Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole unveiled two GA security initiatives on opening day of AirVenture in Oshkosh: The general aviation component of DHS’s nationwide “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign, and a streamlined system for vetting passengers and crew on general aviation aircraft on international flights.
“As we saw in the Times Square attempted bombing, the public plays a key role in security,” said Pistole. “We ask that general aviation pilots and community members join us in helping to keep general aviation secure through ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ and by helping to develop new programs and initiatives, such as our new streamlined vetting system for international general aviation travel.”
Pilots who see suspicious activity can report it to TSA’s hotline at 866-GA-SECURE.
The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign — originally implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and funded, in part, by $13 million from DHS’ Transit Security Grant Program — is a simple program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats and emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.
The general aviation “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign is the second major expansion of the program since June, when Napolitano announced the initiative’s first phase, for surface transportation. In the coming months, DHS will continue to expand the campaign nationally with public education materials, advertisements and other outreach tools to continue engaging travelers, businesses, community organizations and public and private sector employees to remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping our country safe.
Additionally, DHS officials said they will streamline the process for pre-screening passengers and crews entering and exiting the United States on general aviation aircraft by allowing pilots and operators of general aviation flights to submit a single manifest to the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) online tool for submitting general aviation data.
This will fulfill both CBP reporting and TSA international waiver requirements, and promote a department-wide approach to maintaining robust general aviation security standards, according to Napolitano. DHS expects the streamlined system to take effect Sept. 1.
“We are encouraged to see TSA and CBP collaborating to streamline the process for our members and eliminate unnecessary paperwork and redundant procedures,” said Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President and CEO Craig Fuller. “This decision demonstrates their commitment to improving the efficiency of the system for all users, and we look forward to working with both agencies to identify additional opportunities for improvement.”
“Security has always been a top priority for the business aviation community, and these two new security enhancements reflect an understanding of how our industry operates, and also how government and industry can enhance security without sacrificing mobility,” said National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen.