Statistics On Weapons Recovered By Airport Security Per Year 10 Years Prior Before 911 And Weapons Recovered By TSA 10 Years After 911 Research Proposal Sample
Airport screening of passengers changed from a private enterprise to coming under control of the national government after September 2001. The attacks on the eastern coast of the U.S. on September 11, 2001 were the reason the change was made. The research question is ‘Has airport safety been better served before 2001 or after 2001 when a nationalized plan was established for security at airports?’ Important legislation was passed on airplane travel safety after September 2011 like the Aviation and Transportation Security Act to organize airport security. Due to concerns about transparency NIPP was established to coordinate domestic and international aviation with many goals including standardizing operational security, identify threats and coordinate airport systems. The measurement of the change used is the number of firearms confiscated during pre-screening from the ten years before and the ten years after 2001. The research looks at how nationalizing the airport screening process impacted the number of weapons confiscated. Private screening methods compared to national screening methods. The highest numbers of confiscated firearms were in 1994 (2,994 firearms) and 2006 (2,217) during the two periods studied. The technological changes in screening that were made over the 20 years such as advances in body scanning.
(Keywords: airline prescreening, confiscated firearms, prohibited on airplanes, airport security, national airport screening, body scans)
List of figures
Figure A- 1 Airline screening results from 1991 to 2001 10
Figure A- 2 Prohibited Items Intercepted at Airport Screening Checkpoints l 11
Figure A- 3 Airline Passenger Screening Results by Type of Weapons Detected, Persons Arrested, and Bomb Threats Received 12
Figure A- 4 Airport type of weapon loaded or not 13
1.0 Chapter 1 Introduction
The research proposes to compare the number of weapons recovered by airport security per year 10 years prior before 911 and weapons recovered by TSA 10 years after 911. Security statistics from the Federal Aviation Agency will be used to compare the amount of weapons and the types of weapons TSA before and after 11 Sept. 2001.
Elias (2009) explains that before September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the nation had no comprehensive policy on aviation security. After 2001 there of the important policies passed on airplane travel safety are Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA, P.L. 107-71), Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458), and National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) 2013. The ATSA P.L. 107-71 made broad changes to airline operations security for passengers for domestic and international (Elias 2009). P.L. 108-458) was legislated by Congress to direct TSA to develop a national strategy for the transportation sector, so that standards across the U.S. were well organized and carried out in the same way. NIPP is an umbrella regulation causing the aviation sector to coordinate domestic and international aviation with reference to “operational security, surveillance and intelligence, threat response, system recovery, and coordination” (Elias 2009: 2)
The Homeland Security Presidential Directive 16 (HSPD-47) 16/ National Security Presidential Directive 47 (NSPD-47) focused on any new threats that might occur from the air domain. The air domain is described as the global airspace and includes “manned and unmanned vehicles,” individuals and goods in transport and all “aviation infrastructure” (Elias 2009: 7). The nation’s strategy for security in the air is addressed carefully in the Homeland Security directive.
The Presidential Directive 16 addresses weapons like stopping the proliferation of shoulder-fired missiles used in the air domain against civilians and persons in the military. Conventional and non-conventional weapons that are used on-board like explosive devices that target aircraft and smuggling weapons on-board aircrafts are considered threats.
Figure 1-1 Air security threats (CRS cited in Elias 2009: 7)
A schematic divides the threats into threat sources, tactics, and targets. Three sources of threats are terrorists, criminal elements and hostile nation-states. (See fig. 1-1) The tactics that can affect passengers are hijackings, bombings and shootings. The schematic does not show shootings linked to passenger aircrafts, but firearms can be carried onto airplanes unless they are confiscated by airport security. The legislation and regulations are overseen by the State Department but many other government agencies and departments are involved. The Department of Energy is responsible for providing technical and scientific knowledge for airport security against nuclear weapons. The expertise includes “radiation detection capabilities at airports to detect possible nuclear weapons or radiological materials, and coordinating response to any radiological contamination resulting from a possible nuclear or radiological attack” (Elias 2009: 16).
Valcourt (2014) reported that the amount of weapons confiscated in 2013 at airports was at an all time high. The types of weapons included knives, batons, meat cleavers, throwing stars, brass knuckles. In 2013 a TSA agent was killed at LS International Airport. The TSA reported that approximately five guns a day are confiscated at national airports and 80 of the guns are loaded (Valcourt 2014). In 2013, the most guns were confiscated in Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Phoenix and Houston.
