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[Senate Report 114-92]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                     

             GERARDO HERNANDEZ AIRPORT SECURITY ACT OF 2015

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                H.R. 720

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


                 July 23, 2015.--Ordered to be printed
                 
                                ______

                         U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 

49-010                         WASHINGTON : 2015                  
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                    one hundred fourteenth congress
                             first session

                   JOHN THUNE, South Dakota, Chairman
 ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi         BILL NELSON, Florida
 ROY BLUNT, Missouri                  MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
 MARCO RUBIO, Florida                 CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
 KELLY AYOTTE, New Hampshire          AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
 TED CRUZ, Texas                      RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
 DEB FISCHER, Nebraska                BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii
 JERRY MORAN, Kansas                  ED MARKEY, Massachusetts
 DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska                 CORY BOOKER, New Jersey
 RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               TOM UDALL, New Mexico
 DEAN HELLER, Nevada                  JOE MANCHIN, West Virginia
 CORY GARDNER, Colorado               GARY PETERS, Michigan
 STEVE DAINES, Montana
                    David Schwietert, Staff Director
                   Nick Rossi, Deputy Staff Director
                    Rebecca Seidel, General Counsel
                 Kim Lipsky, Democratic Staff Director
           Christopher Day, Democratic Deputy Staff Director
                 Clint Odom, Democratic General Counsel
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                                                      Calendar No. 163
114th Congress     }                                    {       Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session       }                                    {       114-92

======================================================================



 
             GERARDO HERNANDEZ AIRPORT SECURITY ACT OF 2015

                                _______
                                

                 July 23, 2015.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Thune, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 720]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (H.R. 720) to improve 
intergovernmental planning for and communication during 
security incidents at domestic airports, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
with an amendment (in the nature of a substitute) and 
recommends that the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 720, as amended, is to improve 
intergovernmental planning for and communication during 
security incidents at domestic airports, and for other 
purposes.

                          Background and Needs

    On November 1, 2013, a gunman entered a terminal at Los 
Angeles International Airport (LAX) and began a shooting 
rampage, which left Transportation Security Officer (TSO) 
Gerardo Hernandez dead and three other individuals wounded. 
While the response by law enforcement, the Transportation 
Security Administration (TSA) personnel, and emergency 
responders was heroic and impressive, after-action reports 
conducted on the incident showed gaps in communications and 
coordination procedures.
    On March 20, 2015, an assailant with a machete attacked 
TSOs at a TSA checkpoint inside a concourse of the Louis 
Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. The assailant 
slashed Supervisory TSO Carol Richel, sprayed three other TSOs 
with wasp repellent, and carried a bag into the building that 
contained six Molotov cocktails, a grill lighter, and a letter 
opener. The injured TSO sustained non-life-threatening 
injuries, while the assailant was shot and killed by a local 
law enforcement officer on duty near the checkpoint.
    These recent security incidents, while not related to 
terrorism, show the continuing importance of and need for 
airports to respond quickly and effectively to a range of 
threats within an airport's perimeter, including those outside 
of the secure areas of an airport. Key improvements recommended 
by a TSA review in the aftermath of the LAX event included 
strengthening active shooter training, improving the 
communications infrastructure, adopting recommended standards 
for law enforcement presence at checkpoints and ticket 
counters, conducting biannual active shooter training and 
exercises, incorporation of maximum response times, and 
extending the temporary redeployment of additional Visible 
Intermodal Prevention and Response teams to airports.

