A Personal View expressed by Jonathan Joohyung Lee
The Final Word

A Personal View expressed by Jonathan Joohyung Lee

I have worked in aviation security within the Asian region for more than 24 years, and during this time I have had the chance to visit many countries and airports in the region. What I have learnt is that, in my experience, there are no perfect security measures or systems in the aviation industry. The most important and fundamental element is to protect civil aviation from acts of unlawful interference, and, to do so, you must understand the real threats and risks. Without appreciating the threats and risks in aviation, suitable measures are never prepared effectively.

Jim Marriott, the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) former Deputy Director, Aviation Security and Facilitation, said in an ICAO journal interview, “The challenge for aviation security is that aviation security threats today continue to evolve. Our task is to anticipate those future threats and get out ahead of them”. This means ICAO also knows how critical it is to share information, which is a basic factor for developing effective security measures.

ICAO realised the importance of risk assessment back in 2001 and has since included many risk assessment requirements in the various amendments to Annex 17. Recently, in the Asian region, ICAO has conducted numerous seminars and workshops on security threats and risks assessment. I was fortunate enough to have the chance to participate in the ICAO risk assessment workshop held in Seoul, South Korea in September 2018. I learned a lot about how to manage aviation security threats and risks. Also, I found out the importance of threat information sharing; the main point being that without pertinent threat information from authorities, specific risk assessments cannot be properly conducted at all.

Since the workshop, risk assessment has been the main focus of my research. In my thorough study on the subject, I realised there are many methodologies for risk assessment. ICAO, Airports Council International (ACI) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) training introduce different methodologies to assess threats and risks in aviation. Indeed, different techniques are used to determine the threats and risks at each airport.

Jonathan Joohyung Lee

I am not suggesting that risk assessment methodologies worldwide should be standardised. However, I am emphasising the importance of information sharing of threats and risks.

In reality, due to sensitivity of the information, most airports in this region are not well informed in terms of aviation security threat and risk intelligence. Also, in some countries, only the government agencies concerned hold aviation threat related intelligence, and do not share such information in a timely and effective manner. So, it is not feasible for the industry to prepare countermeasures or mitigation measures to respond to imminent threats.

We should not forget the lesson from the Pan Am incident which occurred in 1988. It is well known that one of the reasons the bombing of Pan Am succeeded was due to the lack of threat and risk information sharing between the government agencies and industries. Also, many AVSEC experts argue that had there been proper information sharing systems in place, the 9/11 incident could have been prevented. I totally agree with this.

…we need to be provided with intelligence regarding the nature of the threat we are up against…

In the Asia region, it is not easy for governments and industries to talk and share sensitive information with each other. Sometimes governments do not trust their civilian operators to adequately guard sensitive intelligence. That is why most airline operators do not have enough threat information, which is normally handled by the intelligence organisations.

Experienced AVSEC professionals understand that terrorists consistently develop new techniques and methods to achieve their ultimate goal, and keep changing their tactics to hit their target successfully. When I reviewed aviation terrorism history, I found out that the first aviation terrorists used firearms. However, gradually they have changed their tools to normal bombs, shoe bombs, liquid bombs, underwear bombs and, more recently, laptop bombs. They are even trying to use chemical or biological weapons to attack the aviation industry. Recently, the US government warned that terrorists are trying to use powder-based weapons to attack civil aviation.

To develop preventive measures against these types of evolving threats, I strongly believe we need to be provided with intelligence regarding the nature of the threat we are up against. This can be achieved by developing proper communication channels for threat and risk information within the organisations and industries concerned. By developing a proper, real-time information sharing system, we will be better equipped to effectively and efficiently counter acts of unlawful interference.

The good news is that ICAO has recognised the importance of information sharing and has adopted a new requirement on security information sharing in its Amendment 16 to Annex 17, which became effective on 16 November 2018.

