National Safe Skies – PARAS 0016 – Airport Security Vulnerabilities

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Louisville, Tennessee

Ross & Baruzzini was first selected to develop an aviation industry reference publication on Airport Perimeter Security. The guide provides aviation professionals with principles, measures, and implementation considerations to address perimeter security at airports. The intention was to offer information that is applicable to airports of various types and sizes in addressing perimeter vulnerabilities and identifying mitigation strategies.

The National Safe Skies Association retained Ross & Baruzzini to parlay our aviation sector experience into an industry reference for conducting threat, risk, vulnerability, and security program analyses across a broad spectrum of industries. The research plan describes each step individually and includes an airport Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) process comprised of the following components:

  • Asset Characterization
  • Threat Characterization
  • Consequence Analysis
  • Vulnerability Analysis
  • Threat Likelihood Analysis
  • Risk Analysis
  • Risk Management

The research approach identified and documented best practices in SVA planning and execution through completion of the following tasks:

Task 1: Amplified Work Plan (AWP) – The AWP solidifies the research tasks and resources to complete them. Early coordination enabled successful completion of the project and development of guidance to achieve these objectives:

  • Summarize applicable documents, reports and other pertinent information available both inside and outside the aviation industry;
  • Provide sample templates or checklists to assist airports in conducting the assessment;
  • Identify methodologies to develop a risk ranking to prioritize security vulnerabilities to an individual airport;
  • Provide information to consider for cost-benefit analysis;
  • Provide guidance to develop an action plan based on the risk ranking in conjunction with cost-benefit analysis; and
  • Identify considerations that may prompt an update of all or a portion of the assessment.

Task 2: Literature Review – Review available literature to establish requisite information applicable to SVAs within and beyond the aviation sector. Findings from the literature review provide a comprehensive bibliography as an appendix for users to conduct further, self-paced learning.

Task 3: Stakeholder Outreach and Engagement – Engaged various airport stakeholders, operators and the Safe Skies panel to collect information relating to the execution of SVAs. The result identified potential challenges users may experience and provide strategies to overcome obstacles.

Creation of checklists and templates supporting SVA executions, risk ranking methodology and benefit/cost analysis information were outputs from this task.  Checklists step the user through the methodology and is organized to address and prioritize areas including critical landside, terminal and airside assets and functions. Benefit/cost analyses determines which estimated costs of materials, labor, and relevant loading factors should be applied to calculated cumulative discounted cash flows, net present value, internal rate of return and the anticipated discount payback period.

Task 4: Develop a Security Mitigation Action Plan – To effectively apply vulnerability and risk data, it is vital to develop an action plan based on risk ranking and benefit/cost analysis. Utilizing SVA data developed in Task 3 effectively and efficiently identified mitigation strategies in a prioritized manner.

Task 5: Prepare and Submit Draft Guidance – Through successful application of the research plan, the team relied upon previous project experience and applied the optimum processes and procedures to conducting threat, risk and vulnerability assessments. The outcome comprehensively addresses best practices in methodologies, implementation, and reporting.

Another aspect of this task included the subsequent outreach to four external review teams to validate the guidance and provide feedback, which was highly complementary and eagerly anticipated when available for use to industry.

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