Aviation Security Forum Update — August 14, 2008

A Valuable Security Tool for Globe-Spanning ALPA Members
ALPA’s National Security Committee (NSC) director of information, First Officer Avery Bates (Atlas), provided AvSec attendees with a virtual walk-through of World Watch 6.0, an on-line resource that provides detailed information about security threats for more than 180 countries.

World Watch 6.0 features city and national histories, and charts current threat-level information. The program provides maps displaying high risk areas, discusses current events and activities, and is an excellent reference tool for any pilot looking for information about an international layover.

To access World Watch 6.0, log onto Crewroom.alpa.org, click on the Committees tab, and access the National Security Committee link. From there, click on the World Watch Global Security Info icon on the left side of the page.

Air Cargo Security Shortcomings
Air cargo poses additional security challenges as compared to its passenger operations counterpart, and yet, federal regulations covering air freight are less stringent. Capt. Bill McReynolds, NSC vice-chairman and chairman of the ALPA President’s Committee for Cargo, highlighted many of these deficiencies in his opening remarks as moderator of the Air Cargo Security Panel Discussion.

Why the difference in security regulation? “Boxes don’t vote,” said McReynolds, suggesting that cargo operations are separated from passenger terminals and there is less public pressure on the government to scrutinize air freight, despite its equal if not greater threat to public safety and security.

NSC chairman, Capt. Bob Hesselbein added, “You can measure the interest on (Capitol) Hill by the number of representatives and staff members attending related Congressional hearings.”

“Are you going to be a sheep or a sheepdog?” asked McReynolds rhetorically, emphasizing the need for member pressure on the government to take action. “We have to put the tools in the cockpit,”  he added, which will allow pilots to better “detect hostile intent.”

The panel and audience discussed a wide range of security matters including issues related to the events of 9/11, international security processes, the use of exit screening, and the limited dissemination of air cargo security directives.

Panelists included Capt. Billy Wilson, FedEx assistant chief pilot for Flight Operations Security; Capt. Rich Odbert (FedEx), chairman of the ALPA Jumpseat Committee; and First Officer Greg Bergner (ASTAR), NSC assistant director of operations.