Safety promotion, the fourth cornerstone of the SeMS
program, focuses on developing a security culture. This
means that all employees are responsible for security,
are fully trained and are aware of their security
roles and responsibilities. It also means that two-way
communication exists to ensure that issues reported,
anonymously or otherwise, are properly addressed.
Other elements of a security culture can include
internal surveys, incentive programs, security
newsletters, security posters, special events that
focus on security, and a security reporting system. In
addition, daily briefings and debriefings, an airport
security hotline, and an SeMS webpage are effective at
promoting security throughout the airport.
Boston Logan International provides a good example
of a security culture. Ever since 9/11, the airport
director has hosted a morning meeting at which
security areas and issues are discussed. A critical
component of this meeting is that it is hosted and
attended by the management team rather than assistants
and staff members. For security to be a priority, the
security committee must include decision-makers, not
While SeMS can be implemented airport-wide, there
are phased approaches that can be used to solve certain
issues, such as regulatory compliance. One U.S. airport
is using SeMS principles to resolve tenant compliance
issues that often result in TSA letters of investigation.
The airport is adopting the Part 139 self-inspection
model and creating a security inspection process.
Unfortunately, many airport directors are reluctant to
implement SMS, much less SeMS, fearing that they will
get ahead of FAA regulations and then have to make
changes. They also may fear that they are exposing
themselves to liability.
San Antonio’s O’Krongley stated that his airport
doesn’t have those fears, reasoning that it’s better to
defend being proactive than reactive and noting that
the airport’s existing SMS already has achieved the
most important component of the program — a culture
“If [FAA’s SMS rulemaking] is 180 degrees from what
we’re doing, we’ll change, but we won’t have to change
the culture,” O’Krongley noted.
While TSA has not made any mention of SeMS
requirements for airports, both SMS and SeMS are
proactive management principles that may reduce real
liability, mitigate real risks and prevent real incidents
from happening at airports. A
Lori Beckman, A.A.E., is president of Aviation Security Consulting Inc.
She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Price, C.M., is principal of Leading Edge Strategies and a
professor of aviation at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. He
may be reached at email@example.com.
General Security – General Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee Jersey Barriers – Reagan Washington National