Thursday, January 8, 2009

TSA’s Work Abroad

With more than 2450* daily inbound flights to the U.S. from all over the world, TSA has put a major focus on collaborating with foreign aviation authorities and sharing best practices, intelligence, technological innovations and expertise so that flights coming into the United States have the same level of security as those departing the U.S.

In collaboration with DHS and Department of State, TSA coordinates transportation security bilaterally with individual countries and multilaterally through major international aviation-related organizations including the Group of Eight (G8), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the Asia –Pacific Economic Conference (APEC). Twenty-two TSA Representatives (TSARs) are deployed worldwide to serve as DHS’s “boots on the ground”; interfacing with international partners, coordinating the DHS response to transportation-related terrorist threats and incidents, and facilitating the security assessments conducted by TSA’s security specialists at more than 300 airports in more than 100 different countries. TSA’s international teams have successfully vetted 100% of airports with direct flights into the United States.

Here’s a brief overview of some of TSA’s international activities:

On August 1, 2008, TSA JFK Inspections and Screening coordinated security measures with Emirates Airlines to ensure the successful arrival of the first commercial A380 ‘superjumbo’ jet direct from Dubai.

For the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, TSA coordinated security efforts with the People’s Republic of China. This partnership began in the summer of 2007 when U.S. Federal Air Marshals hosted a training exchange with members of the Chinese Air Marshal Program at our facility in Atlantic City. From July 19 until August 24, TSA successfully coordinated security operations at China’s Joint Operation’s Center with teams deployed at airports in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

When thousands of anti-government protesters took over Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) on November 25 of this year, TSA responded by sending a team to assess the risk associated with flights departing for the United States. The team was able to ensure the security of direct flights to the United States by December 6, allowing Americans to return home safely.

In a brand new 2009 initiative, TSA plans to deploy special teams of veteran security experts to various international locations to assist host nations with enhancing and sustaining local aviation security. St. Lucia will be the first nation to participate in this initiative, and TSA’s assessment team will work with the St. Lucian Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation to assess training needs, equipment, and aviation security legislation.

For additional information on TSA’s international efforts, please visit


*Number edited on 1/5/10 to correct a missing zero. The number changed from 245, to 2450, which was the correct number at the time this post was published.