In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the federal government has directed its focus towards national security by improving airport security nationwide by taking control and voting to improve airport security nationwide. Pre-September 11, airport security was the responsibility of either the individual airports that hired out security services to inconsistent, non-conforming, private companies, or airlines who's employees were in charge of checking in passengers, loading baggage, ordering fuel, checking weather, and coordinating all other aspect of the flight while providing customer service. These overworked, and under trained employees also worked to screen and board passengers. That system has now been abandoned and in its place the federal government has administered an progressively impenetrable and completely stanch system administered by the federal government. With the help of the federal government's efficiency, and budget, airport security is now organized and controlled under one umbrella, The Transportation Security Administration. This new agency handles all security at all airports nationwide. "Today, the administration of US President George W. Bush is trying to minimize the effects of a potential terrorist incident by improving homeland defenses and consequence management, spending US$35 billion on homeland defense programs." (Wirtz 75). The shift from private to federal control of airport security has led to improvements in three significant areas of airport security--employee training, technology, and standardized procedures. The transfer of airport security from the privatized system to the government-controlled system has been a positive move that will be safe and effective.
In November 2001, President Bush signed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) which created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as the new federal government agency in charge of airport security. TSA has been effective in standardizing airport security in numerous ways. With the TSA in charge, security is enhanced by the regulation of screening and bag check, along with more thorough passenger and employee background checks. Another benefit to TSA control is that it has defined, standardized, and controlled regulations, procedures, requirements, and specialized training. Prior to TSA's control, all policies and procedures were neither controlled nor regulated, let alone standardized across the country. Government agencies now share vital information about passengers and employees with airlines and airports. This includes crosschecks with the FBI and other watch lists. Availability of background checks for aviation employees are currently under way. The Transportation Department performs criminal background checks for some 750,000 airport employees.
TSA demands the same high standard of all airports, large and small. The new law requires inspections of all checked baggage with the use of X-rays, hand searches, sniffer-dogs, as well as, other technological systems already mentioned. By the end of 2002, the law mandates that all checked bags be inspected by explosives detection machines that are currently being installed in several airports all over the country. Prior to the new law, less than 10 percent of checked bags were inspected for bombs. Since its enactment, the law requires all screening operations to be handled by a uniformed, federal worker with the proper license. Airlines will be responsible for matching checked luggage with passengers on connecting flights. Currently under federal law, all checked bags must be screened for explosives. Baggage will not be loaded on a plane unless the passenger also boards. If a passenger changes planes, the airline is not required to check baggage if the traveler boards the second flight before loading baggage.
Currently in the process of negotiations, additional proposals to airport security...