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 Home > News & Policies > September 2001

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 27, 2001

Enhancing Aviation Safety & Security

Expanded Federal Air Marshal Program:

Since September 11, the U.S. government has been steadily increasing the number of Federal Air Marshals using law enforcement officers loaned from various federal agencies. The President will continue to expand the Air Marshal program and seek congressional approval to make this expansion permanent. The requirements and qualifications of Federal Air Marshals are among the most stringent of any U.S. federal law enforcement agency.

Federal Grant Program to Strengthen Aircraft Security:

Effective October 1, 2001, a fund of $500 million will be established to finance aircraft modifications to delay or deny access to the cockpit. Funding may be provided through grants or cost sharing arrangements and will be used for a number of projects, including to develop and implement means to:

  • Restrict opening of the cockpit door during flight;
  • Fortify cockpit doors to deny access from the cabin to the pilots in the cockpit;
  • Alert the cockpit crew to activity in the cabin; and
  • Ensure continuous operation of the aircraft transponder in the event the crew faces an emergency.

Federal Management of Airport Security Services:

The President will work with Congress to put the federal government in charge of airport security and screening services.

The new security will be performed by a combination of federal and non-federal workforce, with federal uniformed personnel managing all operations and maintaining a visible presence at all commercial airports.

The federal government will:

  • Establish new standards for security operations.
  • Supervise the passenger and baggage security at the 420 commercial passenger airports nationwide.
  • Perform intensive background checks and train and test screeners and security personnel.
  • Purchase and maintain all equipment.
  • Oversee patrolling of secure areas and monitoring of the quality of the airport’s access controls.
  • Work with other law enforcement authorities at the federal, state and local levels as well as serve as a key facilitator of coordination regarding homeland security.

Immediate Airport Security Measures:

Fully implementing the extensive security proposal may take four to six months. During that time, the President will help ensure that every airport has a strong security presence by asking the Governors of the 50 States to call up the National Guard – at the federal government’s expense – to augment existing security staff at every commercial airport nationwide.

Prior to deployment the National Guard personnel will receive training in airport security techniques from the FAA.