By Tonya K. Townsell, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsDecember 12, 2011
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Monterey is the testbed for expedited screening for service members traveling through the local airport.
If the pilot is successful, U.S. service members across the nation will be able to use special lanes at other participating airports to pass more quickly through airport security, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
Starting mid-November, members of the U.S. Armed Forces traveling out of Monterey Peninsula Airport began presenting their DOD identification, known as a CAC card, to the travel document checker at the checkpoint for scanning as part of the card-reading pilot.
The pilot in Monterey is designed to only test the technology and IT connectivity necessary to verify the status of U.S. service members. That's the purpose, to see if the scanners can read service members' military ID, the release said, explaining that no change in physical screening will occur at this time.
Monterey was selected as a site to test the ID validation only due to its proximity to the technical team headquarters. The close proximity allows the team to ensure the technology can be installed and function properly in an airport setting.
If successful, the card reading pilot could pave the way for members of the Armed Forces to be included in the TSA Precheck expedited screening program, known as TSA Pre"".
All members of the United States Armed Forces may use the program. This includes members of the National Guard and Reserve Components, as well as members of the US Coast Guard.
TSA is in the business of mitigating risk, not eliminating it, the release said, adding that the only way to completely eliminate risk is to stop traveling, and that's simply not viable.
Service members possess Common Access Cards (CAC), which are machine readable electronic cards containing verifiable information through a central employment status database. Using these cards, in conjunction with a CAC card reader, TSA will be able to verify passenger status as a member of the Armed Forces.
Also, random and unpredictable measures will be applied as part of TSA's layered approach so that the system cannot be "gamed."
If the card reader pilot is successful, U.S. service members will be able to use the TSA Pre"" lanes at participating airports and receive the same expedited screening benefits as other TSA Pre"" participants, which could include no longer removing the following items:
•3-1-1 compliant bag from carry-on
•Laptop from bag
This program will help strengthen security, according to the TSA.
The organization provided the example: If people think of it in terms of what it is that TSA is looking to find or stop--people who have ill intent and seek to do us harm--and make the pool of people 2 million a day. It is like looking for a needle in a hay stack.
By separating out the more low-risk people, such as members of the Armed Forces, we can focus our resources on travelers about whom we know less.
According to a CNN article, the TSA plans to expand the program to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport in the coming months.
If successful, TSA said, service members will eventually be able to use the TSA Pre"" lanes at participating airports nationwide.