Edgewood, Md.– Smiths Detection Inc. (SDI) President, Dan Gelston, today issued the following statement in response to a new report from the House Homeland Security Committee entitled, “America’s Airports: The Threat from Within.” This statement includes an announcement of a pilot project with Miami International Aiport on a first-of-its-kind airport employee screening project.
“This report provides further evidence for what experts have known for a long time, that despite employee background checks and access control measures at airports, the ‘insider threat’ remains one of the greatest threats to aviation. As a result, technology solutions must play a key role in addressing this issue. We commend U.S. Representative John Katco (NY-24), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Transportation and Protective Security Subcommittee, for releasing this important report.
“The report makes clear that only a two-pronged approach to combatting the ‘insider threat’ at airports – namely relying on people (background checks) and process (access control) — is leaving a dangerous gap in efforts to mitigate the threat. A truly comprehensive approach to preventing criminal and terrorist acts in airports must include threat detection technology solutions with multi-view X-ray and Explosives Trace Detection (ETD), paralleling those seen at passenger checkpoints around the world. Such non-intrusive screening technologies assure greater security without sacrificing speed, accuracy or efficiencies.
“The report also correctly notes that targeted screening, which relies on the right technology solutions with portable capabilities, offers airport operators increased visibility into threats in their facilities. Furthermore, it provides effective deterrence while supporting continued operational efficiency and minimizing costs.
“With over 40 years’ experience, Smiths Detection has insight into the security challenges of regulators, airlines and airport professionals and has helped them to prevent explosives, chemical weapons, guns and other contraband from getting onto airplanes and crossing borders. We look forward to using that experience to work with Congress and airport operators to help them make the critical security improvements called for in this report.”
Most recently, in a focused effort to assist U.S. airport operators with the myriad complexities associated with employee screening, SDI has partnered with Miami International Airport in a first-of-its-kind employee screening pilot project. The MIA pilot, launched in January of this year, deploys SDI’s latest capabilities in multi-view x-ray and explosive trace detection equipment placed in one of MIA’s industry-leading employee checkpoints. The pilot is designed to help develop a replicable concept of operations and demonstrate high-accuracy threat detection coupled with fast and efficient movement of employees through the screening experience.
“Over a decade ago, MIA made the commitment voluntarily to invest in employee screening absent any federal requirements because we felt it was the right thing to do,” said Emilio T. González, Miami-Dade Aviation Director. “We have renewed our commitment to this important component of airport crime-fighting and anti-terrorism by partnering with SDI in an effort to again raise the bar and demonstrate the art of the possible.”