Summary: H.R.4698 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (04/26/2016)

Securing Aviation from Foreign Entry Points and Guarding Airports Through Enhanced Security Act of 2016

(Sec. 2) This bill directs the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a comprehensive security risk assessment of all last point of departure airports with nonstop flights to the United States.

(Sec. 3) The TSA shall submit to Congress and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) a plan: (1) to enhance collaboration, coordination, and information-sharing about international-inbound aviation between the United States and domestic and foreign partners in order to enhance security capabilities at foreign airports; and (2) that assesses the TSA's ability to enter into a mutual agreement with a foreign government entity to permit TSA representatives to conduct inspections of foreign airports without prior notice.

The GAO shall review TSA efforts to enhance security capabilities at foreign airports and determine if the implementation of such efforts and capabilities effectively secures international-inbound aviation.

(Sec. 4) The TSA shall submit to Congress a comprehensive workforce assessment of all TSA personnel within its Office of Global Strategies or whose primary professional duties contribute to the TSA's global efforts to secure transportation security, including whether they are assigned in a risk-based, intelligence-driven matter.

(Sec. 5) The TSA may donate security screening equipment to a foreign last point of departure airport operator if the equipment can be expected to mitigate a specific vulnerability to U.S. security or U.S. citizens.

The TSA shall provide to specified congressional committees within 30 days of any such donation a detailed written explanation of:

  • the specific vulnerability to the United States or U.S. citizens that will be mitigated by such donation,
  • an explanation as to why the recipient of such donation is unable or unwilling to purchase security screening equipment to mitigate such vulnerability,
  • an evacuation plan for sensitive technologies in case of emergency or instability in the country to which such donation is being made,
  • how the TSA will ensure the security screening equipment that is being donated is used and maintained over the course of its life by the recipient, and
  • the total dollar value of such donation.

(Sec. 6) The TSA may evaluate foreign countries' air cargo programs to determine whether they provide a level of security commensurate with that required by U.S. air cargo security programs. If so, the TSA shall approve and officially recognize such country's program, in which case such country shall not be required to adhere to the U.S. programs that would otherwise be applicable. The bill provides for revocation or temporary suspension of approval and official recognition if the TSA determines that a country's program no longer provides a level of security commensurate with that required by U.S. air cargo security programs.

(Sec. 7) The TSA shall request the Aviation Security Advisory Committee to develop recommendations for more efficient and effective passenger screening processes. The Committee shall consider the following:

  • the configuration of a checkpoint;
  • technology innovation;
  • ways to address any vulnerabilities identified in audits of checkpoint operations;
  • ways to prevent security breaches at airports at which federal security screening is provided;
  • best practices in aviation security;
  • recommendations from airport and aircraft operators, and from any relevant advisory committees; and
  • "curb to curb" processes and procedures.