The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano today outlined five recommendations it intends to move forward on in the wake of the December 25th attempted terrorist attack by the “Christmas bomber” against Flight 253:
- Re-evaluate and modify the criteria and process used to create terrorist watch lists—including adjusting the process by which names are added to the “No-Fly” and “Selectee” lists.
- Establish a partnership on aviation security between DHS and the Department of Energy and its National Laboratories in order to develop new and more effective technologies to deter and disrupt known threats and proactively anticipate and protect against new ways by which terrorists could seek to board an aircraft.
- Accelerate deployment of advanced imaging technology to provide greater explosives detection capabilities—and encourage foreign aviation security authorities to do the same—in order to identify materials such as those used in the attempted Dec. 25 attack. The Transportation Security Administration currently has 40 machines deployed throughout the United States, and plans to deploy at least 300 additional units in 2010.
- Strengthen the presence and capacity of aviation law enforcement—by deploying law enforcement officers from across DHS to serve as Federal Air Marshals to increase security aboard U.S.-bound flights.
- Work with international partners to strengthen international security measures and standards for aviation security.
Comment: Much of the focus in the aftermath of Flight 253 has been on intelligence failures; however it is DHS which is the line of defense even if intelligence fails, and these are important steps. It’s unfortunate that it took a complete meltdown of the system to prod these changes, but at least they’re in the works now.