NORAD, USNORTHCOM host Aviation/Transportation Security Conference

By Chief Petty Officer Susan Hammond NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs


PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – U.S. Northern Command, the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Transportation Security Administration hosted the second annual Interagency Aviation/Transportation Security Conference Sept. 6-8.

As the nation remembered the lives lost or changed forever five years ago in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the conference focused attention on enhancing security and ensuring such atrocities as Sept. 11 never occur again on American soil.

With hundreds of federal, state and local agencies and offices responsible for providing safe transportation, coordination is challenging and critical. For those reasons, NORAD and USNORTHCOM’s Interagency Coordination Directorate, Joint Interagency Coordination Group, and TSA brought together representatives from 33 U.S. and Canadian agencies to discuss government and private industry responsibilities in identifying threats and coordinating tasks to mitigate those threats. More than 120 security partners participated in the conference.

“We could ensure 100 percent security in transportation,” said Dave Fulton, “but that would close down commerce and our way of life.” Fulton, the conference coordinator, is TSA's resident agency representative at NORAD and USNORTHCOM. TSA’s mission is to protect the nation’s transportation system to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce, he said.

Canadian Forces Lt.-Gen. Eric A. Findley, NORAD deputy commander, opened the conference with the words, “Not on our watch,” and encouraged the audience to remember that any hole in security will be exploited.

“The conference covered all our objectives,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Kurt W. DeVoe of NORAD and USNORTHCOM’s Interagency Coordination Directorate. “First, we had tremendous information sharing. It was an excellent opportunity to have representatives from the different agencies share how they fit into the big puzzle.

“Secondly,” DeVoe continued, “it was important to build relationships, to meet the players before a crisis, and to put faces to names and agencies."

Agencies represented at the conference included the Federal Aviation Administration, Customs and Border Protection, Federal Air Marshal Service, United States Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Transport Canada Air Intelligence, Canadian Air Marshals, as well as various U.S. Department of Defense and Government of Canada commands.

Conference briefings included such topics and aviation security operations, surveillance of airspace, flight restrictions, the “no-fly” list, law enforcement interdiction, hijacking response procedures, freight, cargo, highway and motor carrier overviews, mass transit and pipeline security.

DeVoe said the next conference will focus on specific issues and how all modes of aviation and transportation are intermixed