Air transportation security
In this section:
Administrator.—The term “Administrator” means the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration.
Law enforcement personnel.—
The term “law enforcement personnel” means individuals—
(A) authorized to carry and use firearms;
(B) vested with the degree of the police power of arrest the Administrator considers necessary to carry out this section; and
(C) identifiable by appropriate indicia of authority.
Protection Against Violence and Piracy.—
The Administrator shall prescribe regulations to protect passengers and property on an aircraft operating in air transportation or intrastate air transportation against an act of criminal violence or aircraft piracy. When prescribing a regulation under this subsection, the Administrator shall—
(1) consult with the Secretary of Transportation, the Attorney General, the heads of other departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States Government, and State and local authorities;
consider whether a proposed regulation is consistent with—
(A) protecting passengers; and
(B) the public interest in promoting air transportation and intrastate air transportation;
to the maximum extent practicable, require a uniform procedure for searching and detaining passengers and property to ensure—
(A) their safety; and
(B) courteous and efficient treatment by an air carrier, an agent or employee of an air carrier, and Government, State, and local law enforcement personnel carrying out this section; and
(4) consider the extent to which a proposed regulation will carry out this section.
(1) The Administrator shall prescribe regulations under subsection (b) of this section that require each operator of an airport regularly serving an air carrier holding a certificate issued by the Secretary of Transportation to establish an air transportation security program that provides a law enforcement presence and capability at each of those airports that is adequate to ensure the safety of passengers. The regulations shall authorize the operator to use the services of qualified State, local, and private law enforcement personnel. When the Administrator decides, after being notified by an operator in the form the Administrator prescribes, that not enough qualified State, local, and private law enforcement personnel are available to carry out subsection (b), the Administrator may authorize the operator to use, on a reimbursable basis, personnel employed by the Administrator, or by another department, agency, or instrumentality of the Government with the consent of the head of the department, agency, or instrumentality, to supplement State, local, and private law enforcement personnel. When deciding whether additional personnel are needed, the Administrator shall consider the number of passengers boarded at the airport, the extent of anticipated risk of criminal violence or aircraft piracy at the airport or to the air carrier aircraft operations at the airport, and the availability of qualified State or local law enforcement personnel at the airport.
The Administrator may approve a security program of an airport operator, or an amendment in an existing program, that incorporates a security program of an airport tenant (except an air carrier separately complying with part 108 or 129 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations) having access to a secured area of the airport, if the program or amendment incorporates—
(i) the measures the tenant will use, within the tenant’s leased areas or areas designated for the tenant’s exclusive use under an agreement with the airport operator, to carry out the security requirements imposed by the Administrator on the airport operator under the access control system requirements of section 107.14 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, or under other requirements of part 107 of title 14; and
(ii) the methods the airport operator will use to monitor and audit the tenant’s compliance with the security requirements and provides that the tenant will be required to pay monetary penalties to the airport operator if the tenant fails to carry out a security requirement under a contractual provision or requirement imposed by the airport operator.
(B) If the Administrator approves a program or amendment described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the airport operator may not be found to be in violation of a requirement of this subsection or subsection (b) of this section when the airport operator demonstrates that the tenant or an employee, permittee, or invitee of the tenant is responsible for the violation and that the airport operator has complied with all measures in its security program for securing compliance with its security program by the tenant.
Maximum use of chemical and biological weapon detection equipment.—The Secretary of Transportation may require airports to maximize the use of technology and equipment that is designed to detect or neutralize potential chemical or biological weapons.
Pilot programs.—The Administrator shall establish pilot programs in no fewer than 20 airports to test and evaluate new and emerging technology for providing access control and other security protections for closed or secure areas of the airports. Such technology may include biometric or other technology that ensures only authorized access to secure areas.
Authorizing Individuals To Carry Firearms and Make Arrests.—
With the approval of the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, the Administrator may authorize an individual who carries out air transportation security duties—
(1) to carry firearms; and
(2) to make arrests without warrant for an offense against the United States committed in the presence of the individual or for a felony under the laws of the United States, if the individual reasonably believes the individual to be arrested has committed or is committing a felony.
Exclusive Responsibility Over Passenger Safety.—The Administrator has the exclusive responsibility to direct law enforcement activity related to the safety of passengers on an aircraft involved in an offense under section 46502 of this title from the moment all external doors of the aircraft are closed following boarding until those doors are opened to allow passengers to leave the aircraft. When requested by the Administrator, other departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Government shall provide assistance necessary to carry out this subsection.