The Transportation Security Administration’s Blog (2015) reported that 40 firearms were reported from January 23 to January 30, 2015. Thirty seven out of the 40 guns were loaded and 11 had rounds in their chambers. Valcourt (2014) reported that from September 27 and October 15, 2014eighty four loaded firearms were confiscated at the Baltimore airport.
The FAA statistics report that in 1990, 2913 firearms were confiscated; in 2000, 1812 firearms were confiscated and in 2009, 889 firearms were confiscated. The research looks at the difference between before 2001 before the national government took over screening and afterwards. The research hypothesizes that the screening procedures have improved since 2001, using the number of weapons confiscated at security checkpoints as a measurement.
The research question is ‘Has airport safety been better served before 2001 or after 2001 when a nationalized plan was established for security at airports?’
1.2 Program Outcomes
Critical Thinking. “The student will apply knowledge at a synthesis level to define and solve problems within professional and personal environments” (ERAU, 2014).
Critical thinking will be applied to carrying out the project, because an evaluation of the information and data is necessary to choose what is relevant to meet the objectives of the project with reference to secure airport screening procedures. The knowledge gathered will be found in several databases of government agencies dealing with transportation, aviation and airport passenger safety such as the TSA, the DOT and NIPP. Each database contains the data presented in a different way, so critical thought must be used to create an effective way to compare the number of firearms confiscated at airports. After evaluating and analyzing the results must be discussed and careful thought needs to be applied in order to present realistic recommendations.
Quantitative Reasoning. “The student will demonstrate the use of digitally-enabled technology (including concepts, techniques and tools of computing), mathematics proficiency & analysis techniques to interpret data for the purpose of drawing valid conclusions and solving associated problems” (ERAU, 2014).
A quantitative evaluation will be made of the number of confiscated firearms during the two ten year periods before and after September 11, 2001. The data will be organized into tables and an analysis carried out by using Excel. Graphs will be used if they are helpful in better understand the data. The statistical analysis will include reporting the mean, median, auto sum, min, max, linear regression, slope, intercept and another analysis where needed. The data will be interpreted based on time measurements, total number of firearms and the types of firearms. The resources I have collected from a literature review focused on quantitative methodologies includes explanations about the theory of the methods.
Information Literacy. “The student will conduct meaningful research, including gathering information from primary and secondary sources and incorporating and documenting source material in his or her writing” (ERAU, 2014).
In order to validate the search for data, published research and legislation a bibliography will be kept throughout the research. Primary and secondary sources from a range of sources like academic journals, books by experts and government reports, but focused on the number and type of firearms confiscated at airline security checkpoints will be studied. The publications from the Department of Transportation (DOT), Aviation and Transportation legislation, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) Congressional Research Service, National Journal, and United States Government Accounting Office (U.S. GAO) reports are all sources for high quality data and information.
Communication. “The student will communicate concepts in written, digital, and oral forms to present technical and non-technical information” (ERAU, 2014).
In order to communicate well and directly share information, the language used will be straight forward. The terminology that is not well understood outside of the aviation community will be defined. The management of the data will be to organize the values in a logical system using Excel. Notes will be written, but the bulk of the written work and statistical work will be carried out digitally using Microsoft software Excel, Word and Power Point. Power Point will be used to create slides so that a talk on the topic can be presented. The slides are an excellent way to show the data while at the same time giving a verbal explanation and answering questions.
Scientific Literacy. “The student will be able to analyze scientific evidence as it relates to the physical world and its interrelationship with human values and interests” (ERAU, 2014).
The research will be carried out using mixed methods. The qualitative component of the research will be evaluating the policy and regulations from 1990 to 2012. The kind of technologies used and the potential of creating a privacy infraction will be explored. The quantitative component of the research will be to evaluate the data gathered about the amount of firearms that were collected by airport screening from 1990 to 2001 and from 2002 to 2012. The rates of change will be calculated. By using the scientific method to carry out the handling of the research and data, the results will be more meaningful, because the values and calculations as well as explanations will be valid and reliable. The resources for qualitative and quantitative methods are from academic articles I have found and textbooks on the subject.
