The staff members at AVSEC are all Professional Consultants and experts in their fields, and are often traveling to work security projects.
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3921 Mimosa Place, Palm Harbor, FL 34685
Aviation Security Audits & Assessments;
CBIS Design Consulting, Testing, & Ops Reviews;
Chekpoint Design Consulting, Testing, and Ops Reviews; Design, installatioin, and consulting for all manner of AVSEDC needs. (CONOPS) Concept of Operations, (EMS) Emergency Management System; Operations manuals and technical writing expertise.
(TSE) Transportation Security Equipment recommendations; (SOC) Security Operations Center; (VSS) Video Surveillance System; CCTV Camera systems, security equipment networks,VMI, Cloud Storage solutions; PIDS, (ACS) Access Control System designs and recommendations, Biometrics; (PIDS) Perimeter Intrusion Detection Systems;
Several Central American airports – work to update security infrastructure; TransSecure, Inc. consultant; National Safe Skies Alliance (NSSA) access control PARAS project; Middle East nation’s civil aviation authority’s system-wide project to upgrade security at 27 airports; Major US contactor consulting on program management.
Places we have helped out... USA: ATL, DAB, DCA, DFW, FLL, IAH, JAX, LAL, LAX, MCO, MIA, MLB, OPF, PBI, PIE, RSW, SEA, SFB, SJU, SPG, SRQ, TPA, TPF, VDF International: Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA France), Service technique de l'aviation civile (STAC France), Ente Nazionale per l'Aviazione Civile, (ENAC Italy), Major Middle East nation’s civil aviation authority at their 27 airports), BOG, LHR T5 CBIS, LIM, PAP, POS, PTY, SDQ, STT, STX, UIO
Comments from Michael Salmen
Sr. Aviation Security Analyst
I know that you have noticed the state of security is always in flux, and probably that every leading country has taken its own path to success? But I’m not speaking of the flux created by an everchanging and evolving threat, here I am talking more about the isolation of trust within governments and keeping security plans secured to themselves. To this end I feel not enough intergovernmental cooperation exists. On the surface this is an obvious position to hold… still, you may wonder how that affects the advancement of the state of the art in aviation security? From my observations the effects are clear, as they hinder government actions to advance their own security.
In my travels I have become acutely aware that even the largest countries with vast resources are somewhat isolated in their efforts to create world class security. They often rely on staff to keep them up to date on developments and best practices, which makes them less resilient and innovative due to small numbers of people working in near vacuum conditions… I did that for many years and I struggled to bring innovation into the process the entire time.
This is not the case with industry where efforts to strengthen security are evolving as fast as bad guys efforts to overcome the latest and greatest innovations. Of course, Industry has an incentive, being that you only get paid when you succeed! Even so, it is harder to create a secure piece of hardware or software than it is to devise a solution to overcoming it.
And yet, when government has opportunities to work with industry they are not always fully taken advantage of. A case in point started in 2002 when I needed manufacturers of X-ray machines to modify the side rails on their roller tables to improve safety. You would think that saying safety in most any conversation would get people’s attention, but you would be wrong in this case. It took a year to get permission to work with vendors directly to consider a fix, and then only if I was willing to pay for it from my local operating budget! I did just that and then I hand carried the newly designed example to TSA headquarters where they had two X-ray machines setup in a room on the first floor. I again pushed to make this fix available to all airports for the safety of passengers and TSA staff. The answer back was that headquarters would fund a pilot at my major airport to complete that one, which at least solved the problem at a few airports under my management by expanding my budget. And there was a catch, that we have the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) build the replacement parts. So, the parts that I had a quality build for at $99.00 a pair, was installed at $415 for each one. Why each one? Because they only ordered one on a roller table on one side. That was another problem for me, because laptop computers were routinely falling off the other side without the guard in place and one laptop cost more than the fix. So I put the new units on the most used screening lanes and left the original ones on the more seldom used lanes… and that worked fairly well. Then once the program completed successfully, headquarters determined that this new design would be incorporated to future contracts with that vendor, and I felt we had made progress. A little later those TSA leaders moved to new positions and when the new contracts were issued the new people used the previous contracts as examples and the changes were never implemented. You can still find these dangerous elements installed in US airports today.
Seeing that "testing facility" in the early days of TSA had me thinking that we need to have a better working relationship with industry… what we need is a joint operation to work together on new ideas to develop the state of the art in technology! So I pushed for a program and a facility to do this work for a few years until I became a member of the Baggage System Investment Study (BSIS) group in 2006, as the only field employee. After some effort my idea became part of the BSIS recommendations to the US Congress. And that led to the development of the TSA Systems Integration Facility (TSIF). You might think this was the beginning of something wonderful? What happened is that TSA eventually saw a need to close the doors and keep it all for themselves. Then, the industry got a bright idea… the baggage equipment side decided that concept worked to move the state of the art and wanted to continue collaborating among themselves, so they built their own test facility in Dallas, Texas. When they had their grand opening, I was the only person from TSA that showed up for the event.
The point to that long story is that we must be smarter than those that try to undo our efforts and we are already at a disadvantage from the start. Working together we can stay one step ahead, but teamwork is critical to our success. I recently tried to communicate with the Innovation Task Force (ITF) department of TSA in the US for over a month, and I got no response. It appears they are very busy and don’t have the time or staff to address the industry or public on innovation. This may be one reason why a big world power has fallen behind in the race to secure its infrastructure. If you spend a lot of time working to secure funding for programs, then you have less time to create those programs and they develop more slowly.
As I travel and see the many versions of security around the world I am saddened to see that the US is losing ground as a world leader in aviation security, but I am inspired by the level of innovation coming from all around the world and the leadership roles coming from diverse places. Now if we can do more to come together globally to advance the state of the art in aviation security we have a chance to save lives and further secure our economies. You don’t have to give up your best ideas or your security to be a
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