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The Transportation Security Administration and Federal Aviation Administration today published training plans for aviation security, meeting a deadline in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act. Plans for the training of security screeners, and guidance for the training of flight crews for dealing with threats, were required within 60 days of the passage of the Act, Nov. 19, 2001.
Under Secretary of Transportation for Security John W. Magaw today submitted a plan to Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta and to Congress that would provide for premium-quality, intense and measurable training for security screeners employed by the Transportation Security Administration at the 429 U.S. airports with commercial service. More than 30,000 screeners will be deployed by the TSA by Nov. 19, as mandated in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act.
"The TSA is firmly committed to creating a screener workforce of the highest quality, one that is instilled with pride and commands the respect of the traveling public," Magaw said. "We intend to offer an attractive and rewarding career path for screeners that will include varied, stimulating work and the chance for promotion. That path begins with intensive training."
The proposed training plan charts a course with the dual objective of protecting the system and serving the flying public. Key elements include:
-- Screening of persons, baggage, and cargo;
-- Stress management and conflict resolution;
-- Professional interaction with passengers.
The TSA curriculum will be competency-based and outcome-driven, which means that training will correlate directly to competencies required. Competencies identified to date include:
-- Discerning and discriminating ability;
-- Ability to perform duties while being subject to distractions;
-- Ability to follow sets of complex directions;
-- Multi-tasking ability and alertness to objectives;
-- Ability to perform well under demanding situations;
-- Ability to comprehend and reason effectively;
-- Ability to identify principles governing relationships between objects;
-- Ability to cope with conflicts.
Separately, the TSA is issuing two requests for proposals (RFPs) as part of its ongoing efforts to tap into private sector experience and expertise for assistance in successfully completing a deployment of more than 30,000 airport security screeners and law enforcement officers over the next 10 months. These RFPs are devoted to mission critical aspects of the TSA, as follows:
-- Screener/Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Qualifications, Recruitment and Examination (QRE). The Aviation and Transportation Security Act includes stringent employment standards for airport screeners, and for law enforcement officers. Contractor assistance will be critical in helping to recruit, assess and interview tens of thousands of applicants.
-- Screener Training. The Act requires a minimum of 40 hours of classroom training, 60 hours of on-the-job training, and an exam for each screener. Contractor assistance will be critical in helping to develop and finalize curriculum, train trainers, and conduct training at numerous facilities across the nation.
The RFP for Screener Training will be available at: http://www.eps.gov (solicitation number: DTTS59-02-R-00439). The RFP for Screener/LEO QRE will be available at: http://www.eps.gov (solicitation number: DTTS59-02-R-00440). Interested companies must respond by Jan. 28. The TSA intends to award contracts by Feb. 19.
Also today, the Federal Aviation Administration, as mandated by the act, issued new, detailed guidance for training crew members in dealing with potential threats, especially hijackings. The guidance, developed in consultation with airlines, pilots and flight attendants, represents a shift in strategy from passive to active resistance by crewmembers.
While actual training guidance cannot be made public due to national security concerns, highlights include:
-- Any passenger disturbance should be considered suspicious, as it could be a diversion for other more serious acts.
-- In a threatening situation, crewmembers must act as a team. Should a threat arise, the cabin crew and flight crew must communicate in clear, concise, plain English.
-- In any suspected or actual hijack attempt, the flight crew should land the airplane as soon as possible to minimize the time hijackers would have to commandeer the aircraft and use it as a weapon of mass destruction.
In accordance with the statute, airlines have 60 days to amend their training programs to incorporate these guidelines. Once the new training program is approved, crewmembers must be trained within six months.
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