Government and Industry Consortia.—The Administrator may establish at airports such consortia of government and aviation industry representatives as the Administrator may designate to provide advice on matters related to aviation security and safety. Such consortia shall not be considered Federal advisory committees for purposes of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).
Improvement of Secured-Area Access Control.—
Administrator to publish sanctions.—The Administrator shall publish in the Federal Register a list of sanctions for use as guidelines in the discipline of employees for infractions of airport access control requirements. The guidelines shall incorporate a progressive disciplinary approach that relates proposed sanctions to the severity or recurring nature of the infraction and shall include measures such as remedial training, suspension from security-related duties, suspension from all duties without pay, and termination of employment.
Use of sanctions.—Each airport operator, air carrier, and security screening company shall include the list of sanctions published by the Administrator in its security program. The security program shall include a process for taking prompt disciplinary action against an employee who commits an infraction of airport access control requirements.
The Administrator shall—
(A) work with airport operators and air carriers to implement and strengthen existing controls to eliminate airport access control weaknesses;
(B) require airport operators and air carriers to develop and implement comprehensive and recurring training programs that teach employees their roles in airport security, the importance of their participation, how their performance will be evaluated, and what action will be taken if they fail to perform;
(C) require airport operators and air carriers to develop and implement programs that foster and reward compliance with airport access control requirements and discourage and penalize noncompliance in accordance with guidelines issued by the Administrator to measure employee compliance;
(D) on an ongoing basis, assess and test for compliance with access control requirements, report annually findings of the assessments, and assess the effectiveness of penalties in ensuring compliance with security procedures and take any other appropriate enforcement actions when noncompliance is found;
(E) improve and better administer the Administrator’s security database to ensure its efficiency, reliability, and usefulness for identification of systemic problems and allocation of resources;
(F) improve the execution of the Administrator’s quality control program; and
(G) work with airport operators to strengthen access control points in secured areas (including air traffic control operations areas, maintenance areas, crew lounges, baggage handling areas, concessions, and catering delivery areas) to ensure the security of passengers and aircraft and consider the deployment of biometric or similar technologies that identify individuals based on unique personal characteristics.
Improved Airport Perimeter Access Security.—
In general.—The Administrator, in consultation with the airport operator and law enforcement authorities, may order the deployment of such personnel at any secure area of the airport as necessary to counter the risk of criminal violence, the risk of aircraft piracy at the airport, the risk to air carrier aircraft operations at the airport, or to meet national security concerns.
Security of aircraft and ground access to secure areas.—In determining where to deploy such personnel, the Administrator shall consider the physical security needs of air traffic control facilities, parked aircraft, aircraft servicing equipment, aircraft supplies (including fuel), automobile parking facilities within airport perimeters or adjacent to secured facilities, and access and transition areas at airports served by other means of ground or water transportation.
Deployment of federal law enforcement personnel.—The Secretary of Homeland Security may enter into a memorandum of understanding or other agreement with the Attorney General or the head of any other appropriate Federal law enforcement agency to deploy Federal law enforcement personnel at an airport in order to meet aviation safety and security concerns.
Airport perimeter screening.—
(A) shall require screening or inspection of all individuals, goods, property, vehicles, and other equipment before entry into a secured area of an airport in the United States described in section 44903(c); 1
1 So in original. Probably should be “subsection (c)”.
(B) shall prescribe specific requirements for such screening and inspection that will assure at least the same level of protection as will result from screening of passengers and their baggage;
shall establish procedures to ensure the safety and integrity of—
(i) all persons providing services with respect to aircraft providing passenger air transportation or intrastate air transportation and facilities of such persons at an airport in the United States described in subsection (c);
(ii) all supplies, including catering and passenger amenities, placed aboard such aircraft, including the sealing of supplies to ensure easy visual detection of tampering; and
(iii) all persons providing such supplies and facilities of such persons;
(D) shall require vendors having direct access to the airfield and aircraft to develop security programs; and
(E) shall issue guidance for the use of biometric or other technology that positively verifies the identity of each employee and law enforcement officer who enters a secure area of an airport.
