Airport Screenings & Public Security Policy

Phase 1 IP

Airport Screenings & Public Security Policy

The purpose of this assignment is to explore the topic of aviation security as it relates to public safety policy and the issue of individual privacy. You have been directed to write a policy memo for your boss, who is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security (House Committee on Homeland Security Web site). Using the resources provided below, as well information from resources you identify through your own research efforts, your assignment is to craft a briefing memo of 900–1,200 words that focuses on the questions posed below.

Assignment Guidelines

  • Students must address the following in 900–1,200 words:
    • The United States, as well as many other countries and airlines, had experienced criminal and terrorist incidents before September 11, 2001. Why had previous incidents not resulted in the dramatic increases in and focus on aviation security that the 9/11 attacks did? Explain.
      • How was 9/11 different from an aviation security standpoint? Explain.
    • While there have been further attempts to strike the United States by attacking commercial aircraft since 9/11 (e.g., the “shoe bomber” and the “underwear” bomber), none have been successful. How have the steps and measures taken to improve aviation security since 9/11 contributed to the lack of success of the terrorists? Explain.
      • What role did the various layers of aviation security play in preventing the attempted attacks after 9/11? Explain.
      • Were the effective layers tactical, policy driven, or a combination of both? Explain.
    • Since the regulation that requires the aircraft’s cockpit door to be bullet-proof and securely locked before the aircraft leaves the terminal took effect, it is, for all practical purposes, impossible for a terrorist passenger to gain control of an aircraft. Given this change in risk profile, are other layers of security as necessary as before? Why or why not?
      • Given the number of years after 9/11 without successful aviation attacks, should some security procedures be relaxed? Why or why not?
        • What are the vulnerabilities and risks if they were? Explain.
          • Do not write possible scenarios here; rather, identify points of failure and other threats or risks to the aircraft, passengers, and nation).
    • TSA agents have the right to physically inspect any and all material and persons who are boarding or being loaded onto an aircraft in the United States. With X-ray machines, bomb-sniffing machines, and dogs checking all luggage and passengers, are physical inspections of luggage that allow TSA agents open and look through personal bags necessary? Why or why not?
      • What are the laws that provide TSA with their authority? Describe them.
      • Are the practices undertaken by TSA too intrusive? Why or why not?
    • The Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights provides protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. How should the United States balance that right against the security needs of the flying public? Explain.
      • Has a balance been reached?
      • If not, in what direction do the scales need to be tipped and how?
  • Compile your responses in your final policy memo, and submit the file to your instructor.
  • Be sure to reference all sources using APA style.




The purpose of this project is for you to conduct research on the topic of emerging technologies that are supporting the nation’s homeland security mission areas of prevention, protection, response, and recovery. Your research should include the following:

  • Government Web sites and press releases
  • Archived interviews with HS and public safety officials (you are not expected to conduct interviews)
  • Information provided via the Web sites of private-sector companies that develop, manufacture, and sell HS-focused technologies
  • News articles
  • Web sites of critical infrastructure facilities
  • Any type of scholarly resource

Based upon the findings of your research, you are to craft a briefing memo of 1,000–1,250 words targeted to your jurisdiction’s chief elected official. The memo should address the key research questions below.

Assignment Guidelines

  • The briefing memo of 1,000–1,250 words must address the following:
    • What new technologies have emerged in the years since September 11, 2001? Explain.
    • Of the critical infrastructure sectors identified by DHS, which ones have received the most focus since 9/11? Why?
    • Currently, what are the primary focus areas (sectors and types of technologies) of research and development for new HS technologies? Explain.
    • Have efforts in the past been focused on the left of boom side or the right of boom sideof the incident spectrum? What is the focus now? Why?
    • Have any events that have occurred after 9/11 served as catalysts for new areas of technological research and development or investment? Explain.
    • Of the new technologies that have emerged, whether they are deployed or not, what successes have been realized? What failures have occurred? Explain in detail.
    • From the perspective of how people move around in society, interact with each other, and access services, what impacts have any of the new technologies had on the lives of ordinary citizens? Explain.
      • What impacts has advanced technology had on you personally? Explain.
  • Compile your responses in your final briefing memo and submit the file to your instructor.
  • Be sure to reference all sources using APA style.

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