Compliance Scorecard: Working toward 100 percent screening

The SEC’s Marleah Blades discusses the TSA’s goal of achieving 100 percent screening of all air cargo

Cardinal has seven facilities in the process of being certified for CCSP and expects that the certification will be complete before the August deadline. Some have argued that the CCSP is not accessible to all organizations because of the cost of screening equipment and preparing the facility for certification. Leodler says that hasn’t been a problem for Cardinal. “It could be costly depending on how you screen, but we do it as inexpensively as possible,” he says. “We actually open the boxes and look inside, so it’s a little labor cost to us, but that’s all. The TSA does require a secure area within the facility for the screening to take place. I can see how in some facilities you may have to build something, but because ours are pharmaceutical distribution facilities, they’re all secure to start with, so that has not been a cost issue for us.”

Even those who disagree with the screening mandate agree, for the most part, that the CCSP is a smart program that has so far been successful. But it may not be an option for all facilities, and that will leave TSA responsible for a notable increase of cargo screening in order to meet the mandate. In preparation for this, TSA has increased its canine and inspection teams significantly over the last three years. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010 sent to the President at the end of October provided TSA with more funding to increase the number of inspectors and canine teams and to step up testing and deployment of screening technologies.

New screening technologies will be key to the mandate’s success. “You don’t know day-to-day or flight-to-flight how much cargo you’re going to have to screen until it gets to the carrier. So it’s a logistical issue, it’s a scheduling issue, it’s a volume issue,” Callen says. “It’s important, logical and cost-effective to find good methods of analyzing the problem, the shippers, and the cargo, and responding to that. In order to get around the problem of volume and time, you need to use some kind of smart logic technology. Companies are doing that sort of thing right now — taking a huge problem and bringing it down to a manageable level so you can spend your resources more wisely.”

TSA has launched the Indirect Air Carrier (IAC) Screening Technology Pilot to help identify the technologies that will be the most assistance in achieving 100-percent screening. Through the program, TSA tests screening technology in a live environment.

While the 100-percent screening mandate is certainly a lofty one, the TSA and the shipping community are working to make it a reality.

Marleah Blades is senior editor for the Security Executive Council, a risk mitigation research and services organization for senior security and risk executives from corporations and government agencies responsible for corporate and/or IT security programs. In partnership with its research arm, the Security Leadership Research Institute, the Council is dedicated to developing tools that help lower the cost of security programs, making program development more efficient and establishing security as a recognized value center. For more information about the Council, visit