Use of biometric technology in airport access control systems.—
In issuing guidance under paragraph (4)(E), the Administrator in consultation with representatives of the aviation industry, the biometric identifier industry, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, shall establish, at a minimum—
(A) comprehensive technical and operational system requirements and performance standards for the use of biometric identifier technology in airport access control systems (including airport perimeter access control systems) to ensure that the biometric identifier systems are effective, reliable, and secure;
(B) a list of products and vendors that meet the requirements and standards set forth in subparagraph (A);
procedures for implementing biometric identifier systems—
(i) to ensure that individuals do not use an assumed identity to enroll in a biometric identifier system; and
(ii) to resolve failures to enroll, false matches, and false non-matches; and
Use of biometric technology for armed law enforcement travel.—
The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall—
(i) implement this paragraph by publication in the Federal Register; and
(ii) establish a national registered armed law enforcement program, that shall be federally managed, for law enforcement officers needing to be armed when traveling by commercial aircraft.
The program shall—
(i) establish a credential or a system that incorporates biometric technology and other applicable technologies;
(ii) establish a system for law enforcement officers who need to be armed when traveling by commercial aircraft on a regular basis and for those who need to be armed during temporary travel assignments;
(iii) comply with other uniform credentialing initiatives, including the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12;
(iv) apply to all Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial government law enforcement agencies; and
(v) establish a process by which the travel credential or system may be used to verify the identity, using biometric technology, of a Federal, State, local, tribal, or territorial law enforcement officer seeking to carry a weapon on board a commercial aircraft, without unnecessarily disclosing to the public that the individual is a law enforcement officer.
In establishing the program, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall develop procedures—
(i) to ensure that a law enforcement officer of a Federal, State, local, tribal, or territorial government flying armed has a specific reason for flying armed and the reason is within the scope of the duties of such officer;
(ii) to preserve the anonymity of the armed law enforcement officer;
(iii) to resolve failures to enroll, false matches, and false nonmatches relating to the use of the law enforcement travel credential or system;
(iv) to determine the method of issuance of the biometric credential to law enforcement officers needing to be armed when traveling by commercial aircraft;
(v) to invalidate any law enforcement travel credential or system that is lost, stolen, or no longer authorized for use;
(vi) to coordinate the program with the Federal Air Marshal Service, including the force multiplier program of the Service; and
(vii) to implement a phased approach to launching the program, addressing the immediate needs of the relevant Federal agent population before expanding to other law enforcement populations.
In this subsection, the following definitions apply:
Biometric identifier information.—The term “biometric identifier information” means the distinct physical or behavioral characteristics of an individual that are used for unique identification, or verification of the identity, of an individual.
Biometric identifier.—The term “biometric identifier” means a technology that enables the automated identification, or verification of the identity, of an individual based on biometric information.
Failure to enroll.—The term “failure to enroll” means the inability of an individual to enroll in a biometric identifier system due to an insufficiently distinctive biometric sample, the lack of a body part necessary to provide the biometric sample, a system design that makes it difficult to provide consistent biometric identifier information, or other factors.
False match.—The term “false match” means the incorrect matching of one individual’s biometric identifier information to another individual’s biometric identifier information by a biometric identifier system.
False non-match.—The term “false non-match” means the rejection of a valid identity by a biometric identifier system.
Secure area of an airport.—The term “secure area of an airport” means the sterile area and the Secure Identification Display Area of an airport (as such terms are defined in section 1540.5 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor regulation to such section).
Authority to Arm Flight Deck Crew With Less-Than-Lethal Weapons.—
In general.—If the Administrator, after receiving the recommendations of the National Institute of Justice, determines, with the approval of the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, that it is appropriate and necessary and would effectively serve the public interest in avoiding air piracy, the Administrator may authorize members of the flight deck crew on any aircraft providing air transportation or intrastate air transportation to carry a less-than-lethal weapon while the aircraft is engaged in providing such transportation.
If the Administrator grants authority under paragraph (1) for flight deck crew members to carry a less-than-lethal weapon while engaged in providing air transportation or intrastate air transportation, the Administrator shall—
(A) prescribe rules requiring that any such crew member be trained in the proper use of the weapon; and
(B) prescribe guidelines setting forth the circumstances under which such weapons may be used.
Request of air carriers to use less-than-lethal weapons.—If the Administrator receives a request from an air carrier for authorization to allow pilots of the air carrier to carry less-than-lethal weapons, the Administrator shall respond to that request within 90 days.
Short-Term Assessment and Deployment of Emerging Security Technologies and Procedures.—
In general.—The Administrator shall periodically recommend to airport operators commercially available measures or procedures to prevent access to secure airport areas by unauthorized persons.
