Bush Gets 'Aggressive' with Airport Security

Nov. 20, 2001
The federal government takes charge of airport security and announces strict new measures designed to protect passengers and crew members.

For better or for worse, the federal government is now in charge of airport security.

President George W. Bush signed sweeping new aviation security legislation into law yesterday at Ronald Reagan National Airport. The legislation, passed by Congress last week, calls for more sky marshals on flights, federal oversight at screening stations, more hand searches of carryon baggage, and more computer-based prescreening of passengers.

"Today, we take permanent and aggressive steps to improve the security of our airways," said Bush. "The events of Sept. 11th were a call to action."

For the first time, airport security will become a direct federal responsibility. Airport security will now be overseen by a new Under Secretary of Transportation for Security. The government will provide additional funds for federal air marshals, and a new team of federal security managers, supervisors, law enforcement officers and screeners will ensure all passengers and carry-on bags are inspected thoroughly and effectively.

The new law also calls for strict new requirements to screen checked baggage, to tighten security in all other areas of airports, and to provide greater security for travelers by bus and train.

The bill sets a one-year deadline for the transition to the new system.

Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta said that he has begun a series of meetings with key stakeholders to map out a structure and schedule of "next steps."

Mineta revealed that the new federal agents hired to inspect passengers and screen baggage will not be permitted to strike, can be quickly removed if they neglect their work, and must be U.S. citizens.

"Safety remains our highest priority," said Mineta. "And when it comes to safety, we will set high standards - and we will enforce them."

by Sandy Smith

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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