A new aviation security advisory group with authority to handle highly classified information affecting the trans-Atlantic market will include air cargo executives from private industry.
The Transatlantic Aviation Industry Roundtable (TAIR) will serve as a forum in which DHS, its U.K. counterpart, private-sector companies and others in the aviation sector will meet regularly to discuss trans-Atlantic security issues, according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notice to be published on Sept. 11.
“Members of the TAIR will engage and collaborate on matters and issues affecting trans-Atlantic aviation security including global security improvement, information sharing, insider threat and cybersecurity and may provide policy advice and recommendations on such matters,” according to the notice, noting that the group will not be authorized to establish federal policy.
Some of the issues to be discussed will require access to classified information and other sensitive law enforcement information, including the current threat environment and potential enhancements to security technologies, processes and procedures in aviation and overseas security, according to DHS, which is therefore exempting the group from the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).
FACA requires advisory committees to meet in open session and 15-day notice before any meeting may be closed to public attendance. Making TAIR exempt from the act “allows the department to freely and completely review, in a closed environment, the current threat environment in aviation, to discuss potential vulnerabilities and to provide the department with information and recommendations that could not otherwise be discussed in an open environment,” DHS stated.
The DHS secretary, along with the heads of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will represent the U.S. government. Representatives from the British government include the Home Secretary, Transport Secretary, Director General, and Under Secretary.
In addition to air cargo executives from companies such as FedEx Express and UPS, other private-sector members of the committee will include CEOs from trans-Atlantic airlines, major international hub airports and industry association leaders.
The new advisory group will add another layer of security oversight for air cargo following the Air Cargo Advance Screening program that went into effect last year. The program, run jointly by TSA and CBP, requires that airlines submit advanced air cargo information on shipments arriving in the U.S. from foreign airports.