Airport security could soon start at the kerb, says TSA boss

Airport security could soon start at the kerb, says TSA boss

The nation’s aviation security forces must shift their focus away from checkpoints and toward public areas of airports to adapt to a changing threat exemplified by a spate of recent attacks, the agency’s new chief said.

David Pekoske, a former vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard who took control of the Transportation Security Administration seven months ago, also called for the agency to become more entrepreneurial and to adapt faster to the shifting risks from terrorists.

"We can no longer focus only on preventing the bad guys from getting into the secure area of an airport," Pekoske said in prepared remarks for what was billed as the first ever state-of-the-TSA address on Wednesday in Washington.

"More and more we must focus on both sides of the checkpoint and in the public areas where airport and surface transportation systems intersect."

Shifting checks to public areas

Since the TSA and other countries’ security agencies have beefed up airport screening following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, terrorists have increasingly turned to areas where people aren’t screened, such as baggage-collection zones or check-in areas.

Twin attacks in Brussels airport and train station locations in March 2016 using that tactic killed 32 people and three attackers.

"We face ambitious adversaries who are continuously looking for a point of attack and waiting for their opportunity," Pekoske said. "Our job is to make sure they never have that opportunity."

The administrator’s speech was short on specifics and contained no new screening protocols.

The TSA leader said the agency needed to "empower the public to see themselves as part of the security solution and as recipients of a secure system." He said he was trying to get TSA to assess threats and to alter security strategies faster.

While he stopped short of calling for what could be a multibillion-dollar investment in new X-ray devices that see bags in three dimensions, he said his goal was to get screeners better tools.

"Aviation and surface transportation hubs remain highly prized targets for terrorists," he said. "Their modes and methods of attack have evolved and become much more decentralized and opportunistic than ever before."



  • Simon Coveney


    9 Mar, 2018 12:27 am

    I am all for this. With the rise and rise of Islamist terror attacks both in the United States and abroad, constant vigilance is an unfortunate necessity.
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  • Flying Fish


    9 Mar, 2018 01:25 am

    Do you realise that most of the terror attacks in the USA are not perpetrated by Islamic extremists?
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  • cbourl


    9 Mar, 2018 10:00 am

    I personally like Tel Aviv Ben Gurion security - many multi-layers of polite security.

    Security starts kilometres away from the airport with barriers to get anywhere near the airport -staffed with lots of friendly soldiers and machine guns. Vehicle and passport inspections as required (I self-drive and just get waved through, but Ive seen lots of people stopped, vehicle and passport insepctions You are then subject to being stopped later before you enter the Terminal - Ive never been stopped. Everyone then has security interviews before checkin.

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  • xtfer


    9 Mar, 2018 08:51 pm

    It's all very well reprinting news from other services, but "the nation" in this case, is a different one, and the article lacks substance.
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  • Dredgy


    9 Mar, 2018 11:29 pm

    So there's lots of airports in the world where they do this, and it mostly sucks. From a comfort point of view, it's irritating if you want to get a meal or coffee before going to security, but from a safety point of view it just puts people into an even more vulnerable airport.

    I've had people attempt to rob me at two airports on the kerb (once at DEL, once at PBM), had similar incidents at FRU and NKC as well. If you have a night flight in a strange city, you want to be indoors.
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  • aggie57


    10 Mar, 2018 06:31 am

    Isn't this just a sad reflection of the world we live in at present. This week I saw security scanners being touted for shopping malls, we have presidents talking up arming teachers, pretty soon we'll have scanners at our front doors connected to police systems so they can assess 'risk' every time someone - anyone - leaves their house.
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  • Esteban McArlington


    10 Mar, 2018 02:35 pm

    And yet most terrorist attacks in the US are commited by American citizens who have easy access to guns.
    But that's not a problem, right?
    Let's all instead plant fear about some " evil enemy" that is somewhere in the world waiting to attack ( or may not) our freedom.
    Fear. Fear. Fear.
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  • tronixstuff


    10 Mar, 2018 04:08 pm

    It would keep the guests out of the lounges :)
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  • David Henshall

    Red Cee

    10 Mar, 2018 06:35 pm

    Just to walk into an airport or shopping mall in many Middle Eastern countries you go through the FIRST metal detector. You place your case on the conveyor belt, where it is scanned. You then check in your luggage,and go through the SECOND metal detector. Sometimes, there are three. Very inconvenient and painfull.
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  • Lala295


    12 Mar, 2018 10:56 am

    I like the Chinese style metal sector and bag x-ray to enter the airport, then regular security after passport control.
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  • David Henshall

    Red Cee

    13 Mar, 2018 06:51 pm

    Lala295, I think the less security the better. That’s why I like to avoid Singapore at all costs. Multiple layers of security is what they do at Middle Eastern airports, and they are a grave inconvenience. I question how necessary these multiple layers are, as if they don’t catch any problems at the first checkpoint, they aren’t doing there job properly.
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  • Robert Heath


    14 Mar, 2018 03:02 pm

    I came thru Changi Yesterday! Painless with iphone Boarding Pass! Security Yes! But Fast and Efficient is What i Found!
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21 Mar, 2018 02:48 am

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