                         Summary of Provisions

    H.R. 720, as amended, would improve security incident 
preparedness by directing the TSA to verify that airports 
across the United States have incorporated procedures for 
responding to active shooters targeting security checkpoints 
into their existing incident plans. Additionally, the 
legislation would direct the TSA Administrator to report to the 
appropriate congressional committees the TSA Administrator's 
findings regarding the levels of preparedness at airports. The 
bill also would mandate that the TSA establish a mechanism by 
which best practices in security incident mitigation can be 
shared with airports across the country and would require that 
the agency certify to the appropriate congressional committees 
that all screening personnel have participated in training for 
active shooter scenarios. Additionally, the bill would require 
the TSA to provide an analysis to the appropriate congressional 
committees on how cost savings can be used to increase funding 
for reimbursable agreements for airport law enforcement over 
the next five years. The legislation also would require the TSA 
Administrator to verify that high threat surface transportation 
hubs, as identified by the TSA Administrator, have similar 
active shooter training programs. Finally, the legislation 
would require the TSA to conduct a review of the interoperable 
communications capabilities of the law enforcement, fire, and 
medical personnel responsible for responding to a security 
incident at airports in the United States.

                          Legislative History

    H.R. 720 was introduced on February 4, 2015, by 
Representative John Katko (R-NY), Chairman of the Subcommittee 
on Transportation Security of the Committee on Homeland 
Security of the House of Representatives. H.R. 720 passed the 
House of Representatives on February 10, 2015, by a vote of 
411-1. The bill is nearly identical to H.R. 4802, a bipartisan 
measure sponsored by Congressman Richard Hudson (R-NC) in the 
113th Congress, which passed the House by voice vote, but saw 
no action in the Senate.
    No hearings were held on H.R. 720 in the 114th Congress; 
however, the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and 
Security of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate held a hearing on March 17, 2015, 
entitled ``TSA Oversight and Examination of the Fiscal Year 
2016 Budget Request'' and received testimony from Melvin 
Carraway, Acting Administrator, TSA, Department of Homeland 
Security.
    During the 113th Congress, the Subcommittee on 
Transportation Security of the Committee on Homeland Security 
of the House of Representatives held a field hearing on March 
28, 2014, at LAX entitled ``Lessons from the LAX Shooting: 
Preparing for and Responding to Emergencies at Airports,'' and 
a hearing on May 29, 2014, entitled ``Lessons from the LAX 
Shooting: Airport and Law Enforcement Perspectives.''
    On February 26, 2015, the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation of the Senate met in open Executive Session 
to consider H.R. 720, and ordered the bill to be reported to 
the Senate favorably, with an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute, by voice vote. Three first degree amendments were 
agreed to, including one sponsored by Chairman Thune and 
Ranking Member Nelson to make several changes to the bill, one 
sponsored by Senator Cruz to include a strategy for providing 
airport law enforcement with access to airport security video 
surveillance systems at category X airports, and one sponsored 
by Senators Booker, Blumenthal, and Schatz to add a section 
regarding security incident response for surface transportation 
systems.

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

H.R. 720--Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act of 2015

    H.R. 720 would direct the Assistant Secretary of Homeland 
Security, acting through the Transportation Security 
Administration (TSA), to undertake a variety of activities 
aimed at enhancing security at airports where TSA performs or 
oversees security-related activities. The bill would require 
TSA to verify that all such airports have plans in place for 
responding to security threats and to provide technical 
assistance as necessary to improve such plans. H.R. 720 also 
would require TSA to disseminate information on best practices 
for addressing security threats, ensure that all screening 
personnel have received training in how to handle potential 
shooting threats, and conduct outreach to assess the 
preparedness of passenger transportation agencies and providers 
with high-risk facilities. Finally, H.R. 720 would require the 
Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) Office of 
Cybersecurity and Communications to report to the Congress on 
the capacity of law enforcement, fire, and medical response 
teams to communicate with each other and respond to security 
threats at airports.
    Based on information from DHS, CBO estimates that 
implementing H.R. 720 would cost $2.5 million in 2016, assuming 
appropriation of the necessary amounts. Of that amount, CBO 
estimates the department would spend about $1.5 million to 
provide additional technical assistance to airports and about 
$1 million to evaluate the interoperability of communication 
systems used by emergency response teams and overall 
preparedness of those entities with high-risk facilities. H.R. 
720 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, 
pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 720 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Megan Carroll. 
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                           Regulatory Impact

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       number of persons covered

