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Aviation: Airport Security Control

Airport Operator Security Responsibilities

The business of securing a commercial airport is, ideally, a shared responsibility between the airport operator and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Before the September 11 attack, every aspect of airport security was the responsibility of the airport operator, except for passenger screening. Since, September 11, the boundaries for managing security among various regulators have become increasingly blurred. The TSA is clearly in charge of screening. This is done through the use of explosive detection systems that are able to detect any explosive substance that might be packed together with the baggage (Government Accountability Office, 2006). The responsibility for all other aspects of airport security remains with airport operators. These include;

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  • Appointing an airport security coordinator (ASC)
  • Managing access control to guard the security areas of the airport
  • Accessing or recognizing the system and the credentialing required for aviation employees (Government Accountability Office, 2007)
  • Developing the Airport Security Program

Basically, airport operator security focuses on protecting the airfield and aircraft through controlling access of the general public aviation employees while still permitting those passengers and employees to competently move through the facility. Even though the TSA provides regulatory supervision over airport security practices, it is the airport operator who must build up and put into practice approved security practices. The federal security director provides direction on systems, methods, and procedures by which the airport operators may fulfill the regulations and security directives. The airport operator conducts real hands-on security functions, such as access to the airfield, administration of the computerized access control system, law enforcement, and security perambulation, and response to emergencies (Government Accountability Office, 2007). Airport operator employees may also be selected within the Airport security Program to carry out system tests and inspections.

The Most Likely Form of Terrorist Attack

Today, the greatest security threat all over the world is that of terrorists using nuclear weapons. However, the probability of such an event occurring remains low but with the advancement in technology, we can never be sure of what will happen tomorrow. If it does occur, the consequences would be detrimental and world-altering. Keeping such a weapon out of reach of a terrorist should be given the utmost priority in all the agendas of the 21st century. It includes the key facts of global security. Leaders all over the world (especially those from the White House), the congress, and the community have realized the need of fighting against the use of nuclear weapons by terrorists. For instance, it is estimated that if a ten Kiloton nuclear weapon is used in the United States; it would kill thousands of people instantly and also destabilize the operations of the aviation industry (Walker, 1998). It would interfere with the global level of investing and spending (which has gone up) and it would take decades to recover. These effects would even be adverse if there is a threat of a second weapon being used in the same country or another.

The explosions that occurred in 1998 between Indian and Pakistani reopened the debate on the probability of nuclear weapons being used by terrorists. This was the first violent war to occur after the cold war. Propagation optimists argue that nuclear weapons have an alleviating effect in international and regional relations because they prevent predictable wars while pessimists challenge that claim. Pragmatist scholars elucidate the nuclear tests of May 1998 in security terms (Walker, 1998). The standard pragmatist elucidation is that the U.S needs nuclear weapons to dissuade the conventional and nuclear military threat coming from other parts of the world.

Reference List

Government Accountability Office, (2006). Aviation Security: TSA Oversight Of Checked Baggage Screening Procedures Could Be Strengthened. Web.

Government Accountability Office, (2007). Aviation Security: Efforts To Strengthen International Passenger Prescreening Are Under Way, But Planning And Implementation Issues Remain. Web.

Walker, W. (1998). International Nuclear Relations after the Indian and Pakistani Test Explosions. International Affairs 44 p. 518.

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