A shift in operations by the TSA could see a change in the seating assignments for federal air marshals. According to unnamed sources, this shift in operations will see marshals placed toward the rear of the plane rather than the front of the cabin. The TSA says this shift will combat new threats.
An operational shift at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) could see a change in seating assignment for federal air marshals, reports ABC News. According to unnamed sources, this change, which is due to be enacted on December 28, would mean that marshals will now be placed toward the back of the plane rather than the front.
While authorities at the TSA did not offer further detail, the outlet reports that, “They insisted that it’s important for the agency to sometimes change its routine to keep pace with new and emerging threats.”
Jenny Burke, spokeswoman for the TSA, stated that, “In an effort to address evolving threats to aviation security, TSA continues to optimize in-flight security efforts; training and tactics are routinely reviewed and updated based upon intelligence.”
However, it seems that not all within the industry agree with this proposed operational change.
Speaking to the outlet, Brian Borek, representative of the air marshals to the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said, “The TSA wants to change the way operations are carried out, and the men and women of the Federal Air Marshal Service do not support these changes. The TSA, riddled with their own organizational issues, should allow the air marshals to do what they have continued to do best — fly operationally sound missions to protect the integrity of the aircraft, its crew, and passengers in the manner that they have been training and perfecting for the last 17 years.”
Taking a more moderate view, Sara Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants, was quoted as saying that, “Air marshals are an integral part of aviation security and we hold our partnership in the highest regard. We agree wholeheartedly with TSA that there should be a constant review and appropriate response to emerging threats, with the inclusion of any concerns expressed by our air marshals. They are our tactical experts and their voices should be included in determining the most effective security measures.”