    The bill would require the Assistant Secretary of Homeland 
Security (Transportation Security) to conduct outreach to 
approximately 450 airports where the TSA performs or oversees 
security operations. Airport operators must already submit to 
the TSA for approval airport security programs that address 
security procedures and controls unique to each airport, and 
designate one or more airport security coordinators to serve as 
the primary contact for security-related activities and 
communications with the TSA. The outreach directed in the 
legislation would involve coordination with these airport 
security coordinators, who in turn would be responsible for 
communicating with local law enforcement and emergency 
personnel, as well as airport entities such as the airlines and 
commercial businesses that serve the airport. Because airport 
operators and airport security coordinators are already subject 
to the TSA's rules and regulations, the number of persons 
covered under the bill should be consistent with the current 
number of individuals impacted. The legislation would further 
require that the Administrator conduct outreach at high-risk 
surface transportation facilities to ensure that the facilities 
have plans to respond to acts of terrorism, or other security-
related incidents that target passengers.

                            economic impact

    The bill would not authorize new spending by the Federal 
Government. The TSA estimates that the costs of providing 
technical assistance would be incidental, and the required 
interoperability review would cost approximately $750,000, 
which would be paid for using funds already appropriated. It is 
anticipated that because airports will be able to utilize 
existing individualized working plans to fulfill the 
requirements of the bill, the cost of incorporating any 
additional procedures as a result of a TSA review would be 
minimal. The anticipated communication implicated by the bill 
between airport security directors and relevant stakeholders 
such as local law enforcement and emergency personnel, 
airlines, and other commercial operators already occurs on a 
regular, ongoing basis, so the bill would not result in 
additional burdens to these stakeholders. Addressing security 
incident response and best practices is intended to reduce the 
likelihood and impact of attacks and promote confidence in the 
U.S. aviation system, which in turn would facilitate the free 
flow of commerce through the national airspace. It is 
anticipated that the required outreach for surface 
transportation facilities would occur as part of ongoing 
communication between the agency and surface transportation 
organizations identified as having high risk facilities. The 
TSA may consult as needed with the Department of Transportation 
and its modal agencies to determine if current security and 
safety reports contain, or could be revised, to include 
verification of the active shooter response training.

                                privacy

    The bill would have little if any adverse impact on the 
personal privacy of individuals. The bill would include, as a 
permissible type of airport plan for responding to security 
incidents, a strategy for providing law enforcement with access 
to existing airport security video systems at category X 
airports where those systems were purchased and installed using 
TSA funding. While law enforcement often already has access to 
such video systems, this provision would facilitate greater 
access.

                               paperwork

    The bill would not significantly increase paperwork 
requirements for private individuals or businesses. It is 
expected that airports, in response to the TSA outreach, will 
use security incident plans already in place and incorporate 
additional procedures into those existing plans, should there 
be a need to do so. The bill would require the Federal 
Government to produce four reports and a certification to 
Congress. One of the reports and the certification would be 
required within 90 days after the date of enactment, while a 
second report would be required within 120 days after the date 
of enactment, and the last two would be required within 180 
days after the date of enactment.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title.

    This section would provide that this Act may be cited as 
the ``Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act of 2015.''

Section 2. Definitions.

    This section would define ``Assistant Secretary'' as the 
Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security (Transportation 
Security) of the Department of Homeland Security, which is 
another title for the TSA Administrator, and ``Administration'' 
as the Transportation Security Administration.

Section 3. Security incident response at airports.

