|Each year, the Transportation Security Administration spends several billion tax dollars, the vast majority on our “multi-layered” airline security system. But, breaches of the system have been rampant in nearly every area, often by innocent people who weren’t even trying. Data confirming the abysmal weapons detection rates in penetration tests at airport checkpoints have been restricted because the results are so poor. The number of federal air marshals is also not publicized because there are so few.
Congress overwhelmingly passed a law creating the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program (FFDO) to arm airline pilots as a “last line of defense” against the porous security system.
Unfortunately, the Transportation Security Administration obstructed the FFDO Program by discouraging thousands of volunteer pilots, and disqualifying hundreds of others. Pilots who are former federal agents, police officers, firearms instructors and military pilots have been told they are not qualified. Rules requiring armed pilots to carry weapons in locked containers, an onerous application bureaucracy, little support for international flight protection, and lack of leadership or management support, cause 50,000 pilots to now avoid the FFDO program.
So, years after 9/11, only a small percentage of our pilots have been armed against terrorists, in an environment where a terrorist has a 95% chance of successfully passing a weapon through airport screening or carrying a lethal weapon on board legally.
The annual budget for air marshals is roughly $700 million per year. Yet air marshals protect only the very smallest percentage of our flights. Since federal flight deck officers are not compensated, by simply streamlining the armed pilots program, we could provide our country a “last line of defense” on 100% of our commercial airliners for only $15 million a year.
Which system would you rather spend your tax dollars on? Which system would make you feel safer?
It is important you decide – because if terrorists attack 10 commercial airliners tomorrow, despite our $12 billion security system, 9 of them will be defenseless.