Bennie G. Thompson
The very people who oversee policy for the Department of Homeland Security and the FAA are firing serious questions at the DHS about the necessity of the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). That's because AOPA has taken its fight against the ADIZ to Capitol Hill.
Ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security Bennie G. Thompson wrote DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff on June 22 requesting answers: "In light of the improvements to the security of the airspace surrounding our nation's capital, I would like to know whether the department has assessed whether the ADIZ is still necessary today."
"The Committee on Homeland Security has oversight responsibility over the DHS - they can't get around this," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government affairs. "They have to provide answers to the people they answer to every day. It is important that Congress hold the DHS accountable and demand the elimination or modification of the ADIZ."
Several members of Congress already have contacted the DHS - wanting to know the department's involvement in the implementation of the ADIZ, its role in the rulemaking effort to make the ADIZ permanent, and what less burdensome alternatives are available.
The ADIZ was hastily imposed in February 2003 as a "temporary" measure. More than three years later, it is still in effect, and the FAA wants to make it permanent. But the ADIZ requirements are causing an unsafe flight environment for pilots.
"Has the department done any risk-based analysis on whether the ADIZ needs to be maintained and whether there are alternative, less burdensome approaches to securing the [National Capital Region's] airspace?" Thompson asked.
He also requested the DHS provide him with an analysis of that data. And if the department hasn't done any studies on the future of the ADIZ and possible alternatives, they will have some explaining to do:
"If not, please explain why no such plan has been developed," Thompson concluded.
June 27, 2006