Security System for an Airport Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Airport Security System

The secure operation of the aviation system across the globe is one of the most significant factors in the security and economic development of the United States. The use of the world's airspace should also be secured because aviation has become a major target for criminals. Actually, criminals, terrorists, and hostile nations increasingly consider aviation as a major target for exploitation and attack. An example of the security threats facing this industry is the 9/11 terror attacks, which highlighted the desire and ability of enemies to generate considerable harm to the United States. Therefore, aviation security is increasingly important in order to protect the country and its citizens from such attacks. According to Federal of American Scientists (2007), aviation security is realized through combination of private and public aviation security activities across the globe. These activities are then coordinated to detect, prevent, deter, and defeat threats that are likely to occur. In addition aviation security requires the development of an airport security system that enhances capabilities to deal with security threats at airports.

Airport Security System

Airport security is largely broken in the United States despite efforts by the government to enhance aviation security in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The American government responded to the 9/11 terror attacks by developing an unambiguous, comprehensive aviation security plan that focused on enhancing capabilities and measures to deal with threats in this industry. This response was characterized by major improvements to existing security methodologies, technologies, and operations through developing security systems in every aspect or component of the Aviation Transportation System. Moreover, the government created a scalable and dynamic security system in the aviation industry with the capability to respond to various levels of security threats. These flexible systems incorporated capabilities to respond to a series of present and future threats to the country and effectively lessen vulnerabilities within the Aviation Transportation System ("Aviation Transportation System Security Plan," 2007). Some of the major components of these flexible security systems include increased scrutiny of individuals in the aviation system and improvements in detecting threat objects and explosives.

Despite these numerous efforts in enhancing security of the aviation system, airport security still remains relatively broken. This is primarily because no single security measure is completely fail-safe and the increased measures by terrorists to develop techniques for defeating established security initiatives. In addition, airport security system is still largely disconnected and bureaucratic from individuals who it seeks to protect. Hawley (2012), states that preventing security threats at airports requires flexibility and ongoing reevaluation of security threats. This process also necessitates unwavering public support that the current aviation security systems have failed to generate and/or achieve.

Airports across the United States have experienced significant challenges in their airport security systems because of relatively wrong approach to risk. While these airports have made several efforts towards improving security, they have ended up complicating air travel for passengers and visitors. Therefore, the best possible measure for addressing current security challenges with the view of improving airport security is to develop and implement a state-of-the-art Airport Security System.

This state-of-the-art Airport Security System is oriented towards a primary commercial service airport in the United States. Actually, the system is targeted towards Greater Rochester International Airport, which is vulnerable to security attacks, particularly cyber attacks. The security systems that are meant to keep the airport safe are vulnerable to threats since they can be easily manipulated in case of an attack. Some of the security components with major flaws in this airport include explosive detectors, x-ray scanners, and time-clock. The implementation of a state-of-the-art security system will help in enhancing security at this primary commercial service airport. Improved security from this system will be brought by enhanced capabilities to detect, deter, prevent, and defeat security threats.

Airport Lay-out and Total Airport Security System

The state-of-the-art security system to be implemented in this primary commercial airport is Total Airport Security System (TASS). Generally, an airport is a complex and multi-faceted environment that is characterized by aircrafts, cargo, passengers, airport infrastructure, and crew. The complex nature of the airport environment and infrastructure generates a huge number of security challenges. This security system is designed to improve surveillance through offering real-time precise situational awareness to the security authorities at the airport.

The concept of Total Airport Security System is based on combining and fusing data from various kinds of real time sensors and sub-systems in various modes (Rusu, n.d.). Some of the modes in these sub-systems include fixed and mobile modes that are appropriate for operation across all environmental conditions in the airport. The array of sensors in this state-of-the-art airport security system is designed based on existing and new technologies. The integration and fusion of these technologies and sensors will create a centralized system that represents an innovative approach towards ensuring the airport is efficiently secured in a manner that does not affect passengers or aircrafts' flow at the airport.