Jonathan Joohyung Lee is Deputy Security Director, Incheon International Airport, Republic of Korea. He has been working in the aviation security field for more than 24 years, is a member of ACI WSSC and RASC, and is an ICAO USAP-CMA auditor. Contact: jjlee@airport.kr

The Final Word

A Personal View expressed by Jim Marriott

What does the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) do for aviation security and what more should it do?

It always seems appropriate to look at these questions because aviation security risks are always present, the management of these risks shapes all aspects of civil aviation, ICAO has an ambitious security mandate and it is always accountable.

Now, in the lead-up to ICAO’s Second Global Aviation Security Symposium and Second High-level Conference on Aviation Security, to be held consecutively at ICAO’s Headquarters in Montréal, Canada from 26 to 30 November 2018, there is no better time.

ICAO has among its five strategic objectives: “Enhance global civil aviation security and facilitation”. This places security firmly among the top priorities of the Organization and helps ensure that the prevention of unlawful interference with civil aviation is always front of mind. With good reason, ICAO recognises that security and facilitation are inseparable, and both are essential to counter-terrorism and to ensuring that the efficiency of civil aviation is optimised.

The ICAO Business Plan 2017-2019 tells us that continuous aviation security and facilitation improvements are the priority. The Organization’s goals focus on enhancing the capabilities of States to reduce the level of risk posed by existing, new and emerging threats to civil aviation and border integrity. It aims to achieve these goals through effective regulatory oversight frameworks and implementation of countermeasures and responses commensurate with the level of threat, as well as a harmonised global policy framework.

ICAO uses many tools for aviation security risk reduction. The Global Risk Context Statement provides a collaborative assessment of threats, vulnerabilities and consequences to inform policy-making at all levels. The Standards and Recommended Practices of Annex 17 together with relevant guidance material establish the common baseline security measures. Oversight audits of all States verify and report on implementation of Annex 17. Assistance and training activities as well as information-sharing platforms provide direct support in overcoming deficiencies. The ICAO Traveller Identification Programme helps assure the integrity of travel documents. ICAO’s latest tool, the Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP), is a comprehensive framework for co-ordinated security enhancement, which is relevant to all aspects of civil aviation and its stakeholders.

These, and others, are sensible and essential practical programmes and activities that contribute to making steady progress in reducing vulnerabilities.

It is worth recalling at this point that terrorism is the principal security threat driving ICAO. While defining terrorism stirs endless debate, recognising the consequences of terrorism does not. Among them are the division – and widening of existing divisions – that terrorism creates between peoples, within and between States or regions, between the public sector and the private sector, and elsewhere. The divisions caused by terrorism destabilise governments, companies and citizens, create uncertainty, change agendas, divert resources from other purposes and in so many ways challenge the foundations on which progress is built. There are too many examples of these consequences arising from attacks and threats involving civil aviation.

…aviation security can polarise opinion and become a political lightening rod…

In the face of these unwanted consequences, the most important – and often overlooked – values that ICAO brings to aviation security are unity and action. Whether this is aimed at shedding light on the complexity of risks, streamlining or sharpening security measures, engaging key players, identifying means to address new threats or assisting states to do better in meeting their responsibilities, ICAO has been – and remains to be – in an essential and unique position. The importance of ICAO to success in aviation security has been underscored by the United Nations Security Council through its resolution 2309 (2016).

Fostering unity and mobilising action is not an easy task. Aviation security can polarise opinion and become a political lightening rod. Attitudes toward ‘security fatigue’, concern over the level of resources security consumes, incomplete information about risks and security methods, the complexity of risk management in a global environment, and political and policy strategy all inspire vigorous debate. Such debate must always be managed by ICAO so as to embrace the strength of diverse opinion that leads to innovation, consensus, commitment and results.

What more should ICAO – encompassing its Member States, governing bodies and Secretariat – do?

