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Aircraft Cargo Screening Program to Begin at Seattle-Tacoma Airport

Release Date: November 8, 2006

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin testing air cargo screening technologies this fall at the Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport as part of its previously announced $30 million Air Cargo Explosives Detection Pilot Program (ACEDPP). The purpose of the Sea-Tac testing is to better understand the technological and operational issues associated with detecting hidden persons or explosives that could be in air cargo.

Launched in June 2006 at the San Francisco International Airport, the ACEDPP will provide critical knowledge to help the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) make future decisions on air cargo. The program will also assist in technological research and development planning for the nation’s air cargo security infrastructure. DHS is interested in data that illustrates economic and operational impacts to air carriers from enhanced screening levels.

Tests will focus on areas that include assessing the flow of air cargo and how quickly it must be screened. In addition, testing will take place to detect carbon dioxide, which may indicate the presence of a human in cargo. DHS will also seek to determine which types of technologies are most effective at detecting threats placed within commodities.

While DHS expects that new ideas will emerge from the testing to bring about future improvements, some advancement has already been made. DHS is funding the development of new systems, such as x-ray, that can screen entire pallets at one time to look for explosives.

ACEDPP is a DHS-collaboration between the Science and Technology directorate and TSA. Other organizations involved in the tests are the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Transportation Security Laboratory.


This page was last reviewed/modified on November 8, 2006.