September 11, 2001, has left a deep imprint on the United States, and specifically, on airports around the country. After the catastrophe, airports stepped up and took drastic steps to guarantee that the level of security was at an all-time high. Lives have been saved and airport security experts have been trained all over the country to ensure that everyone who steps foot in an airport is protected. Unfortunately, we are still witnessing various incidents occurring at our nation’s airports. However, things are different now. It is difficult to get through airport security even with a bottle of water. These tough security measures have helped airlines avoid potential terrorist threats.
Having an assessment conducted on our airports should help TSA better ensure that it has comprehensively assessed vulnerabilities to commercial airports’ perimeter and access control security system-wide. Risk is the
combination of threat, vulnerability, and consequence. To understand risk, one must first seek to determine, understand and identify the threats to the aviation system. When there are insufficient or ineffective countermeasures to mitigate threats, this results in areas of vulnerability. The consequence is the direct and indirect impact if the threat is not adequately addressed.
We have had several incidents that have occurred over the past few months at US airports:
1. CLE airports – Airport security video captured a car driving back and forth on a road around the perimeter of the airport, but just inside the security fence. A police report shows that driver had been drinking. She later struck a plea deal in Cleveland City Court admitting to driving drunk.
2. At DAL airport, a man was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after police said he crashed through a side gate at Dallas Love Field and hit two private planes.
3. Lastly, one person is in custody after shooting themselves in the baggage claim area of Nashville International Airport.
According to a statement from Nashville BNA, on Sunday morning just after 7 a.m., an individual entered the baggage claim area of the airport with a firearm threatening to harm themselves.
Overall, security vulnerability assessments (SVA) can be challenging and resource-intensive. However, airport management can benefit greatly from SVAs in identifying threats, vulnerabilities, and risks to support informed decision-making and prioritize limited resources. Identifying and mitigating security gaps is critical to protecting airports
from malevolent threats. However, the SVA and mitigation process is often overlooked as a critical component of an effective security program.