  1. Stay the course. The fundamentals for aviation security under ICAO’s mandate to be as effective as possible are in place. The GASeP is an excellent framework to guide progress and assess results.
  2. Cultivate unity at all times. The history of aviation security is full of quickly recognised unifying transformational events that have driven security enhancement progress, such as Air India 182, Lockerbie, 9/11, and the 2006 liquids and 2010 air cargo plots. But it is during periods of relative calm that the threat landscape can be rigorously assessed and security measures can be enhanced in a balanced and clear-thinking manner. Unity must be recognised as the leading strategic enabler of aviation security risk reduction.
  3. Create, renew and refresh incentives for States and all relevant entities to effectively and efficiently implement aviation security. Among other things, these must intensify political will, drive the allocation of resources, expand technical capabilities and build co-operative arrangements, the progress of which must be demonstrable and measurable.

Best wishes for a successful symposium and high-level conference.

Jim Marriott has over 32 years of experience in aviation security with Transport Canada and as ICAO’s Deputy Director, Aviation Security and Facilitation. He is currently an independent aviation security and facilitation consultant.

A Personal View: Expressed by Tony Blackiston
The Final Word

A Personal View: Expressed by Tony Blackiston

As we approach IATA’s AVSEC World Day in Athens, there is no doubt in my mind that an old chestnut will reappear. There will be a rally cry from the numerous panellists and delegates along the lines of, “We must address the current and emerging security challenges by sharing information, using international best practices and pooling resources – we are stronger together!”

With that said, I want to share with you that I intend to engage in a form of word bingo. Some of you may be familiar with the game, but instead of shouting out “Bingo!” each time the rally cry or the sentiment appears, I will simply smile broadly – not because I’m cynical but because I can’t help but acknowledge the reference as EITHER a missed opportunity OR part of an exciting new chance for our industry to move forward

A big part of moving forward is the wonderful opportunity that I have just mentioned. Have I gone completely mad? I’m talking, of course, about the recently released ICAO’s Global Aviation Security Plan or GASeP.

You are probably smiling now (for another reason) and thinking, ‘I’ve heard all this before from ICAO and States in the form of the Comprehensive Security Plan whereby States committed to do all they could to plug security shortcomings and to meet ICAO’s minimum security standards and recommended practices…and nothing really changed!’ I don’t think that is entirely true but certainly there was not enough change. Moving forward, I want to make it clear that I believe a lot has now changed with the adoption of the GASeP and there is potential for change in the future through it.

Like many people, I do not think the GASeP is perfect, but when all parties agree to focus on the five key priorities and implement the respective regional roadmaps, then this is a good springboard to fundamentally improve global security. I was encouraged to see the GASeP incorporate a risk-based approach. From an industry perspective I hope that in the future we will see greater emphasis on sustainable solutions that incorporate technical advances in facilitation, cater for innovation and remove redundant security processes.

….without clear metrics to measure performance, the GASeP risks being irrelevant…

What makes the current GASeP different to past plans is the clearly defined and shared roles for industry – it’s not just about States now. So what makes this a wonderful opportunity? Well, I hope we are witnessing a shift from States commonly telling aviation participants how to mitigate risks without consultation to a situation in which industry can be involved in the “whats, whens, wheres and hows” to meet the challenges. This is the first time, that I am aware of, where ICAO is formally saying to “interested parties from industry” (and I will come back to this point later) that they have roles to play and need to be involved in the solutions to address the five key GASeP priorities. To many, this may appear to be just a symbolic gesture, but I believe it is much more. States (via ICAO) have formally acknowledged the role that industry plays (whether that be airlines, airport, service providers, contractors, etc). You may say industry is already involved in part with some of the decision-making, so why is this so significant? I would suggest that by naming industry in the GASeP, States and industry now have to formally show that they are working towards common goals and in fact there is a need to report periodically (and that includes industry) to ICAO on how these goals are being achieved.

For many years, industry has been lobbying for a greater say in security decision-making. Many international security best practices come from within industry, particularly in the area of key performance indicators and performance management, and these areas will be crucial to the success of the GASeP. Without clear metrics to measure performance, the GASeP risks being irrelevant.

