Every anniversary of the 9/11 attack often prompts an analysis of what has been done so far to ensure air travel security in the United States. Since then the country has spent up to one hundred billion dollars to secure airplanes and airports with immediate responses being geared towards the development of a security manifesto, creation of the transportation security administration and airports closing any gaps that would have resulted in such an event occurring again. The TSA may have recorded its failures and misfires over the years, but it is evident that a similar event to 9/11 has so far not occurred. Numerous security measures can be credited for the safety that is now characteristic of airplanes and airports, with the government and airports playing different roles.
One success is that the cockpit is often sealed off where the pilots remain behind impregnable doors during the duration of the flight. They work in conjunction with flight attendants who ensure that it is secure even when the pilot takes a restroom break. By the time 9/11 was occurring, the air marshal security had dwindled to a minuscule number of almost less than one hundred. Though the number has eventually increased to more than five thousand air marshals, the program encounters high attrition and low morale. The pilots, under the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, have the permission to carry guns with the appropriate training. The long-term aim post 9/11 was to gather better intelligence and develop better screening techniques that would be useful in separating travelers who were known and those who may have warranted more scrutiny. The aim was the development of a known traveler program where travelers who easily volunteered to background checks would get expedited treatment. Despite the program taking route slowly, the TSA under its three-year-old PreCheck program has registered more than three million individuals. The global entry fast-track screening for arriving passengers developed and executed by the customs and border protection has also been critical in showing the TSA how travelers can submit to a background check without feeling that their privacy is invaded.
Another bold step has been the professionalizing and federalizing of the screener workforce in the united states. At the point of the 9/11 event, fewer than twenty thousand airport screeners who were poorly-trained and on minimum-wage contracts were present in airports across the country. They became an entry point for terrorists and hijackers who took advantage of their under training and lack of job motivation. A fast response to the attack was the government taking security responsibilities at the airports and in airplanes from the airlines and taking charge. There are currently more than forty thousand screeners employed by the federal government and represented by a union.
Over the years, the government has put measures in place to ensure airline and airport security, but with the changing technology and many other aspects that surround terrorism, it is clear that a lot more needs to be done. One is the development and adaptation of better detection equipment to help identify liquid explosives and other dangerous materials brought to airports. Better detection equipment needs to be at par with the changing technology and incorporate current techniques terrorists may try to use. Airplanes may also consider using double doors for ensured protection of the cockpit just like Boeing and Airbus and working towards. The TSA also needs to meet its goal of twenty-five million individuals enrolled in their PreCheck program to ensure that the known traveler profile increases. All these and much more will be effective in the continued assurance of security in airplanes and airports.
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