January 31, 2017 - Issue: Vol. 163, No. 16 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 1st Session
AIRPORT PERIMETER AND ACCESS CONTROL SECURITY ACT OF 2017; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 16
(House of Representatives - January 31, 2017)
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[Pages H782-H784] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] AIRPORT PERIMETER AND ACCESS CONTROL SECURITY ACT OF 2017 Mr. KATKO. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 665) to modernize and enhance airport perimeter and access control security by requiring updated risk assessments and the development of security strategies, and for other purposes. The Clerk read the title of the bill. The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 665 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Airport Perimeter and Access Control Security Act of 2017''. SEC. 2. RISK ASSESSMENTS OF AIRPORT SECURITY. (a) In General.--The Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) shall-- (1) not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, update the Transportation Sector Security Risk Assessment (TSSRA) for the aviation sector; and (2) not later than 90 days after such date-- (A) update with the latest and most currently available intelligence information the Comprehensive Risk Assessment of Perimeter and Access Control Security (in this Act referred to as the ``Risk Assessment of Airport Security'') and determine a regular timeframe and schedule for further updates to such Risk Assessment of Airport Security; and (B) conduct a system-wide assessment of airport access control points and airport perimeter security. (b) Contents.--The security risk assessments required under subsection (a)(2) shall-- (1) include updates reflected in the TSSRA and Joint Vulnerability Assessment (JVA) findings; (2) reflect changes to the risk environment relating to airport access control points and airport perimeters; (3) use security event data for specific analysis of system-wide trends related to airport access control points and airport perimeter security to better inform risk management decisions; and (4) take into consideration the unique geography of and current best practices used by airports to mitigate potential vulnerabilities. (c) Report.--The Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration shall report to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate, relevant Federal departments and agencies, and airport operators on the results of the security risk assessments required under subsection (a). SEC. 3. AIRPORT SECURITY STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT. (a) In General.--Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration shall update the 2012 National Strategy for Airport Perimeter and Access Control Security (in this section referred to as the ``National Strategy''). (b) Contents.--The update to the National Strategy required under subsection (a) shall include-- (1) information from the Risk Assessment of Airport Security; and (2) information on-- (A) airport security-related activities; (B) the status of TSA efforts to address the goals and objectives referred to in subsection (a); (C) finalized outcome-based performance measures and performance levels for each relevant activity and goal and objective under subparagraphs (A) and (B); and (D) input from airport operators. (c) Updates.--Not later than 90 days after the update is completed under subsection (a), the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration shall implement a [[Page H783]] process for determining when additional updates to the strategy referred to in such subsection are needed. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Katko) and the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Keating) each will control 20 minutes. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York. General Leave Mr. KATKO. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include any extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New York? There was no objection. Mr. KATKO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 665, the Airport Perimeter and Access Control Security Act, sponsored by my good friend and colleague, Congressman Keating. Over the course of the last year, we have seen a disturbing number of attacks against airports and aircrafts overseas and around the world. And in every instance, the integrity of the airport security infrastructure and the insider threat have been of serious concern. It is critical that we scrutinize the security effectiveness of our Nation's airports and ensure that the public can have confidence that their travels will be safe and secure during the high-threat environment. This important piece of legislation requires that the TSA's comprehensive risk assessment of perimeter and access control security is more regularly updated and that TSA conducts a sector-wide assessment of airport access control vulnerabilities and mitigation efforts, something TSA has not done across the board since 2012, despite multiple security breaches at airports across the country. We cannot solely focus on the effectiveness of our passenger screening checkpoints, while allowing lapses in security around the airport perimeter and within the sterile area of airport. A dead bolt on a front door does no good if the back door is left wide open. As partners on the Transportation and Protective Security Subcommittee, Congressman Keating and I have seen firsthand disturbing vulnerabilities at airports across the United States. I commend his efforts to help enhance security for the American people. While there may be gridlock and partisan bickering at times in other places here in Washington, on the Homeland Security Committee, we all share an unshakable commitment to ensuring the security of the traveling public because we know that the consequence of failure is too great. Mr. Speaker, I thank Congressman Keating for introducing this important legislation. I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan bill. I reserve the balance of my time. Mr. KEATING. