Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced new global aviation security measures Wednesday regarding overseas airports that have direct flights to the United States.
In remarks to the Center for New American Security, Kelly said the measures “will be both seen and unseen, and they will be phased in over time.”
As many in the airline industry expected, the DHS chief said the measures will include greater scrutiny of passengers entering the US, enhanced screening of electronic devices, and better deployment of canines that detect explosives. He also said that his department “will encourage more airports to become pre-clearance locations.”
Kelly said that if carriers refuse to follow the new security measures, they could be included in a laptop ban or be banned from operating direct flights to the United States. The agency says the move is a way to address the threat that intelligence suggests is looming without having to do an all-out laptop ban.
In the speech, Kelly said, “The threat has not diminished. In fact, I am concerned that we are seeing renewed interest on the part of terrorist groups to go after the aviation sector.” He cited the new measures as a first step in raising “the global baseline of aviation security,” making “it harder for terrorists to succeed.”
DHS would not detail all of the new security requirements for security reasons. Agency officials speaking on background said the measures are a directive for airlines to follow since DHS does not have jurisdiction over foreign airports. They do, however, have jurisdiction over air carriers with direct flights to the US.
Earlier this month, Kelly told CNN that the 10 airports that were first hit with the laptop ban would be given an opportunity to get off the list if they took certain measures. DHS says countries currently under the laptop ban can get off the list if the new measures are implemented all at their airports.
DHS did not give a solid date for when the new measures would go into effect, saying only it will be up to the airlines to determine how quickly they can get up to speed.