GA Security Under Scrutiny...

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TSA, FAA Critiqued By Government Watchdog

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has not conducted a thorough assessment of the vulnerabilities of general aviation to determine how to better prepare against terrorist threats, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report, based on a yearlong study, found the TSA has made some progress in developing and implementing security guidelines, but just about every effort in training, communications and assessment seems to have fallen short. The FAA also took some flak in the report for failing to evaluate whether its continuing flight restrictions are worthwhile. The GAO said it has made a recommendation for the FAA "to take action to ensure that temporary flight restrictions issued for indefinite periods are reviewed and, if appropriate, revalidated and consistently applied."

The GAO found fault with the TSA's online training, saying it's inadequate and there's no plan to monitor or assess the results. The GAO also found limitations in the compliance inspections of flight-training programs. The report further noted that even if the TSA does manage to establish new security requirements for general aviation airports, nobody knows where the money would come from for airport operators to meet these requirements. The report said GA pilots, passengers and businesses have lost more than $1 billion since the Sept. 11 attacks due to increased costs, lost revenues and additional operating costs.