Cultural Literacy. “The student will be able to analyze historic events, cultural artefacts and philosophical concepts” (ERAU, 2014).
The research is particularly interesting from the cultural literacy prospective because of the history of impacts to aviation and airport security during the years from 1990 to 2011. Elias (2009) explains that before September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the nation had no comprehensive policy on aviation security. Therefore, the research looks at the differences in prescreening strategies before 2001 and after the national government took over screening. The analysis offers a reason to review the different ways that private contracts and public management are viewed in the aviation security. The number and types of weapons confiscated at the security checkpoint may offer insights to the cultural and philosophical changes in the U.S. and airport travel over the research’s target time span. The resources are not only government agencies such as the TSA and DOT, but also the TSA blog and newspaper articles.
Lifelong Personal Growth. “The student will be able to demonstrate the skills needed to enrich the quality of life through activities which enhance and promote lifelong learning” (ERAU, 2014).
The project will be used to continue a lifelong personal growth and development goal to increase my knowledge about the aviation sector in the U.S. The skills I apply for research and analysis will help me gain confidence in carrying out research projects. The literature review includes research that can be applied in my course studies and on the job. Safety issues are significant to the aviation sector and this project reflects my concern about safety and evaluating the best strategies for carrying out safety procedures during screening. The safety issues of the airline industry affect individuals all over the world, and developing a better understanding will allow me to apply what I know in different areas of my personal life and career. The resources include the TSA, DOT, and security journals, as well as academic research on the issue. Learning how to access and apply the information will improve my study habits and ability to choose relevant information.
Aeronautical Science. “The student will demonstrate an understanding and application of the basic and thus advanced concepts of aeronautical science as they apply to the aviation/aerospace industry for solving problems” (ERAU, 2014).
The science of aviation requires gathering new knowledge, evaluating information and applying analysis to find the best ways to carry out safety. Public policy also impacts the products and security methods used at airports, and learning about the influence of legislation on aeronautical science will offer insights in how the real world works. The technological advances in screening and safety will be discussed in the research. The science of keeping passengers and employees safe by applying techniques that are useful in aeronautics will give me a better understanding of the practical aspects of aeronautical science. Learning about aeronautical science can be done by accessing reviewing textbooks and industry white papers on the subject.
Aviation Legislation and Law. “The student will engage and discuss to present an understanding and application of basic concepts in National and International Legislation and Law as they pertain to the aviation/aerospace industry” (ERAU, 2014).
After 2001 many pieces of legislation were passed on airplane travel safety concerning issues from aviation operational security to threat responses in the air to systems recovery (Elias 2009).National and international policies were developed and are still undergoing changes for improvement and to meet the needs of passengers and employees by coordinating activities. I will gain a detailed understanding of laws and their impact as well as a better global understanding of aviation regulations. Understanding policy and legislation in the aviation sector will allow me to gain a better understanding of the same issues in other sectors. The legislation and policies are available from the TSA, Homeland Security, and the DOT. References from those agencies will lead to congressional sources.
Aviation Safety. “The student will compare and discuss in written and spoken formats an understanding and application of basic concepts in aviation safety as they pertain to the aviation/aerospace industry” (ERAU, 2014).
Safety is a priority, but risks have been identified at airports. The opportunity to learn more about the risks from passengers trying to smuggle firearms when boarding airplanes is a good opportunity to learn how aviation safety is applied. I will become familiar with the responsibilities of the Transportation Security Agency and Homeland Security by reviewing their websites. On the other hand, I will also learn more about safety at the level of airports from reports and academic research available. The project is an opportunity for me to learn the goals and objectives of aviation safety. I will also need to look at the knowledge and data I gather in a objective manner so I will be able to make solid recommendations at the end of the project.
Aviation Management and Operations. “The student will present and illustrate an understanding and application of management activities as they apply to aviation/aerospace operations” (ERAU, 2014).
Identifying problems in airport screening security by evaluating the weapons that are confiscated will enhance my understanding of the practical problems faced in aviation management and operations. The information will be gathered by access airport layouts on their websites and visiting the closet airport to make observations. By the end of the project I will be able to recognize good management and reliable operations procedures. The results are expected to be a practical addition of information to the stakeholders in airport security including passengers. The research on security in airports is a subject that effects every person that walks into an airport whether they are travelling, meeting passengers or if they are the pilots and stewards who are responsible for passengers when the airplane is in the air Therefore, the responsibility of seriously observing and evaluating aviation management and operations within the context of the research can add useful suggestions for making improvements.