Secure flight program.—
The Administrator shall ensure that the Secure Flight program, or any successor program—
(i) is used to evaluate all passengers before they board an aircraft; and
(ii) includes procedures to ensure that individuals selected by the program and their carry-on and checked baggage are adequately screened.
The Administrator may modify any requirement under the Secure Flight program for flights that originate and terminate within the same State, if the Administrator determines that—
(i) the State has extraordinary air transportation needs or concerns due to its isolation and dependence on air transportation; and
(ii) the routine characteristics of passengers, given the nature of the market, regularly triggers primary selectee status.
Advanced airline passenger prescreening.—
Commencement of testing.—The Administrator shall commence testing of an advanced passenger prescreening system that will allow the Department of Homeland Security to assume the performance of comparing passenger information, as defined by the Administrator, to the automatic selectee and no fly lists, utilizing all appropriate records in the consolidated and integrated terrorist watchlist maintained by the Federal Government.
Assumption of function.—The Administrator, or the designee of the Administrator, shall begin to assume the performance of the passenger prescreening function of comparing passenger information to the automatic selectee and no fly lists and utilize all appropriate records in the consolidated and integrated terrorist watchlist maintained by the Federal Government in performing that function.
In assuming performance of the function under clause (ii), the Administrator shall—(I) establish a procedure to enable airline passengers, who are delayed or prohibited from boarding a flight because the advanced passenger prescreening system determined that they might pose a security threat, to appeal such determination and correct information contained in the system;(II) ensure that Federal Government databases that will be used to establish the identity of a passenger under the system will not produce a large number of false positives;(III) establish an internal oversight board to oversee and monitor the manner in which the system is being implemented;(IV) establish sufficient operational safeguards to reduce the opportunities for abuse;(V) implement substantial security measures to protect the system from unauthorized access;(VI) adopt policies establishing effective oversight of the use and operation of the system; and(VII) ensure that there are no specific privacy concerns with the technological architecture of the system.
After the completion of the testing of the advanced passenger prescreening system, the Administrator, by order or interim final rule—(I) shall require air carriers to supply to the Administrator the passenger information needed to begin implementing the advanced passenger prescreening system; and(II) shall require entities that provide systems and services to air carriers in the operation of air carrier reservations systems to provide to air carriers passenger information in possession of such entities, but only to the extent necessary to comply with subclause (I).
Inclusion of detainees on no fly list.—The Administrator, in coordination with the Terrorist Screening Center, shall include on the No Fly List any individual who was a detainee held at the Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unless the President certifies in writing to Congress that the detainee poses no threat to the United States, its citizens, or its allies. For purposes of this clause, the term “detainee” means an individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States as a result of armed conflict.
Screening of employees against watchlist.—
The Administrator, in coordination with the Secretary of Transportation and the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, shall ensure that individuals are screened against all appropriate records in the consolidated and integrated terrorist watchlist maintained by the Federal Government before—
(i) being certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration;
(ii) being granted unescorted access to the secure area of an airport; or
(iii) being granted unescorted access to the air operations area (as defined in section 1540.5 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor regulation to such section) of an airport.
Aircraft charter customer and lessee prescreening.—
(I) request the Department of Homeland Security to use the advanced passenger prescreening system to compare information about any individual seeking to charter an aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight greater than 12,500 pounds, any passenger proposed to be transported aboard such aircraft, and any individual seeking to lease an aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight greater than 12,500 pounds to the automatic selectee and no fly lists, utilizing all appropriate records in the consolidated and integrated terrorist watchlist maintained by the Federal Government; and(II) refuse to charter or lease an aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight greater than 12,500 pounds to or transport aboard such aircraft any persons identified on such watch list.
The Administrator Administrator 2
2 So in original.
shall establish a process by which operators of aircraft to be used in charter air transportation with a maximum takeoff weight greater than 12,500 pounds and lessors of aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight greater than 12,500 pounds may—
Requirements.—The requirements of subparagraph (C)(iii) shall apply to this subparagraph.
No fly and automatic selectee lists.—The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Terrorist Screening Center, shall design and review, as necessary, guidelines, policies, and operating procedures for the collection, removal, and updating of data maintained, or to be maintained, in the no fly and automatic selectee lists.
Applicability.—Section 607 of the Vision 100—Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (49 U.S.C. 44903 note; 117 Stat. 2568) shall not apply to the advanced passenger prescreening system established under subparagraph (C).
