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In the 2 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the security of our nation's civil aviation system has assumed renewed urgency, and efforts to strengthen aviation security have received a great deal of congressional attention. On November 19, 2001, the Congress enacted the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), which created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) within the Department of Transportation (DOT) and defined its primary responsibility as ensuring security in aviation as well as in other modes of transportation. The Homeland Security Act, passed on November 25, 2002, transferred TSA to the new Department of Homeland Security, which assumed overall responsibility for aviation security. GAO was asked to describe the progress that has been made since September 11 to strengthen aviation security, the potential vulnerabilities that remain, and the longer-term management and organizational challenges to sustaining enhanced aviation security.

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