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National Transportation Security Branch Essay


Introduction

The national transport security branch is concerned with collection, assessment, and dissemination of intelligence information regarding transportation security. Aviation and Transport Security Act (ATSA) grants the transport security administration (TSA) the authority to take charge of security matters in all forms of transportation including aviation (Wadsworth, Pietra & Teufel, 2008). In addition, TSA is responsible for assessing threats that might possibly affects different modes of transportation.

For effectiveness to be realized, officials of the national transport security branch are expected undergo well organized trainings to ensure that they are able to identify and report any suspicious activities as they do their work. To report any suspicious activities, members of the national security branch are required to submit surveillance detection reports electronically. These reports are later subjected to manual scrutiny to check the existed of familiar patterns or linkage to any other information affecting transportation security.

National Transportation Security Branch with Respect to Aviation Law

Under various Acts, the US Congress has given the national transportation security branch powers to deal with various security concerns. They include the Aviation and Transportation Act, Suppression of Terrorism Financing Act, and 9/11 Commission Implementation Act, among others.

Drawing from a study by Parsons and Neuman (2014), it is the responsibility of TSA to carry out security threat assessments on any individual who is not a US citizen as well as other who would like to receive flight instruction or training from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified flight trainers.

A major undertaking of the national transportation security branch is to see to it that individuals seeking training from flight schools that are under the watch of FAA are not a threat to transportation security. As pointed out by Parsons and Neuman (2014), it is illegal for flights schools that are authorized by FAA to offer training to any individual who has not been cleared by the Secretary of Homeland Security. This is meant to ensure that all security loopholes are completely sealed.

Ideally, security threat assessments have to be authorized by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act as well as Vision 100. By and large, security threat assessments encompass checks against law enforcement, immigration, and intelligence databases (Forest, 2006). The national transportation security branch is also expected to enroll fingerprints with relevant offices.

Individuals seeking to be trained by FAA regulated flight schools have to submit their background details and any required information to security threat assessment centers for scrutiny and profiling. Unless an individual present a formation training request, no security threat assessment can be undertaken.

After an individual makes a formal application, he or she is expected to undergo a thorough security check in order to determine his or her innocence. Among the details required for security threat assessment include the names of an applicant, his or her birth date, gender, country of birth, nationality, height, biometric information, and eye as well as hair color.

Often, security threat assessments include scrutinizing any suspected sources of threat as well as checking the authenticity of stored records. In the event that an applicant’s request for training is accepted, the national transportation security branch communicates with the applicant as well as the training provider and the individual may start training thereafter. Where a successful applicant is not able to commence training as scheduled, he or she must submit a new training request.

In the event that a request for training is declined or cancelled, the applicant as well as the flight training provider must receive communication indicating that the training is not authorized. In such instances, however, the applicant has a right to appeal against a decision to decline his or her application.

Aviation and Transport Security Act gives authority to the national transportation security branch to carry out various tasks including assessing threats to transportation, providing a link between the transportation security and law enforcers and dealing with any other issues that relate to transportation security. The Vision 100 – Century of Aviation Reauthorization on the other hand assigned the task of threat assessment to the national transportation security branch.

For effectiveness, transport security information may be shared among different bodies. Participating law enforcement agencies may be allowed access to shared security information for purposes of intelligence and reinforcement of security. To ensure that the shared information flows smoothly, the national transportation security branch develops partnerships with different components of the Department of Homeland Security.

The partnerships developed may also include other divisions that are not part of the Department of Homeland Security. The agencies include the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the US Coast Guard, and the United States Customs and Border Protection. Other federal entities covered include National Counterterrorism Center, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central intelligence Agency, and the US Department of Defense.

Access to sensitive security information may also be granted to selected local and state law enforcers. The purpose of this is to get those concerned with matters of law enforcement involved with issues of security in the transportation industry. The national transportation security branch is the custodian of sensitive security information that may be accessed and shared by law enforcers, intelligence, and any security agencies that are allowed to know.

Considering the sensitivity of the information that has to be collected about individuals, the US E-Government Act of 2002 expects the national transportation security branch to observe ethical issues touching on the privacy of individuals (Wadsworth et al., 2008). It is thus imperative to for those permitted to collect sensitive information about individuals to conduct an elaborate privacy impact assessment exercise.

The national transportation security branch is expected to be familiar with the kind of information that can be collected. To a large extent, the kind of information collected is about suspicious activities that may comprise aviation security in one way or another. This information may then be nicely organized and stored in the national transportation security branch database for reference.

Generally, the information collected about incidences include date, time, location and, where available, photos and videos. This is addition to specific information gathered about individuals such as names, addresses and other available identification details. In some cases, part of the information to be collected may be accessed from reports and databases that are kept by the national transportation security branch.

Ordinarily, the information that is kept by the national transportation security branch includes observations that are made by the different cooperating agencies and law enforcement teams that are responsible for transportation security. To some extent, data gathered by other organizations operating within the transportation sector may also be accessed by the national transportation security branch. The integrity of such information must, however, be ascertained before it can be relied upon.

This is to ensure that no one who is innocent is subjected to unfair treatment. Agencies cooperating with the national transportation security branch are required to record information about different incidences and securely submit the information gathered to the national transportation security branch for scrutiny and safe custody.