The adoption and implementation of Total Airport Security System at the airport will be a reflection of the increased tendencies by airports to adopt complex security systems. Currently, more than 700 million passengers travel annually, which implies that over 700 million pieces of luggage are screened on annual basis. These pieces are usually screened for any dangerous items including explosives through the use of complex security systems. The purpose of using TASS in the airport is to facilitate the establishment of an advanced, integrated mechanism for enhanced security. Enhanced airport security is achieved because the system creates a complete airport situation intelligence solution with the capability of providing real-time, accurate situational awareness for all airport authorities and executives (Das, 2013). As a model of integrated security systems at an airport, Total Airport Security System comprises a range of systems and sensors that are developed to interoperate or share intelligence in a timely and coordinated way as shown in the Figure 1.

Figure 1: Total Airport Security System

The effectiveness of this state-of-the-art security system in enhancing airport security is attributable to its capability to deal with a wide range of security challenges or risks at an airport. Some of these challenges relate to airplanes, terminals, control tower, vehicles, hangars, passengers, crew, gasoline, and cargo as shown in Figure 2. Total Airport Security System is the next generation of security intelligence systems adopted by airports such as London's Heathrow Airport. Actually, this system can be described as fusion-based airport security intelligence system that provides the whole airport security and information sharing solution.

Airport Security Threats

(Conventional and Non-conventional Threats)

Airport Security Challenges


Control Tower








Total Airport Security Solution i.e. TASS Figure 2: Airport Security Challenges and Solution

As a fusion based airport security intelligence system, TASS will enable location-based video surveillance, which is a crucial aspect in enhancing airport security. In this case, the surveillance system will automatically direct CCTV cameras to a particular location depending on target location as obtained by external AVL/APL system. Moreover, location-based video surveillance provided by Total Airport Security System involves automatic video tracking after a moving target since the utilized cameras are soft and hard handover.

The other attributes of Total Airport Security System include lessening false security warning or alerts, three dimension (3D) indoor and outdoor visualization, integration of existing airport security technologies, and no interference with passengers flow. The lack of interference with passengers flow helps in avoiding delays in the current check-in and boarding procedures (Hazzani, 2011). Through these guiding attributes, this state-of-the-art airport security system has numerous benefits for end-users like security agencies and airport and transportation authorities. For airport and transportation authorities, TASS promotes emphasis on daily security (i.e. security flavor) and high level of regulation with regards to security and service. For security agencies, the system promotes emphasis on intelligence (i.e. intelligence flavor) and deals with the various components of security in the airport including borders and customs as demonstrated in Figure 3. The intelligence flavor provided by the system helps in prevention of security threats before target arrival at the airport's terminal whereas the security flavor helps in prevention of security threats after target arrives at the airport's terminal.

Figure 3: Security Flavor and Intelligence Flavor

Airport & Transportation Authorities

Security Agencies


Security Flavor

Intelligence Flavor

TASS Fusion

The Security Force

One of the most important elements towards the successful implementation and use of the Total Airport Security System is the security force. While this state-of-the-art system has the capability of enhancing security at the airport, these capabilities may be hindered if suitable personnel do not exist to promote effective implementation and use. Generally, human factors play a crucial role with regards to adoption, implementation, and use of airport security systems. This implies that the security force mandated with the responsibility of implementing the system should be adequately trained and prepared to help realize the full potential of the security system with regards to detecting, deterring, preventing, and defeating security threats and/or attacks.

In relation…

Sources Used in Document:


"Aviation Transportation System Security Plan." (2007, March 26). National Strategy for Aviation Security. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Homeland Security website:

Das, D. (2013, January 1). Total Airport Security System: Integrated Security Monitoring Platform. Retrieved December 23, 2015, from

Elias, B. (2007, July 30). Air Cargo Security. Retrieved December 23, 2015, from

Elias, B. (2009, April 23). Airport Passenger Screening: Background and Issues for Congress. Retrieved December 23, 2015, from

Cite This Research Paper:

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