    As amended, this section would direct the Assistant 
Secretary, in consultation with other Federal agencies as 
appropriate, to: (1) conduct outreach to all U.S. airports at 
which the TSA performs, or oversees the implementation and 
performance of, security measures; and (2) give technical 
assistance as necessary to verify that such airports have in 
place individualized working plans for responding to security 
incidents inside the airport perimeter, including active 
shooters, acts of terrorism, and incidents that target 
passenger-screening checkpoints. The Committee believes that 
the Assistant Secretary's consultation with Federal agencies 
should include the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    The airport working plans can include, but are not limited 
to: (1) a strategy for evacuating and providing care to persons 
inside the airport with consideration given to the needs of 
persons with disabilities; (2) a plan for establishing a 
unified command post during an incident; (3) a specified 
schedule for testing of communications equipment; (4) an 
evaluation of how emergency calls placed inside the airport 
will reach airport police in an expeditious manner; (5) a 
method and plan to communicate with travelers inside the 
airport; (6) to the extent practicable, a projected maximum 
timeframe for law enforcement response to active shooters, acts 
of terrorism, and incidents that target security-screening 
checkpoints (as amended); (7) a schedule of joint exercises and 
training to be conducted by the airport, the TSA, and other 
stakeholders; (8) a schedule for producing after-action joint 
exercise reports to identify and determine how to improve 
security incident response capabilities, and as amended, (9) a 
strategy, where feasible, for providing airport law enforcement 
with access to airport security video surveillance systems at 
category X airports where those systems were purchased and 
installed using Administration funds.
    This section also would require the Assistant Secretary to 
submit a report to the Committee on Homeland Security of the 
House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation of the Senate on findings from its 
outreach to airports, including an analysis of the level of 
preparedness such airports have to respond to security 
incidents.
    This section also would allow and encourage flexibility for 
airports to maintain or develop security incident response 
plans, based on the airports individual needs and challenges. 
The Committee does not expect airports to create duplicative 
plans, rather; this bill is intended to ensure that airports 
have security incident plans in place and encourage the 
incorporation of more robust or tailored procedures into 
existing plans, should there be a need to do so.

Section 4. Disseminating information on best practices.

    This section would require the Assistant Secretary to 
identify best practices and establish a mechanism for sharing 
of best practices for security incident planning, management, 
and training at airports.

Section 5. Certification.

    This section would require the Assistant Secretary to 
certify annually to the Committee on Homeland Security of the 
House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation of the Senate that all screening 
personnel have participated in practical training exercises for 
active shooter scenarios.

Section 6. Reimbursable agreements.

    This section would require the Assistant Secretary to 
report to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of 
Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate an analysis of how the TSA can use 
cost savings achieved through efficiencies to increase, over 
the next five fiscal years, the funding available for law 
enforcement support at screening checkpoints under reimbursable 
agreements.

Section 7. Security incident response for surface transportation 
        systems.

    As amended, this section would require the Assistant 
Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation 
and other relevant agencies, to: (1) conduct outreach to all 
passenger transportation agencies and providers with high-risk 
facilities; and (2) verify such agencies and providers have in 
place plans to respond to active shooters, acts of terrorism, 
or other security-related incidents that target passengers.
    The plans may include, but are not limited to: (1) a 
strategy for evacuating and providing care to individuals with 
consideration given to the needs of persons with disabilities; 
(2) a plan for establishing a unified command; (3) a plan for 
frontline employees to receive active shooter training; (4) a 
schedule for regular testing of communications equipment used 
to receive emergency calls; (5) an evaluation of how emergency 
calls placed by individuals using the transportation system 
will reach police in an expeditious manner; and (6) a practiced 
method and plan to communicate with individuals using the 
transportation system. This section also would require the 
Assistant Secretary to submit a report to the Committee on 
Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
Senate on findings from its outreach to agencies and providers, 
including an analysis of the level of preparedness such 
transportation systems have to respond to security incidents.

Section 8. No additional authorization of appropriations.

    This section would make clear that no additional funds are 
authorized to be appropriated to carry out the Act, and that 
this Act must be carried out using appropriations otherwise 
made available for the purpose of aviation security.

Section 9. Interoperability review.

    This section would require the Assistant Secretary to 
conduct a review of the interoperable communications 
capabilities of the law enforcement, fire, and medical 
personnel responsible for responding to security incidents, 
including active shooter events, acts of terrorism, and 
incidents that target passenger-screening checkpoints, at all 
U.S. airports at which the TSA performs, or oversees the 
implementation and performance of, security measures. This 
section also would require the Assistant Secretary to, not 
later than 30 days after the completion of the review, report 
the findings of the review to the Committee on Homeland 
Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the 
bill as reported would make no change to existing law.

                                  [all]