Although reports concerning suspicious activities may be submitted via email to the national transportation security branch, such information must be subjected to serious reviews and thoroughly investigated for any misgivings.

By and large, the information collected is mostly is used for detecting and defeating crime as well as terrorist acts throughout the transportation sector. The information collected may also be used to identify any malicious intentions by individuals or organized groups. The collection of information is usually undertaken by law enforcement officers. After collecting the information, the officers must ensure that it is well packaged and securely delivered to the national transportation security branch through an electronic means.

Legal Aspects of National Transportation Security Branch

The noticeable legal aspects of the national transportation security branch are quite varied. As has already been pointed out, there are various important considerations when it comes to transportation security. First and foremost, all agencies cooperating with the national transportation security branch to reinforce security are expected to exercise due diligence when collecting information that may threat the safety of the aviation sector.

To ensure that innocent individuals are not subjected to unfair treatment, cooperating agencies must see to it that any information that is collected is authentic and reliable (Johnson, 2007). The submission of the information must also be done promptly and securely. On receiving information from other agencies, the national transportation security branch must thoroughly scrutinize in order to ensure that whatever has been submitted is reliable.

As earlier explained, the US E-Government Act of 2002 requires the national transportation security branch to observe ethical issues when handling information presented to it by cooperating agencies (Wadsworth et al., 2008). Ethical issues include protecting the privacy of individuals, storing correct details about any individual, and where appropriate, allow individuals who have information about them stored by the national transportation security branch access to what is kept about them as long as no possible security risks are involved.

If the information kept about any individual is incorrect, the national transportation security branch must undertake to correct such information and ensure that no misrepresentation exists. An individual has a right to sue the national transportation security branch if he or she knows that the information that is stored about them is not correct and the national transportation security branch refuses to take the necessary steps to update their records and make the required changes to the stored information (Johnson, 2007).

It is thus in the interest of the national transportation security branch to do everything possible to ensure that what is stored about individuals is not misleading. Maintaining privacy is also an important requirement. To ensure that individuals who have information about them kept by the national transportation security branch are not at risk, it is imperative to safely store information about them. Such information must never be disclosed to any third party without the knowledge of the owners. Details about individuals that may end up in the wrong hands may be used maliciously against others and such usage may expose them danger.

Federal approved flight schools are also expected to exercise due diligence and to make sure that individuals from other countries applying to be trained in these schools must be exposed to serious background checks. These schools must also work closely with other components of US Homeland Security Department to seal any security loopholes.

The immigration department is, for example, required to thoroughly scrutinize applicants and where there are doubts, it is important to liaise with other stakeholders including the national transportation security branch as well as law enforcement agencies to seek clarity (Bullock & Haddow, 2006). Information about successful applicants should be shared by all agencies cooperating with the national transportation security branch.

However, the responsibility of securely storing such information is the responsibility of the national transportation security branch. Agencies that are authorized to access this information through a shared platform must sign a non-disclosure agreement retraining them from disclosing the information to any unauthorized parties. Where there are breaches, the guilty one must be subjected to a disciplinary action.

Personal Opinion on the Issues Discussed

In my personal judgment, transportation security is extremely important. Considering that cases of insecurity and terrorism have been on the rise, it is critical for all concerned parties to leave nothing to chance. Organized criminal groups have on several occasions planned and executed serious attacks on unsuspecting individuals and the attacks have had a very negative impact on different economies across the world. Unfortunately, it is airline companies that have suffered the greatest damage.

Generally, many people tend to avoid places that are considered to be insecure and consequently avoid traveling. The decision by individuals not to travel in ends up blocking an important revenue stream for airline companies. The repercussions are serious and include loss of employment for individuals working for the airline companies. In the same way, the government suffers by not getting revenue coming from airline companies.

Based on the discussion presented in this paper, it is obvious to me that all the concerned parties must be actively involved in matters of national transportation security. The national transportation security branch should sensitize all cooperating agencies on the importance of collecting vita details about individuals for the purpose of securing the nation. As noted earlier, due diligence must be exercised when gathering information about individuals.

The information collected must be securely stored and should only be accessed by authorized individuals. Although individuals who have information kept about them should be allowed to view what is kept about them, there are instances where such access should be denied.

This is especially when it is obvious that allowing an individual to access what is stored about them might lead to dangerous for the security of the nation. The national transportation security branch should be fully responsible for ensuring the safe custody of the stored information and should only provide access to authorized persons.

Conclusion

Transportation security is certainly a concern for all governments across the world and all those responsible for security in the transport sector including the aviation industry must do everything possible avert any cases of insecurity. Considering the complexity associated with the management of security in the transportation sector, it is imperative national transportation security branch to encourage collaboration among the cooperating agencies.

References

Bullock, J. & Haddow, G. (2006). Introduction to Homeland Security. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Forest, J. J. F. (2006). Homeland Security: Critical infrastructure. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Johnson, T. A. (2007). National Security Issues in Science, Law, and Technology. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Parsons, S. & Neuman, K. L. (2014). .

Wadsworth, R. C., Pietra, P. & Teufel, H. (2008). .

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IvyPanda. 2020. "National Transportation Security Branch." April 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/national-transportation-security-branch/.

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