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. I rise today in strong support of my legislation H.R. 665, the Airport Perimeter and Access Control Security Act. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be joined by my colleague from New York (Mr. Katko), as well as my colleagues, Ranking Member Thompson, and Members Rice, Richmond, and Swalwell. Since I first was elected to Congress in 2010, I have worked to secure our Nation's airports from porous perimeters and unsecure access control points. Last year, at my request, the Government Accountability Office released an independent report of all airports within the Transportation Security Administration's presence. While TSA has made some progress in assessing risks at airport perimeters and access control security points, the GAO report revealed that the agency had not taken emerging threats or the unique makeup and design of individual airports into consideration. More and more, we have seen that terrorists are targeting the soft areas in our airport perimeters and within the airport itself. Terrorists are looking for these soft targets. We have seen it in Europe. We have seen these tragedies in Brussels. We have seen it in Istanbul. And, sadly, we have seen it here at home in Fort Lauderdale. Updating the risk assessment of airport secured with information that reflects the current threat ensures that TSA bases its decision on the latest information, enabling it to focus limited resources to the highest priority risks to airport security. The TSA's efforts to access, really, our entire airport security around the country, has been, frankly, inadequate. The numbers are startling. From 2009 to 2015, TSA conducted comprehensive risk assessments at only 81 of the 437 commercial airports nationwide--or 19 percent. Some years, this really represented only 3 percent of the airports that were assessed at all. The Airport Perimeter and Access Control Security Act will make law the recommendations from the independent report and increase safety at airports nationwide. Further, this bill incorporates the input of major airport operators--whose concerns for lack of individualized security strategy we heard from firsthand. Last year, the Associated Press revealed that there had been at least 268 perimeter security breaches at 31 major U.S. airports. From 2004 to 2015, their investigation found that intruders breached airport fences, on average, every 13 days. This figure includes a fatal incident, a tragic incident that I investigated before I came to Congress as a district attorney when Delvonte Tisdale, a teenager from North Carolina, snuck onto the tarmac at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and stowed away undetected in a wheel well of a commercial 737 on a flight to Boston. The figures I mentioned really don't account for the many unreported instances of perimeter breaches, including things like trespassers or people that scale the fences around the perimeter. We are lucky that all of these individuals did not harbor nefarious intentions. But that does not mitigate the risk posed by such behavior at airports, employees and others, and the passengers and travelers who rely on TSA officers and the airport operators for their security. As you may recall, this legislation passed the House of Representatives with the support of my colleagues last year and has been a long time coming. I urge my colleagues to support this bill. I reserve the balance of my time. Mr. KATKO. Mr. Speaker, before I close, I commend my colleague for his unwavering dedication to this issue. His passion has shown through in the committee hearings and throughout my time with him in Congress and I commend him for it. I look forward to working on this and other issues with him moving forward. I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 665. I yield back the balance of my time. Mr. KEATING. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time. Mr. Speaker, I thank everyone that worked so hard to make this bill a reality, and to have the success it did last year, and, hopefully, go all the way and get enacted into law this year. The recent tragedies demonstrated at airports remain a steady target for terrorists and nefarious actors. This bipartisan legislation will close loops in the airport security practices and procedures and bring us closer to ensuring that the access control points and the perimeters of all of the unique designs are as secure as possible. Passage of H.R. 665 is an important step in the safety of passengers, pilots, and the airport employees. I thank the chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee again, Mr. Katko; the full committee ranking member, Mr. Thompson; and Representatives Rice, Richmond, and Swalwell for joining me in requesting this report and in supporting this legislation. I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 665. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time. The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from New York (Mr. Katko) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 665. The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the bill was passed. A motion to reconsider was laid on the table. [[Page H784]] ____________________