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Fear of Flying.......The Government's Solution

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:06 pm    Post subject: Fear of Flying.......The Government's Solution
From Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:00 am to Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:59 am (included)
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Much is being made of the latest attempt of terrorism.

Once again the government is stating that all is well and that their security procedures that are in place are adequate.

What else do you expect them to say?

The fact of the matter is that if history has proven anything it is that our government has become almost 100% reactive and has become all about money.

Here is a little history lesson.

After 9/11 the government was in a panic but it was not solely related to terrorism.

Their major concern was not for the victims but a fear that law suits would bankrupt the airlines and send our economy into a nosedive.

To prevent this from happening the government did two things.

They created the Victims Compensation Fund to circumvent the lawsuits and in typical government fashion they created a new Agency the TSA to deal with transportation security.

Now they already had the Office of Homeland Security but that wasn’t good enough.

We needed this new Transportation Security Administration with a budget of over $1.3 billion and were told:

The events of September 11th underscore the importance of transportation security as part of America’s homeland security. There is a realization that protecting airports, bridges, highways, seaports, mass transportation, and the Nation’s transportation infrastructure in general is vital to protecting the Nation against acts of terrorism. During 2002, the Transportation Security Administration will become operational and the first steps towards an increased Federal role in transportation security will be taken. In 2003, TSA will continue implementing an aggressive, comprehensive aviation security program. The 2003 budget for TSA totals--the first full year of funding for the new agency--$4.8 billion, an increase of over $3.5 billion from current 2002 funding levels. The budget reflects estimated fee collections of $2.2 billion raised through a combination of passenger and air carrier fees authorized by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act.

Passenger Screening: Although TSA will take over the screener contracts in 2002, these contracts will be replaced by Federal screener personnel by November 19, 2002. As a result, the budget includes the costs of well over 30,000 airport security personnel, including screeners, law enforcement personnel, and screener supervisors.

Cargo Screening: Explosive detection systems must be in place to screen all checked baggage by December 31, 2002. The 2003 budget includes funding for equipment purchases, installation, and maintenance, more than three times the level of funds currently available in 2002.

Federal Air Marshals: The 2003 budget is the first year reflecting full funding of a greatly expanded Federal Air Marshal (FAM) program. The number of FAMs is classified information and, therefore, is not included in public documents. Following September 11th, law enforcement officers from other Government agencies were loaned to the Department of Transportation and trained as FAMs, which allowed the program to quickly expand. These loaned law enforcement personnel will be replaced before the end of 2002 with permanent FAM staff, and the number of FAMs significantly increased.

Transportation Network Security: Language is included in the 2003 budget that allows for the transfer of resources from the other modal budgets to the TSA budget, as necessary, to perform the security functions identified in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act. The resources currently residing in the other modal budgets are being identified and will, as appropriate, be transferred to TSA as soon as practical.

Here are a few things that the first audit of the TSA turned up.

There were serious questions raised about how over $300 million was spent by a firms contracted by the newly formed Transportation Security Administration.

$5.4 Million for 9 months salaries for executives of a firm that received a contract before it was incorporated and has subsequently gone out of business.

$8,100 for elevator operators at the Marriott Marquis Hotel

$125,000 rental fee for six magnetometers that could have been purchased for about $5,000 apiece

$4.4 Million for no show fees for exams not taken by potential candidates

$28,000 for coffee at the Sheraton Hotel in Reston

Now this audit took place in 2005 and as with most government audits we never found out if any of these items were addressed.

We also have not heard anything of subsequent audits.

What we have learned is that since 9/11 the TSA’s budget has ballooned to over $6 billion.

In 2009

• It devotes nearly $6 billion to the multi-layered, risk-based aviation security system.
o $3 billion for over 48,000 Transportation Security Officers and technologies to screen passengers and their baggage for weapons and explosives.
o $1.2 billion to recapitalize checked baggage screening devices and accelerate deployment of inline systems that will increase baggage throughput up to 300 percent. The Budget proposes a temporary, four-year surcharge in the passenger security fee of $0.50 per enplanement with a maximum increase of $1.00 per one-way trip. The additional fee collections of $426 million would be deposited in the Aviation Security Capital Fund to accelerate the deployment of optimal checked baggage screening systems and address the need to recapitalize existing equipment deployed immediately after September 11, 2001.
o $128 million for enhancements at passenger checkpoints to improve the detection of prohibited items, especially weapons and explosives, through the use of additional sensors, such as whole body imaging, liquid bottle scanners, automated explosive sampling, and cast and prosthesis scanners. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will continue to provide specialized training in the detection of suspicious behaviors, fraudulent documents, and improvised explosive devices.
o Nearly $100 million for air cargo security inspectors, canine teams, and the Certified Shipper Program to achieve 100-percent screening of passenger air cargo in 2010.
• Enhances security assessments. Funds security assessments on more than 2.4 million individuals in the Nation’s transportation system, including commercial HAZMAT drivers, airport and port workers, and international airline flight crews. In addition, TSA will continuously vet 13 million individuals who have already undergone a security assessment. These assessments will be based on terrorism and criminal information from the U.S. intelligence community and FBI databases. And, TSA will assume the watch list matching of over two million airline passengers daily with the implementation of Secure Flight.
• Addresses surface transportation vulnerabilities. $37 million for surface transportation security, including funding for nearly 100 inspectors to conduct risk-based assessments in the largest mass transit and rail systems.

Over $6 Billion and still a terrorist walks on a plane with explosives.

So what will happen now?

While the fear level is high the government will request additional funding.

Requirements will be written so that only certain companies will be able to be granted contracts.

We will hire more bureaucrats add more levels of government and spend, spend, spend.

But we will not adequately address any of the issues such as proper salaries and training for screeners.

It is almost impossible to separate salaries from technologies in the current budget.

We need to change that now.

We have an opportunity to change that now.

The government was reactive after 9/11 but for all the wrong reasons.

The government has been inactive since (except for spending)

We have a chance to be proactive moving forward.

And it starts with the basics.

Now there’s a real solution.
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