, advance registration is required. That registration may be made by email to Dean Walter ( Space is limited and available on a first-come first served basis (actually the latter is my assumption, it is not stated in the meeting notice). A 30 minute public comment period will be held at the end of the meeting; 3-minute limit. Written comments may be submitted to Mr. Dean or by using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (; Docket # TSA-2011-0008). Written comments must be filed by September 11th, 2012 (an interesting coincidence that).

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