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President proposes increasing taxes on air tickets to pay for security

President proposes increasing taxes on air tickets to pay for security

Old Jan 28, 05, 6:38 pm
  #31  
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Originally Posted by trixievictoria
I think you got that backwards...the Airports are the Airlines customers...Just look at South West.... who is doing very well with a no hub system...they don't need any particular airport then can shop around....and get the best deal....good business
Oh for heaven's sake. Southwest most certainly has hubs, and they can't just pack up and leave. DAL, HOU, PHX, LAS, LAX, MDW, BNA, BWI, MCI -- those are hubs! The difference between Southwest and the others is that Southwest has lots and lots of hubs, any one of which isn't enourmous, rather than having two or three mega-hubs.

Southwest has pulled out of airports before (DET, SFO, old DEN, BPT and soon IAH), but with the exception of BPT, all those airports no longer exist or have other airports in the same metro area. Legacy airlines and their regional subsidiaries have pulled out of many more airports than that over the years, leaving some of them with no air service at all.

Airlines and their passengers are, without a doubt, customers of the airport.
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Old Jan 28, 05, 6:50 pm
  #32  
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Don't forget SLC. Southwest has the second largest presence there next to DL.
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Old Jan 28, 05, 8:56 pm
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You are so right....
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Old Jan 29, 05, 12:37 am
  #34  
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Originally Posted by PatrickHenry1775
What is TSA doing at ports? If screening of entering cargo and containers is actually occurring, then there may be some hope that TSA will play a meaningful role in security. Has anyone heard or read anything about TSA and ports?
For your information screening of cargo and containers are being done except that it being done by the Dept HSI ( formerly know as US customs) and the Coast Guard.
The TSA when they do actually enter the marine/port security aspect will be screening vehicles and individuals entering and leaving the secured areas of the major ports.

Tampa has constructed a $10.5 million entrance/access to some of the major port areas which now sits idle while the TSA tries to figure out how to implement a pass system which will give ready access to users.

The TSA in charge of actual port cargo/crew inspections will NEVER EVER ever happen. That job is well beyond their present and potential capabilities.

Even now the Coast Guard and customs IMHO do such an awful and ridiculously substandard job and they have expertise ( and somewhat intelligent personnel) which the TSA will never in a million years aquire.

mike
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Old Jan 29, 05, 3:41 am
  #35  
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Originally Posted by bocastephen
I am very troubled by any TSA mindset that considers passenger convenience, comfort, or respect to be something dangerous to the process or an annoying inconvenience that we should 'get over'. WE the passengers are PAYING the security fee, therefore the fee should be used to both enhance security and benefit us in balance. It is OUR money.
I respect that view. Allow me to elaborate. The security I am most familiar with is rooted in my military background. I have over 20 years experience dealing mostly with the type of security used to counter attempts by hostile intelligence services to acquire classified information through open source research, exploitation of certain international data exchange agreements and espionage. My other areas of expertise also dealt with the protection of facilities from international terrorism, hostile military special purpose forces attacks and domestic criminal activities. I come from a background inwhich security is a very serious matter.

At TSA, we either provide security or we do not. Security, by definition, means inconvenience. It is designed to slow down entry into any protected facility to allow for increased scrutiny to both deter attempts by less determined foes and increase the challenges to more determined ones. Within this same context, security can be performed either wisely or foolishly. This is why, from time to time, I will get on my soap box about risk management as opposed to risk avoidance.

Risk avoidance is the easier of the two. Simply take the attitude of assuming that even the most trivial threat is a serious one, and you'll have an easy go at it. Risk management is the trickier yet smarter choice. It means accepting the fact that some threats can be mitigated based on a realistic assessment of likelihood as opposed to the impractical fear of the theoretical potential. I'm a strong believe in risk management.

TSA is not. Not yet, at least. Most of our TSA policies lean towards risk avoidance. I believe the middle ground still exists where the pendulum could certainly swing more towards risk avoidance. The reality is that most bureaucracies tend to shy away from this philosophy simply because it allows a lot of discretion by folks at the ground level. It has to. And TSA is not yet ready to allow its employees that much latitude and judgment. However, if we are to have a professional force providing world class security, I don't see how TSA can continue to resist this approach.

Go back and read what I posted. I think before any more money is charged to you the paying customer or to all of us taxpayers, a sound cost-benefit analysis needs to be performed to ensure that we're currently getting the most bang for our buck. I criticized basing decisions purely on customer convenience because if that's all we're using these new technologies for, then we are seriously violating some pretty fundamental security principles. Whatever is convenient for the customers is also convenient for the terrorists. The challenge is to find a reasonable balance that inconveniences law abiding passengers up to a certain degree yet deters terrorists and others who would pose a threat to commercial aviation. I agree with you that if we go to an extreme, then we will end up driving passengers away from flying. That, of course, is not the reasonable balance I'm looking for.

