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November 02, 2017

Thompson Introduces Air Cargo Security Legislation

(WASHINGTON) – Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, introduced the Air Cargo Security Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 4176).  This legislation directs the Transportation Security Administration to take a number of steps to enhance air cargo security efforts and requires TSA aggressively move towards addressing current and future threats to air cargo. A foiled overseas ISIS terror plot this summer underscores the need for improving air cargo security in light of the ever-changing and sophisticated nature of threats to the aviation sector.

This legislation requires:

  • TSA to establish an air cargo security office to coordinate government and private sector efforts to secure air cargo.
  • TSA to conduct a pilot program to expand the use of 3D imaging technology to improve screening of air cargo.
  • TSA to report on improvements to the Certified Cargo Screening Program, which ensures 100 percent screening of air cargo.
  • DHS make permanent the Air Cargo Advance Screening Program, a joint program with CBP to target foreign air cargo bound for the U.S.
  • A Government Accountability Office review of DHS’ effectiveness in securing air cargo.

Congressman Thompson released the following statement announcing the bill:

“It is clear after a foiled terror plot this summer – and others in the past – that the threat of a terrorist attack using air cargo on passenger planes is very real and should not be understated.  The American public expects Congress act quickly to improve our aviation security to address this clear and present security threat.  I introduced this legislation with the hopes that Congress will move with urgency to make the nation more secure from the threat of an air cargo-based attack and I urge my colleagues to join me and advance this necessary and straightforward homeland security legislation.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security and an original co-sponsor of H.R. 4176, added:

“While passenger security efforts are the most visible part of aviation security, protecting against air cargo threats is just as critical.  The Air Cargo Security Improvement Act of 2017 will help ensure that Congress is staying ahead of the ever-evolving security threats that face all who navigate our skies. For that reason, I am proud to cosponsor this important legislation that will build upon the important work TSA is currently doing to safeguard and enhance the security on our aircrafts.”

H.R. 4176 is also a response to air cargo security recommendations included in a recent Committee on Homeland Security staff report on DHS’ progress in meeting mandates in the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-53) ten years later. This legislation, originally sponsored by Rep. Thompson, required screening of all cargo loaded onto passenger planes.

Link to Legislation

Link to Bill Factsheet

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978