In general.—The Administrator shall establish a timely and fair process for individuals identified as a threat under one or more of subparagraphs (C), (D), and (E) to appeal to the Transportation Security Administration the determination and correct any erroneous information.
Records.—The process shall include the establishment of a method by which the Administrator will be able to maintain a record of air passengers and other individuals who have been misidentified and have corrected erroneous information. To prevent repeated delays of misidentified passengers and other individuals, the Transportation Security Administration record shall contain information determined by the Administrator to authenticate the identity of such a passenger or individual.
Definition.—In this paragraph, the term “secure area of an airport” means the sterile area and the Secure Identification Display Area of an airport (as such terms are defined in section 1540.5 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor regulation to such section).
Limitation on Liability for Acts To Thwart Criminal Violence or Aircraft Piracy.—An individual shall not be liable for damages in any action brought in a Federal or State court arising out of the acts of the individual in attempting to thwart an act of criminal violence or piracy on an aircraft if that individual reasonably believed that such an act of criminal violence or piracy was occurring or was about to occur.
Air Charter Program.—
In general.—The Administrator shall implement an aviation security program for charter air carriers (as defined in section 40102(a)) with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds.
Exemption for armed forces charters.—
In general.—Paragraph (1) and the other requirements of this chapter do not apply to passengers and property carried by aircraft when employed to provide charter transportation to members of the armed forces.
Security procedures.—The Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Transportation, shall establish security procedures relating to the operation of aircraft when employed to provide charter transportation to members of the armed forces to or from an airport described in section 44903(c).
Armed forces defined.—In this paragraph, the term “armed forces” has the meaning given that term by section 101(a)(4) of title 10.
Security Screening for Members of the Armed Forces.—
In general.—The Administrator, in consultation with the Department of Defense, shall develop and implement a plan to provide expedited security screening services for a member of the armed forces, and, to the extent possible, any accompanying family member, if the member of the armed forces, while in uniform, presents documentation indicating official orders for air transportation departing from a primary airport (as defined in section 47102).
In developing the plan, the Administrator shall consider—
(A) leveraging existing security screening models used to reduce passenger wait times;
(B) establishing standard guidelines for the screening of military uniform items, including combat boots; and
(C) incorporating any new screening protocols into an existing trusted passenger program, as established pursuant to section 109(a)(3) of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (49 U.S.C. 114 note), or into the development of any new credential or system that incorporates biometric technology and other applicable technologies to verify the identity of individuals traveling in air transportation. (3)
Rule of construction.—Nothing in this subsection shall affect the authority of the Administrator to require additional screening of a member of the armed forces if intelligence or law enforcement information indicates that additional screening is necessary.
Report to congress.—The Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on the implementation of the plan.
Passenger Exit Points From Sterile Area.—
In general.—The Secretary of Homeland Security shall ensure that the Transportation Security Administration is responsible for monitoring passenger exit points from the sterile area of airports at which the Transportation Security Administration provided such monitoring as of December 1, 2013.
Sterile area defined.—In this section, the term “sterile area” has the meaning given that term in section 1540.5 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (or any corresponding similar regulation or ruling).
(Pub. L. 103–272, § 1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1205; Pub. L. 106–181, title VII, § 717, Apr. 5, 2000, 114 Stat. 163; Pub. L. 106–528, §§ 4, 6, Nov. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 2520, 2521; Pub. L. 107–71, title I, §§ 101(f)(7)–(9), 106(a), (c), (d), 120, 126(b), 136, 144, Nov. 19, 2001, 115 Stat. 603, 608–610, 629, 632, 636, 644; Pub. L. 107–296, title XIV, §§ 1405, 1406, Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2307; Pub. L. 108–176, title VI, § 606(a), Dec. 12, 2003, 117 Stat. 2568; Pub. L. 108–458, title IV, §§ 4011(a), 4012(a)(1), Dec. 17, 2004, 118 Stat. 3712, 3714; Pub. L. 110–53, title XVI, § 1615(a), Aug. 3, 2007, 121 Stat. 486; Pub. L. 111–83, title V, § 553, Oct. 28, 2009, 123 Stat. 2179; Pub. L. 112–86, § 2(a), Jan. 3, 2012, 125 Stat. 1874; Pub. L. 113–67, div. A, title VI, § 603, Dec. 26, 2013, 127 Stat. 1188; Pub. L. 115–254, div. K, title I, § 1991(d)(3), Oct. 5, 2018, 132 Stat. 3630.)