1.3 Scope of Project
The scope of the project is over a 20 year span; ten years before and 10 years after 2001. The data is chosen due to the attacks on the eastern coast of the U.S. on September 11, 2001. Before the attacks the airline security of the U.S. was not coordinated, but instead each airport handled security as they saw fit. After 2001 the airport security was nationalized. Therefore, the opportunity to study the influence on the amount of firearms confiscated at airport security screening checkpoints. The project evaluates data from 1990 to 2012 from the database of the FAA. (See tables A-1 to A-3) Other data will be gathered from the TSA blog to learn more details about the types of weapons and if firearms are loaded or unloaded. The TSA blog lists information on a weekly basis. (See table A-4) The data will be evaluated with a time series analysis to better understand the meaning of the data such as what are the trends between the two periods and what external impacts might have made a difference (such as new legislation and new technology.
1.4 Aim and Objectives
The proposed research aims to gain knowledge about the effect of the national airport screening policy that was implemented at the end of 2001. The data from ten years before 2001 and ten years after 2001 will be compared.
1.5 Summary of thesis
The first chapter of the thesis will introduce the subject of firearms and airport security. The screening process will be briefly discussed. The history of airport and airplane security in the United States will be shared as background to the study. The objectives and aims will be listed as well as the purpose and the scope of the study.
The second chapter will consist of a literature review of relevant information from government sources and from academic journals that accept peer reviewed articles.
The third chapter will describe the methodology. The methodology is mixed method because qualitative and quantitative are used. The qualitative part of the study is a descriptive look at the differences before and after September 11, 2001 especially in reference to legislation and policy. The qualitative component will look at the numbers and types of firearms confiscated from 1990 to 20001 and from 2002 to 2012.
The fourth chapter presents the results and the discussion. Tables and graphs will be used to show the differences between pre-September 11, 2001 and post-September 11, 2001. Technological innovations in the screening process are also discussed so a recommendation can be made in chapter for the best instruments or strategies to us.
The fifth chapter is the conclusion chapter that holds conclusions, recommendations and suggestions for future research.
2.0 Preliminary Literature Review
The General Accounting Office (2007) reports that although screening is carried out incidents where security breaches have allowed explosive devices, weapons and guns. Undercover security checks identified the breaches. Baggage screening is carried out for suitcases that are placed in the airplanes. Passenger screening is carried out before passengers are allowed to reach the gate. Privacy issues have been raised because passenger screening is becoming very personal with full body scans or patting down of people to make sure they are not carrying any weapons.
Regulations on airport security have been researched by George and Whatford (2007). The amount of regulatory policies on security and screening for all types of transportation is increasing. The researchers reviewed policy specifically aimed at making aviation security stronger. The conclusions recommended that more collaboration between police, the private sector, the government and the private security industry is needed (George and Whatford 2007). The national standards and the international standards need to complement each other not conflict. An international framework organizing economic and legal factors is needed (George and Whatford 2007).
Pavone and Espositi (2010) studied the implications to privacy and civil rights based on the increases in technology designed especially to enhance security. The qualitative research demonstrated the balance of passengers and airport employees between the amount of security they felt they received versus the amount their privacy was invaded (Pavone and Espositi 2010). The research found that the amount of privacy lost is compensated by the amount of safety provided due to increased national security in society (Pavone and Espositi 2010).
Figure 2- 1 Airport number of people and firearms screened (1990-2000) (FAA 2000)
The number of firearms detected was highest in 1994 during the period of 1990 to2000; the amount numbered 2,994. (See fig. 2-1) A decreasing trend began after 1994. In 2000, the number of firearms detected had decreased to 1,937.
In the years after 2001, from 2002 to 2008 the number of firearms detected decreased until 2004, 650, but the number increased and peaked in 2005. In 2005, the number of firearms detected were 2,217; an increase of about 27 percent. After 2006, the trend decreased until 2008.
