Bersin Shares Security Vision With Aviation Executives
Securing aviation demands collaboration, imagination and diligence from government and private-sector partners, explained U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin at a conference of airport and industry security executives today.
CBP and the Transportation Safety Administration are working with the aviation industry to "co-create" a new set of rules that will "reflect as never before an industry perspective so we can genuinely partner and create this future together," Bersin told the 300 attendees at the American Association of Airport Executives Aviation Security Summit in Arlington, Va.
Speaking on a panel with TSA Administrator John Pistole, hosted by AAAE President Chip Barclay, Bersin underscored that the DHS security systems are moving toward "a more expedited, harmonized approach that will keep governmental agencies from imposing differing and contrasting requirements" on the aviation industry.
To facilitate the flow of passengers and cargo, however, requires travelers and businesses to volunteer details about themselves with federal agencies, which use the safeguarded information to vet individuals and entities for security risk. Those who present less risk receive expedited service. However, "we as Americans don't like to share information with the government," noted Bersin. "It's kind of built into our DNA from the 18th century. I think in the 21st century we have to rethink that bargain."
With the harmonization of security systems "one can imagine a brand of trusted traveler/trusted shipper that would apply across the U.S. government," said Bersin. Going even further to harmonize systems with international governments will enable the growth of Global Entry, CBP's program allowing expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk U.S. travelers upon their arrival home. "We intend to multiply our foreign partnerships," said Bersin, "expanding a web of trust and confidence."
CBP is moving aggressively to reduce air passenger and cargo wait times, Bersin said. He stated his intention over the next two years to move Global Entry "into virtually every airport in America that has international flights."
He also affirmed that CBP is "working hard to implement a standard of wait times and keep them at a manageable level." He asked for the industry's support for a move to a congressional appropriation to fund airport staffing needs.
Following Bersin's remarks, one conference attendee-a sales executive for a transportation systems company who asked not to be named-said he appreciated the commissioner's willingness to really listen to and address private sector concerns. "I'm very impressed," he said, with Bersin's positions and the direction in which CBP is headed-and he said he made a note to sign up for Global Entry.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.