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A Risk Based Airport Security Policy

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Publication Date: May 2003

Publisher(s): Reason Foundation

Author(s): George Passantino; Robert W. Jr. Poole

Topic: Transportation (Air transport)

Type: Report


This report reviews the two key tools needed for a risk-based security model for U.S. airports. The first is a system for pre-clearing a subset of low-risk passengers, who can then receive expedited processing at airports. The current term for this is a Registered Traveler program. The second is a system for selecting out high-risk passengers for extra scrutiny. Our proposed Risk Screening System (RSS) would replace the current, flawed Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS).

The shift of TSA into a new Homeland Security Department offers a good opportunity to rethink the past year's over-emphasis on passenger airline security, at the expense of numerous other vulnerabilities in U.S. transportation, let alone other vital infrastructure. Shifting to a risk-based approach to airport security should be an integral part of that rethinking.