Proactive Management of FAA's Security Program Needed

T-RCED-90-20: Published: Dec 18, 1989. Publicly Released: Dec 18, 1989.

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GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) policies and procedures for preventing criminal acts against aviation. GAO noted that reviews of FAA domestic and international security programs identified major deficiencies in: (1) passenger screening, with airlines widely varying in screening effectiveness and lacking clearly defined performance expectations; (2) airport security controls, with airlines not complying with FAA standards and FAA inadequately monitoring airports' compliance, resulting in easy access to areas that should be secured; (3) security inspections, which did not include procedures or guidance on the extent of testing or verification needed to ensure the adequacy of security features; and (4) airline training requirements for security personnel, with the quality of training varying widely among airlines. GAO also noted that, although FAA has taken several steps to improve its aviation security programs, it should also consider: (1) establishing a quality assurance program capable of providing proactive, routine, critical assessments of its security programs; and (2) working with foreign governments to identify emerging security issues, such as how to ensure that foreign air carriers provide adequate security for U.S. citizens travelling abroad.

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