Having been designated responsible for airport security and passenger safety under the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Security Operations (ASO) Division as a Lead Special Agent for a major US airport; as a distinguished International Transportation Security Specialist (TSS) conducting foreign airport assessments for the International Division; and as a collateral duty Federal Air Marshall (FAM); Mr. Salmen brings a depth to understanding how airports function in the security realm.  And prior to being asked to work for FAA Security Mr. Salmen was a Ground Security Coordinator for Lufthansa German Airlines (LH) in Miami, Florida.    The most revealing works of Mr. Salmen came about after the terrorist events of September 11, 2001.  That started an accelerated need in aviation security and from the time immediately following 9/11/01, when Mr. Salmen was honored to serve as the Interim Federal Security Representative (IFSR) for ten months leading up to the creation of the Department of Transportation (DOT) creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), he provided the necessary leadership to keep Tampa International Airport (TPA) operationally sound and security operations in complete control of the operating environment.  Mr. Salmen was hired by TSA to become one of the first Stakeholder Managers in the early rounds of management hiring, and this position required the sensitive handling of a tense environment with uncertainty among air carriers, the aviation authority, tenants, and all manner of stakeholders.    In this environment Mr. Salmen produced the first screening checkpoint in the US built after 9/11/01, and the first checkpoint designed after 9/11/01.  And along the way he worked with Lockheed Martin who was under TSA contract to design a “Model” passenger screening checkpoint to produce that initial model.  Mr. Salmen simultaneously took on the new mandate for check baggage screening and delivered the first completed installation of interim baggage screening in the US.  Then he went on to push through the first meeting approval of a fully automated checked baggage inspection system that was completed as the first airport-wide fully automated CBIS in the US.  While many systems around the country experienced growing pains and design issues the system in Tampa passed certification and remains operational and compliant to this date.  That was partially due to Mr. Salmen insisting that contractors use a Site Specific Test Plan program that he developed and documented with help from Raytheon and Battelle Memorial Laboratories that later became the TSA standard nationally.  He then went on to require the use of a “Realistic” test bag set that truly operated the CBIS and revealed weaknesses prior to the aviation authority and TSA taking over the operation of, and which was also to become a nation-wide adoption by TSA for all future projects.    Mr. Salmen worked both checkpoint and baggage screening for years before TSA had a management structure that cross-utilized that skill set in a similar manner.  While those were the big security areas of concern to airports and to TSA, Mr. Salmen worked in many other ares over the years.  He worked in CCTV, Biometrics, Access Control, Surveillance, Testing, and many other areas of security where he set standards that took much of TSA years to catch up in the ability of; which made his Tampa operations the preferred choice for equipment manufacturers for field testing Operational Utility Evaluations until his departure.  He also produced all the technical drawings and architectural drawings used for these equipment installations until 2014, when he was the last field person allowed to locally produce these for TSA projects.  As this varied experience resulted in his being lent to various airports within the US to troubleshoot complex issues that were not being locally resolved.  At the same time the works in Tampa with baggage systems resulted in many foreign governments and airport administrators traveling to Tampa for assistance and the system at TPA assisting many designers and developers world-wide with Mr. Salmen being asked to speak nationally and internationally on the topic.    Check our accomplishments area for more details on many projects over the years, and we will continually add more as we have time.  If you are in need of critical thinking that can solve complex issues in your AVSEC related operations, you will find it difficult to draw on a more broadly experienced professional.

Facility Security Assessments

Often management has need for independent analysis of the security posture under their responsibility.  This can be difficult when you face is recognized by employees... you need an expert observer that sees the real operations and provides you with a clear picture.  Having our federal regulator's trained eye with many years experience ensures the full picture. When the time comes call on the experience of former professional government regulators.  The value of insights from years inside the federal government's airport security programs can elevate your understanding and enhance your compliance posture.

Operations Reviews and Recommendations

Operational reviews typically provide practical improvements in security and can create workable solutions to hard to solve problems.  These can range from personnel and training issues to equipment maintenance and equipment performance issues and redesigns of security installations. 

 Enhancements implemented on review recommendations can provide increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved performance.  Documentation reviews can strengthen security posture and expose weaknesses in planning and execution of security protocols.  Understanding how the structure of your security program can fail your program’s needs is an invaluable asset in a fast-paced security environment.  Working with federal regulators is a strong tool for achieving your success but having their mindset on your side at the onset helps avoid pitfalls and presents your best case before they observe your weaknesses.  You never get a second chance to make a solid first impression with those that determine if you know and follow regulations and best practices.


Training is a broad subject and there are many opinions about how to develop and conduct training that is cost effective and yields the desired results.  Having trained many employees in every area of security and having overseen training of vast workforces of screening personnel our experiences, brought from corporate and federal service to AVSEC can help make your training programs achieve the desired outcome.  We have the background in developing programs and the partnerships to implement these programs more cost effectively than big name providers typically used by federal government contracts.  When you understand how mega-contractors put together training programs you can become jaded to an expectation of obtaining the world-class results you want.  We can help you navigate your way to realization of your goals for training.

Site Specific Test Plans

You need a Site Specific Test Plan (SSTP), and you want it to be on par with a federal plan like those issued by government independent contractors, but they can’t help you!  AVSEC was founded by Michael Salmen, a former FAA and TSA manager with real world experience in the development of testing as currently implemented by TSA and their prime independent contractor, Battelle Memorial Labs.  In 2002 Michael, understanding nothing was available to properly test the new baggage screening systems being constructed, undertook the daunting task of developing a testing protocol and documentation program that would accurately evaluate the first airport-wide fully automated Checked Baggage Inspection System (CBIS) in the US.  A system of 24 EDS units in an almost four-mile system of conveyance was being installed in Tampa Florida.  At that time the current testing system involved induction if universally identical tubs filled with phone books or concrete blocks.  This is great when you want to show how good a CBIS can perform in optimal conditions.  But Michael was of the mind that a “real-world” test was necessary to ensure the government and the airport received the system that was purchased.  In collaboration with a TSA Raytheon contractor and the head of Battelle, Michael set out to develop that test protocol.  The parameters are somewhat obvious, to build a varied test bag set that mimics real passenger bags.  To introduce those bags to the system in ways real passengers do and to overload the system and see what jams could be caused or how the system overcame the overload, and most importantly to prove the system was secure in every aspect and processed baggage according to the needs of the governmen, the operators, and airlines.  This was achieved through the first ever SSTP and that model as revised is currently in use still today.  To further facilitate this process Michael championed the need for test bags sets owned by government had handled by the independent contractor, another best practice that was adopted.


In March AVSEC traveled to Stockholm, Sweden, to attend the Passenger Terminal Exposition {PTE}. This is the world’s leading international airport conference and exhibition, now with the 24th event! 

In September AVSEC was at the IATA Aviation Day Conference in Jan Jose, Costa Rica for Central American countries.  This was an outstanding event that will be visited again. 

In September AVSEC attended the ASIS International GSX conference in Las Vegas, where the largest gathering of security professionals in the world comes together annually.  This year we focused on analytics, artificial intelligence, and drone security functions.   

AVSEC will be at AVSEC World 2019 in February.