DCA Access Delayed...

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Armed Officer Debate Slows Process

Inspired by government resolve to reopen the airport to GA, and in spite of the National Business Aviation Association's planned June 23 welcome-back-to-DCA reception, it doesn't look like GA flights will be landing at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) anytime soon. Some may find irony in the fact that the security requirement that created the most contention among GA operators is the one that's holding up the process with security gurus. Homeland Security officials are now apparently pondering the wisdom of actually inserting gun-carrying people onto airplanes that would not normally have such firepower. We speak, of course, of the requirement for DCA-bound GA flights to carry an armed law enforcement officer. According to the Washington Times, an unnamed TSA employee says the mandarins now must determine who qualifies as a law enforcement officer. Former TSA boss David Stone said that to ride shotgun on the bizjets that will use DCA, the guards must be law enforcement officers "in good standing." Nine days later he left the post and the lingering question of what exactly a law enforcement officer in good standing is. Does that mean moonlighting police officers, FBI agents looking to make a few extra bucks, or does a Brinks guard qualify? What about park rangers and conservation officers?