TSA still has a lot more work to do. Throwing money around for the sake of appearing to be doing something is not a step in the right direction.
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Old Jan 29, 05, 4:00 am
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Dovster
Agreed, but consider the following:

Secondary searches only check some passengers. Indeed, as nobody is forced to go through a secondary (he can chose not to get on the plane) no terrorist will ever be discovered through one. Puffers, on the other hand, will check everyone.

The puffers would also allow the TSA to reduce personnel costs. Secondaries could be forgotten (except where the metal alarm is set off). Additionally, you would no longer have to search bags for explosives. If you looked quickly for guns and large knives, and forgot about all the silly things on the list, personnel costs would drop even further.
Secondary screenings are designed to only check some passengers. The primary screening is conducted on everyone who enters the checkpoint (walk-thru, x-ray and pat-downs as the exception for those who cannot walk-thru due to medical or other reasons). Secondary screenings are performed to resolve the alarms detected from primary screenings. (This is why I oppose selectee screenings. They obligate us to perform them even though selectees have successfully passed the scrutiny of primary screening. In this regard, selectee screening is very inefficient.)

As far as the prohibited items list, I agree. TSA could certainly fine-tune it to a more reasonable and practical level. The original list pre-9/11 was centered on firearms, explosives and knives with blades of a certain length. That's how boxcutters were so easily smuggled aboard. So I don't agree with you there. However, I don't see the potential harm in allowing passenger to keep the small, baby Swiss Army knives with the one-and-a-half inch blades or short metallic grooming scissors as opposed to the traditional jack knives with three inch blades and standard size office scissors.

I also believe there has to be greater latitude for discretion given to TSA screeners. For example, if an elderly man enters the checkpoint with a heavy oak walking stick he uses as a cane to help him walk, then to me, it's a cane. However, if a healthy young man, six foot two, 225 pounds with an Arnold Schwartzegger physique comes in with the same type of walking stick, I would have him check it as checked baggage as opposed to keeping it as a carry-on. Some would accuse me of profiling. Yep. That's exactly right. It's based on a judgment call of an item serving as nothing more sinister than a walking cane and the very same item, in the hands of someone else, having a greater potential to be used as a weapon.
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Old Jan 29, 05, 12:30 pm
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Judgment call! I have never flown on an Israeli carrier or to Israel, but from what I have read, their screening personnel are trained to exercise judgment. Bart, your example of the cane is dead on as an example of what is wrong with TSA. The mindset on risk avoidance, the blinders as to the person and concurrent obsession with things, manifested as shoe carnival, confiscation of grooming scissors, lighters, etc., is why so many look at TSA as a dog and pony show. Congress bought into the current mindset institutionalized to a large degree by the 9/11 Commission report.
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Old Jan 29, 05, 4:26 pm
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Originally Posted by MIKESILV
Even now the Coast Guard and customs IMHO do such an awful and ridiculously substandard job and they have expertise ( and somewhat intelligent personnel) which the TSA will never in a million years aquire.

mike
I am wondering if your opinion is just of the Coast Guard or of both customs and the Coast Guard. What about port security in general? I live near a port city. As far as I've seen the Coast Guard is doing their part. They did a piece on the security of the ports though, the part the Coast Guard isn't in charge of and that side of it left a whole lot to be desired. What more is the Coast Guard supposed to do? Are you making these observations from an inside perspective or the outside?

KG
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Old Jan 29, 05, 6:52 pm
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Cool

Are you making these observations from an inside perspective or the outside?
I'm guessing it's from the perspective of the person who screams like a girl when his boat is in distress. I guess maybe next time that happens, he should call the Army to rescue him... See how far that gets him, what with the Coast Guard's "substandard" performance and all.

GLUG GLUG! Enjoy your swim.
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Old Jan 29, 05, 6:57 pm
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Talking I forgot.

Since we're on the topic of who is substandard and in which fields... I forgot to remind Mike that "acquire" is spelled with a "c".

Enjoy your day!
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Old Jan 29, 05, 8:23 pm
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Gargoyle89
I am wondering if your opinion is just of the Coast Guard or of both customs and the Coast Guard. What about port security in general? I live near a port city. As far as I've seen the Coast Guard is doing their part. They did a piece on the security of the ports though, the part the Coast Guard isn't in charge of and that side of it left a whole lot to be desired. What more is the Coast Guard supposed to do? Are you making these observations from an inside perspective or the outside?

KG
I will respond to your post and ignore the subsequent posts of the D.P. character.
I just happen to work in the marine field and my job descriptiion " marine surveying" within that field, though my job speciality is to perform displacement draft surveys = to claculate the cargo loaded/discharged on large bulk carriers and some LPGs 20000 to 100000 metric tons in size.

I survey upwards of 350 ships a year ( for the last 25 years) most of these vessels require between 2 to 8 surveys each.

I see both the US Coast Guard and DHS in operation sometimes upward of 10 times a day. I observe them when they come the ships doing some god awful ridiculous things. Even now despite the so called hieghtened security they are more interested in finding Cuban cigars or drugs.
Drop a little plastic bag with sugar in a passage way, as happened on one of my ships last week and they go ballistic ( hey its white it MUST be cocaine )

The Coast Guard spends most of their time clocking the number of minutes its takes a bunch of Greeks or Chinese to launch a lifeboat.
If they find anything of interest its because they literally stumble over it.
Seeing what do on a daily basis with what I know about ships its all a complete waste of time and resources.