I was fortunate to recently attend the ICAO Regional Security Conference in Panama where the Contracting States representing South America and the North America and Caribbean ICAO regions affirmed their commitment to the GASeP via the ICAO Regional Roadmap. I had two clear takeaways from this conference. Firstly, ICAO, States and industry in the regions confirmed their willingness to seek opportunities to work closely together and secondly a number of airlines were present. In fact, one very senior and experienced airline security professional confided that this was the first ICAO meeting he had ever attended. I was both pleased that he was present and saddened that his wealth of experience and knowledge had not been captured and shared at past ICAO events.

In conclusion, I’m clearly happy that industry is mentioned in the GASeP or more specifically mentioned as “interested parties from industry” and let me assure all, industry (I speak from airline experience) is a VERY INTERESTED PARTY and let’s smile because if GASeP is used correctly it will allow all to work together to achieve common goals.

The Final Word

A Personal View

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, like many other European airports, is facing another busy summer. Flying is more popular than ever thanks to a better economy and relatively low fares.

Meanwhile, we have to make sure there is a smooth process in place for all those passengers. As an airport, you cannot do this alone; you have to depend on many stakeholders like border control, customs, airlines, security and handling companies. In fact, managing an airport can feel rather like conducting an orchestra; everybody has to play in tune. What makes it more complicated is that those stakeholders can sometimes have different objectives; private companies want or need to make money and provide good customer service while public organisations have to inspect, check and sometimes stop passengers.

We pride ourselves on our excellent public/private cooperation; we have even formalised the relationship! There is a platform, which is dually chaired by the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security and the CEO of Schiphol Group. This is essential for a co-operation such as ours and ensures commitment from the highest level.

It was not always like this. Like so many innovations in the industry, creating this platform was the result of a major incident at Schiphol Airport: a diamond robbery which took place airside in 2005, and the subsequent public enquiry. One of the conclusions was that the airport had hundreds of cameras, which were not allowed to be utilised by the government, even though many government agencies were working at or around the airport. Only by court order were images distributed to the appropriate authorities. The government therefore decided to set up a fund to expand camera use and make cameras available to public parties, with the condition that the private entities involved would contribute an equal share into the fund. Thus, the first official public/private cooperation at Schiphol Airport was born.

Now, since the official start in 2006, we have a Steering Committee – the ‘engine’ of the platform – which is co-chaired by our COO and the security director of the appropriate authority. The committee has eight working groups incorporated into it: the airport AVSEC committee, the border control committee, cargo security & customs control, criminality & public safety, and even cyber security.

We have also incorporated our National Aviation Security Committee and the Schiphol Aviation Security committee, required by ICAO Annex 17, into the platform structure.

Of course, there are terms of reference drawn up, but more important is the agreement that the daily needs of (aviation) operations inform conversations and decisions made by the platform. Every party in the platform still has its own responsibilities, but there has been a definite shift in culture over the years towards a more open and co-operative method of working. The different parties now help each other in difficult times, without attributing blame to one another in the press and, most importantly, encourage each other to do better or more.

…managing an airport can feel rather like conducting an orchestra; everybody has to play in tune…

A good example is the cooperation between customs and border police: when there was a lack of staff to check passports, customs employees were trained to do this work and helped out last summer. Also getting our new CT equipment to work was the result of effective cooperation.

…different parties now help each other in difficult times, without attributing blame to one another in the press and, most importantly, encourage each other to do better…

Of course, we in the Netherlands have a big advantage: one large hub airport and short travel distances between the airport and our government capital makes meeting each other much easier than in other, larger countries. But everyone has a form of public/private cooperation at his or her airport or even harbour. Embrace it. Make it more intensive –because nowadays not working together is not an option. Besides that, it can be fun and can provide energy, encouragement and support to everyone involved.

So let us cooperate – everywhere with everyone; there is no alternative!