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Aviation Security: Strategies for the '90s.

Author: Frank G. McGuire

Publisher: McGraw-Hill, Aerospace and Defense Group, 1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005; 1989, 99 pages, softback: $195

Reviewer: William P. Stump, Cpp; Executive Director of the Airport Security Council; Member of the ASIS Standing Committee on Transportation Security Aviation Security, is a collection of looseleaf, previously released reports by the State Department, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and other agencies. McGuire constantly bombards the reader with grim statistics and claims civil aviation is in a sad state of affairs. Those in the industry know better.

The subtitle promises strategies for the 90s, but none are offered. What readers get are age-old arguments to improve security by doing the obvious. In this case, however, the obvious involves complex legal, financial, and geopolitical systems.

Several times McGuire uses the security program of a small, government-controlled foreign air carrier as his model of security perfection. Yet even he questions the logic of that comparison.

The American civil aviation security program is the finest in the world. For example, since passenger screening was established in the United States, more than 45,000 firearms have been detected, 22,000 persons have been arrested, and nearly 120 highjackings have been prevented. In addition, airlines conducted 70,000 tests at checkpoints last year with a 96 percent detection rate.

McGuire devotes nearly 25 percent of Aviation Security to his conclusion and the appendix. In his concluding remarks, he admonishes readers that to be safe they should "not fly US or Israeli carriers, Western European carriers, or carriers from countries that have extremist groups, and bypass a carrier that has experienced either a bombing or a hijacking." He also admits travelers would be left with few options if they followed that advice.

Despite McGuire's doomsday premonitions, American civil aviation has taken many strategic actions to ensure proper security. Steps taken include

* requiring a computerized access control program for all airports (FAR 107.14),

* significantly increasing the number of FAA inspectors at foreign airports,

* developing new screener training standards,

* requiring thermal neutron analysis (TNA) machines at all domestic carrier terminals with international flights, and

* calling for a rewrite of airport security programs (FAR 107).

McGuire mentions those implementations with cynicism because he is convinced that American security professionals are overly impressed with technology.

The section on technology is thought provoking. As technology improves, the terrorist threat will likely decline. That was the case with hijacking, which was almost eliminated in the United States by the use of X-ray screening devices and the FAA sky-marshal program.

The introduction of Aviation Security promises a guide for aviation security professionals "who must know the political, technical, international, tactical, and emotional forces at work. " Unfortunately, McGuire only appeals to the emotions in civil aviation security.

I doubt that aviation security professionals will find this book useful. To most it would read like yesterday's news. At $195, this piece will have a limited run.
COPYRIGHT 1990 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Stump, William P.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 1, 1990
Words:486
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