On 31 July, Homeland Security Today reported that the threat of explosives reaching the US via air cargo is significant. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) therefore requires air carriers to x-ray or screen the cargo by other means before it enters the US – but the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found weaknesses in TSA’s analysis of imaging technology in a field assessment January 2020-April 2021. The problem was that TSA officials cannot use live explosives in the field to measure the probability of detection, they rely on image quality testing, using a manufacturer’s test kit to compare system performance in the field with earlier tests performed in a laboratory with live explosives – and GAO considered this unacceptable. It is also said that GAO considered U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) role in securing air cargo. Its Air Cargo Advanced Screening program (ACAS) requires air carriers to submit shipment data on US-bound air cargo prior to departure from last point-of-departure airports. The report comes as TSA implements new International Civil Aviation Organization security standards for air cargo, which now require countries to screen 100% of cargo before it is loaded on freighter aircraft, as they are currently required to do with belly freight. The increase in screening has caused backlogs and carriers have reported confusion surrounding the new documentation requirements – but the article says that sometimes the relevant checks are still playing catch-up to passenger screening standards.
The report is at –
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