In the years from 1990 to 2008, the number of firearms detected peaks two times; in 1994 amount numbered 2,994 and in 2006 the amount numbered 2,217. Generally, one can see that the peak number of firearms was less in 2006 than in 1994. The research proposed will compare the ten year time period before and after 2001. The graphs above demonstrate that similarities can be noted as well as contrasts.
The research will be carried out using mixed methods. The qualitative component of the research will be evaluating the policy and regulations from 1990 to 2012. The kind of technologies used and the potential of creating a privacy infraction will be explored. The quantitative component of the research will be to evaluate the data gathered about the amount of firearms that were collected by airport screening from 1990 to 2001 and from 2002 to 2012. The rates of change will be calculated.
A literature review is the first step of the research in order to better understand the changes that have occurred from before September 11, 2001 and then afterwards. The databases used to search for references are EBSCOhost, Science Direct, Questia and ProQuest. The search phrases used are “airport security screening,” “weapons confiscated before 2001 in airports,” and “weapons confiscated after 2001 in airports,” “regulations on airport screening,” and “technology for airport screening.” The data is collected from the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Government publications from the FAA and the TSA are used to learn more about the changes in time in airline screening security. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) offers reports on the topics. A few of the peer-reviewed academic journals included in the research are the Journal of Business and Public Affairs, Journal of Law and Society, and Security Journal.
The data analysis will be carried out using Microsoft Excel. The proposed method of analysis is to use time series analysis. The reason is because the data on firearms over twenty years time can have season variations and trends internally that need to be taken into account. Monthly means need to be calculated and graphed with error bars. The data is available as annual values and as weekly values. Each set of values can be treated with a univariate time series because they can be evaluated over equal timescales. The data will be evaluated for trends in the first ten years compared to the second ten years.
The research is proposed in order to lean about the differences that can be identified in airport screening security by evaluating the weapons that are confiscated. Annual data is available from the FAA from 1990 to 2012. The reason the span of time was chosen is because the attacks on the east coast of the USA took place on September 1, 2001. Since that time the US initiated a national airport security plan. Therefore the research question asked is ‘Has airport safety been better served before 2001 or after 2001 when a nationalized plan was established for security at airports?’ The results are expected to be interesting to the stakeholders in airport security including passengers.
Aviation and Transportation Security Act. (2001) Public Law 107-71. fromhttp://www.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/Aviation_and_Transportation_ Security_Act_ATSA_Public_Law_107_1771.pdf
Bureau of Transportation Statistics (2001). Airline Passenger Screening Results by Type of Weapons Detected, Persons Arrested, and Bomb Threats Received: 1990-2001. Washington, DC. Retrieved Jan 20, 2011
Bureau of Transportation Statistics (2010). Prohibited Items Intercepted at Airport Screening Checkpoints: 2002-2009. Washington, DC. Retrieved Jan 20, 2011
Elias, Bart. (2009). National aviation security policy and mode-specific plans: Background and considerations for Congress. Congressional Research Service,
National Journal. (2013). TSA found 29 firearms at airports this week before the LAX shooting. National Journal, http://www.nationaljournal.com/defense/the-tsa-found-29-firearms-at-airports-this-week-before-the-lax-shooting-20131101
Pavone, Vincenzo, and Esposti, Sara D. (2010). Public assessment of new security technologies: Beyond the Trade-off between privacy and security. The Open University Business School. Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.
United States Government Accountability Office. (2007). Aviation Security:Vulnerabilities Exposed Through Covert Testing of TSA's Passenger Screening Process. GAO-08-48T
Valcourt, Derek. (2014). Record number of firearms confiscated in airports nationwide in 2013. CBS Baltimore, Jan. 21, 2014 http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2014/01/24/record-number-of-firearms-confiscated-from-airports-nationwide-in-2013/
Whatford, G.B. (2007) Regulation of Transport Security Post 9/11. Security Journal (20), p 158-170.
Figure A- 1 Airline screening results from 1991 to 2001 http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/transportation_statistics_annual_report/2006/html/chapter_02/table_j_06.html
Figure A- 2 Prohibited Items Intercepted at Airport Screening Checkpoints http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_02_16.html
Figure A- 3 Airline Passenger Screening Results by Type of Weapons Detected, Persons Arrested, and Bomb Threats Received
National FAA page 137
National FAA page 138
Figure A- 4 Airport type of weapon loaded or not (TSA Blog http://blog.tsa.gov/)