The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is seeking comment on its process for airport operators to request the TSA assume control of passenger and luggage screenings.
On Dec. 15, 2010, the TSA posted a Federal Register notice—Intent To Request Approval From OMB of One New Public Collection of Information: Airport Federalization—seeking comment on the process airport officials have to follow to request TSA conduct the screenings.
When TSA directly conducts passenger and luggage screening, the airport is “federalized,” according to the agency. For an airport to be federalized, airport operators have to file a “statement of interest” (SOI) and a “federalization request letter” (FRL) requesting TSA conduct passenger and baggage screening services.
The FRL is a formal request submitted to a local TSA “federal security director” (FSD), while the SOI is an accompanying document attached to the FSD that provides additional information TSA uses evaluate the request and to begin the federalization process, the agency says. The information in the SOI includes the background of the requesting airport; the current status of regularly scheduled passenger or public charter air services; the types of aircraft expected; and the planned flight schedules of passenger flights or of public charter air services.
The TSA uses the information to “identify the security needs and planning activities” of a requesting airport, as well as evaluate the airport operator’s request to determine whether the airport warrants federalization. If an airport is federalized, it must develop a complete airport security program that must be approved by the FSD prior to commencing commercial flight operations as a federalized airport, says the TSA, which receives approximately 10 federalization requests per year.
The TSA is soliciting comments on the collection of data for the SOI from airport operators. Specifically, TSA wants comments the “evaluate”: Whether the proposed information requirement is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility.
The accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden.
The quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected.
The burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including using appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.
The deadline for comments is Feb. 14, 2011. Comments may be e-mailed to TSAPRA@dhs.gov or delivered to the TSA PRA Officer, Office of Information Technology (OIT), TSA-11, Transportation Security Administration, 601 South 12th Street, Arlington, VA 20598-6011.
TSA Urged to Increase ‘Opt-Out’ of Federal Screening by Airports
The provision “protects and strengthens the rights of airports to select the security screening model in which certified private operators provide screening under federal standards and oversight.”