TSA Announces Key Elements of Registered Traveler Program

RT program providers will collect 10 fingerprint images from each applicant

The Registered Traveler programs will be market-driven and offered by the private sector. Individual participation in a Registered Traveler program will be entirely voluntary, with prices established by private sector providers. TSA will mandate a core RT security assessment for each applicant to a Registered Traveler program. If RT providers undertake more in-depth security background checks (e.g., by using commercial data specifically authorized by customers, or by other voluntary means), TSA will offer a variety of enhanced or time-saving participant benefits at passenger screening checkpoints. Participants may receive significant efficiency benefits over what exists today, if additional security is added by a more thorough background check.

We know that terrorists may seek to exploit the Registered Traveler program, and the program must be designed to thwart those efforts. Therefore, program benefits will change from time to time in order to make it more difficult for terrorists to anticipate our security activities. Further, TSA will not exempt Registered Traveler participants from random additional screening.

If the RT businesses wish to make investments in approved screening equipment, fund additional screeners, and/or obtain space for separate RT screening, then TSA is prepared to authorize the use of dedicated screening lanes or alternative screening locations for RT participants.

Today's announcement is the latest progress point in a plan announced by Hawley last fall that is expected to lead to TSA approval of qualified RT programs by June of this year.

On December 15, 2005, TSA issued a Request for Information to assist in the identification of one or more business models for the program that can meet the requirement for nationwide interoperability, be sustained solely through user fees, and provide scalable and sustainable operations. Responses to the Request for Information are due to the agency on January 20, 2006.

Respondents were asked to describe business process options for the following functions:

* Enrollment and biometric capture * Identity/document validation at enrollment * Card issuance and revocation * Data transfer and storage throughout the system * Interface technology for the smart card and verification system * Audit processes and procedures * Compensation for participating entities * Identification verification at the security checkpoint * Membership renewal Respondents were also asked to: * Define and estimate the applicant volume necessary to support any capital/infrastructure investments that would be required, operational costs, and pricing assumptions in their business model; * Define the fee structure and flow of funds to participating entities under their business model; and * Identify the roles of service providers and any possible contractual relationship.

By late April, TSA expects to (1) select an entity to certify service providers and manage compliance, (2) issue recommended amendments to Airport Security Plans (ASPs) establishing requirements for airport checkpoint verification providers; and (3) receive plans from interested parties for achieving interoperability among Registered Traveler programs.

Media Contact: TSA Public Affairs, +1-571-227-2829

SOURCE Transportation Security Administration

CONTACT: Transportation Security Administration Public Affairs, +1-571-227-2829

<<PR Newswire -- 01/23/06>>