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Layers of Security

What We Do

Strengthening Security Through a Layered Approach

"TSA's mission is to protect the nation’s transportation systems while facilitating the movement of people and commerce. We recognize the importance of physical screening to the security of our aviation network, and our risk-based strategy includes innovations and investments in training, workforce deployment, and technology. At the same time, we are committed to a strategy that goes far beyond physical screening. It begins with intelligence gathered by multiple U.S. agencies that is analyzed, shared, and applied. It includes checking every passenger manifest against terror watch lists and observing behaviors and activities in the airport environment. And, finally, it includes a law enforcement presence in airports and on aircraft, and a partnership with airlines, airports, pilots, flight crew members, and the traveling public – all of whom are committed to stopping terrorists in their tracks."

TSA Administrator Kip Hawley
Testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on
Commerce, Science and Transportation
April 4, 2006

We use layers of security to ensure the security of the traveling public and the Nation's transportation system. Because of their visibility to the public, we are most associated with the airport checkpoints that our Transportation Security Officers operate. These checkpoints, however, constitute only one security layer of the many in place to protect aviation. Others include intelligence gathering and analysis, checking passenger manifests against watch lists, random canine team searches at airports, federal air marshals, federal flight deck officers and more security measures both visible and invisible to the public.

Each one of these layers alone is capable of stopping a terrorist attack. In combination their security value is multiplied, creating a much stronger, formidable system.  A terrorist who has to overcome multiple security layers in order to carry out an attack is more likely to be pre-empted, deterred, or to fail during the attempt.

Graphic which shows layers of security used to ensure the security of the traveling public and the Nation's transportation system.

Security Layers In Place Today