Assessing terrorist risk and planning based on that assessment is the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA's) main goal and main challenge, the recently installed head of that agency told a gathering of aviation leaders in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
Speaking to the Aero Club of Washington, Kip Hawley, the Department of Homeland Security's Assistant Secretary for TSA, told the gathering that determining terrorist risk is unlike traditional risk assessment because terrorism by its nature is not easily predictable.
But he said one of the keys to enhancing security is public awareness and involvement - exactly the goal of AOPA's Airport Watch program. Hawley called such an effort a significant, effective, low-cost improvement. "An energized population can in and of itself enhance security," he said.
He also discussed some of the lessons learned from London authorities following the second public transport bombing earlier this year. Hawley said authorities there were prepared and know what to look for, yet the bombers were still able to initiate the attack, even if the bombs failed to detonate properly. The incident showed, Hawley said, that "you can do everything right and still might not be able to stop the attack."
During a question-and-answer period following Hawley's remarks, several luncheon guests commented approvingly of the TSA's risk assessment analysis.
September 27, 2005