Often the standard of proof to determine whether an airport has taken its due diligence in its safety and security responsibilities is to
determine which practices are currently in place and
whether these practices are in common use or are
Los Angeles International on Nov. 1, 2013, was
put to the compliance or preparedness test when an
active shooter stepped into Terminal 3, killed TSA
officer Gerardo Hernandez and injured three others
before being stopped by airport police. Los Angeles
International Director of Emergency Management John
Kinney, C.M., titled his after-action report presentation
Prepared?” (See Kinney’s article on the active shooter
event on page 16 of this issue.) There is a big difference.
Prepared means considering all aspects of security.
Prepared means being proactive. Prepared means
going above the regulatory minimum requirements.
One way to achieve this level of preparedness is the
implementation of Security Management Systems
(SeMS), the lesser-known cousin of Safety Management
A body of work on SeMS has been pioneered by the
International Air Transport Association (IATA), and
the association now mandates the adoption of the core
elements of SeMS as a condition of membership.
In the U.S., the San Antonio Airport System is using
the momentum from its highly successful SMS program
to implement SeMS.
“We’re implementing SeMS for the same reason we
saw to implement SMS,” explained Tim O’Krongley,
A.A.E., assistant aviation director at San Antonio
International. “We saw the benefit from it right away.
It’s being proactive rather than reactive. While we were
developing a safety culture, it was a natural fit to go
In San Antonio’s case, officials don’t have significant
security issues that they hope SeMS will solve. Instead,
they view it as an improvement to security, similar to
the improvements they’ve seen on the SMS side.
As with SMS, SeMS has four core components: policy,
risk management, assurance and promotion. Similar
to SMS, SeMS can be used to target specific problems,
such as employees not challenging individuals who
lack proper identification in the Security Identification
Display Area or employees failing to employ
security controls during airfield construction. SeMS
also can be applied throughout the entire airport
infrastructure. An effective SeMS can help to reduce
TSA letters of investigation and, most importantly,
mitigate or eliminate a potential threat to airport or
Canine Team – Reagan Washington National Airport
FAA promised to roll out the long-awaited safety management system
(SMS) rulemaking in January 2015.
But what about security? Is meeting
TSA’s regulatory requirements really
enough? Does “compliant” really
mean that you are prepared?