Do I think our ports will ever become secure? Never in a million years.

mike

P.S. hey D.P. get your spell checker out, there aught to be something you are good at.

Last edited by MIKESILV; Jan 29, 05 at 8:29 pm
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Old Jan 29, 05, 10:08 pm
  #42  
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This thread reminds me of a line from "The Simpsons".

Homer drove his car off of a pier and the Coast Guard lifted it (and him) out of the water with a helicopter.

"I'll never badmouth the Coast Guard again," Homer said as the car was going up. "You Navy rejects are OK!"
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Old Jan 29, 05, 11:17 pm
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Mike,
I think your view of what the Coast Guard does is a little simplistic. I realize you work within the maritime field but to judge the Coast Guard as a whole, on what you've observed at your port doesn't hold much water with me. You can never judge a whole organization by the acts of a few. You can't judge all port security around every port, by one port city.

If you believe the CG is doing such a horrid job of port security what would be your suggestion? As I see it, the CG does a great job especially with the resources and man power they have. It's a bit difficult to do a job with no money and no people. I would say the CG does a bit more then stumble over things. You do understand that the CG does quite a bit more then port security don't you? You do understand that the man power they have, remains the same as before Sept. 11th when they were thrust into the main job of port security right? On top of which, the CG still does the other part of it's job of rescuing people, helping stranded boats, spill clean up, searching for who just spilled fuel or oil or what ever into the water, protecting the waters and coastlines, stopping drugs from coming into the country, stopping immigrants from sneaking into the country and various other jobs, too numerous to mention.

I fully understand your concern about port security. I still stand by my previous statement that the CG is doing a great job in a very difficult situation with a job that's still fairly new.

Last edited by Gargoyle89; Jan 29, 05 at 11:27 pm
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Old Jan 29, 05, 11:44 pm
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Gargoyle89
Mike,
I think your view of what the Coast Guard does is a little simplistic. I realize you work within the maritime field but to judge the Coast Guard as a whole, on what you've observed at your port doesn't hold much water with me. You can never judge a whole organization by the acts of a few. You can't judge all port security around every port, by one port city.

If you believe the CG is doing such a horrid job of port security what would be your suggestion? As I see it, the CG does a great job especially with the resources and man power they have. It's a bit difficult to do a job with no money and no people. I would say the CG does a bit more then stumble over things.
Hey simplistic it may be, but did you really want me to go into specfics?
I cannot help it if it holds no water with you I am not going to jump off the nearest bridge.

Sure the situation is different in each port, but it is well documented within the industry that the rules in place in Tampa are some of the most stringent in any US port, so I have a pretty good feel for the condition in other ports.
Reason: the Tampa area is the largest producer of phosphate fertilizers in the world, consequently there are large quantities of anhydrous ammonia stored in tank farms at some six locations within 3 miles as the crow files from downtown, plus almost daily, at least one vessel discharging such a cargo.( In case you dont know anhydrous ammonia is ammonia gas liquified under pressure and at kept at -34 deg C)
Can you imagine a bazooka ( not even a RPG yet) putting a hole in one these
tanks? Depending on the wind direction, casualties in the thousands.

So why is Guard spending most of their time on fire and lifeboat drills?

It might interest you to know my nephew was CG commandant for another major SE/Gulf port and is now based with their rapid response team at Fort Dix, we talk a lot ( he is so fed up he' s is retiring this year) I know a hell of a more than you might think about the USCG.

When you have some time let me tell you about the $10 million dollars spent on a container ship load of lemons from the Far East who some bright spark determined had bio-terrorist agents in the fruit, so dont tell me they dont have funds to work with.

This stuff makes box-cutters at your favorite airport childs play.

mike

Last edited by MIKESILV; Jan 29, 05 at 11:51 pm
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Old Jan 30, 05, 12:05 am
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Well, totally off topic, but here we go...

The last thing we need to be doing is inspecting every container coming into the country (Kerry advocated this in his campaign). Not only would that be a complete waste of resources, it would also draw every major port to a complete stop.

The current policy of a 96 hour advance notice of arrival (vs. 24 hrs pre 9/11), coupled with the vsl boardings/document checks/dangerous cargo manifest verification/and crew list validation that we employ for Foreign Freight Vessels is more than sufficient.

High interest shipping (e.g., tankers, cruise ships, vsls carrying "death acid", etc) is boarded outside the sea buoy and escorted to the pier anyway.

The attention any ship receives (based on profiling) is made well before it's arrival. By the time the vsl ties up, there's time to focus on things like lifeboat drills, spot checking containers and ensuring the vsl meets international standards. Not a bad compromise overall: mitigate the risk without putting everyone in the industry out of business.

Last edited by MMA95D; Jan 30, 05 at 12:40 am
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