October 07, 2019

KCM Update: Taking KCM Issues to the TSA Administrator

ALPA Members: 

Last week, I had a conversation with U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator David Pekoske and expressed my serious concern as well as the frustrations many of you are experiencing in accessing the Known Crewmember (KCM) program. At my request, Administrator Pekoske pledged to review the issues I raised and he committed to report on his findings to the ALPA Executive Board at its meeting later this month. 

During the conversation, I drew on Administrator Pekoske’s extensive background in counterterrorism, security, and intelligence to underscore the enormous value that the KCM program brings to risk-based aviation security. I’m pleased that ALPA was able to achieve a significant win a few weeks ago when the TSA scrapped its intended implementation of a KCM uniform requirement policy and replaced it with other, more reasonable measures. However, I’m certainly aware that current shortcomings, including those involving the electronic randomizer function, are compromising our ability to realize the KCM program’s full potential as an enhancement to the security and efficiency of air transportation.

As always, data helps us better understand the issues and make our case to government and industry organizations. If you’ve experienced a KCM checkpoint problem, I urge you to contact your MEC security chair or coordinator and ALPA’s Engineering and Air Safety Department (EAS@alpa.org, 800-424-2470). Thank you to those eligible pilots who have already submitted reports; we’re reviewing them carefully, and they are contributing to our efforts. Our Aviation Security Chair, Capt. Wolfgang Koch (DAL), has asked MEC security chairs and coordinators to inform your respective companies of the KCM issues you are seeing and urge them, as KCM-authorized participants, to help us fix these problems.

Let me be clear: ALPA leadership takes the issues with the KCM program extremely seriously. Together with Capt. Bob Fox, ALPA’s first vice president; Capt. Koch; the Air Safety Organization leaders; and our Engineering and Air Safety Department staff, we will build on my conversation with Administrator Pekoske and redouble our efforts to communicate our pilots’ views at all levels of the TSA.

In the context of the administrator’s stated commitment to raising the security baseline for aviation transportation through close partnerships and alliances, I also reminded him during our conversation of the security gains that have resulted from the TSA’s partnership with ALPA.

Like Administrator Pekoske, I also believe in the strength of alliances—and there’s no greater example of an alliance than this mighty union. ALPA pilots speak with one voice on aviation security and all issues that affect our profession. Together, I’m confident we will improve the KCM program by making certain it’s secure, accessible and efficient for our pilots flying the line.

In unity,

Capt. Joe DePete
ALPA President