AVSEC Features Presentations from Security Partners

ALPA’s Aviation Security Forum, or AVSEC, kicked off Monday afternoon with a series of four presentations designed to better acquaint the Association’s pilot security leaders with industry partners from government. Leading the pack was Chief Duane McGray, executive director of the Airport Law Enforcement Agencies Network (ALEAN), a professional organization connecting airport police departments. ALEAN has been in existence for approximately 25 years, and McGray noted the strong relationship his agency has maintained with ALPA for much of that time.

McGray talked about the tools developed to share information and how this has led to the detection of numerous criminal trends at airports. He also discussed onboard incidents that require airport police response.

The United States shares 5,000 miles of border with Canada, 1,900 miles of border with Mexico, and has approximately 95,000 miles of shoreline. For international air travel, securing these boundaries is a tall order. Donald Conroy, director of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center–Passenger, explored some of the ways passengers—and even airline employees—have attempted to circumvent the law. “No one is exempt from examination,” he said.

“Everybody has their own culture, language, and way of doing business,” observed Tina Gabbrielli, director of the Air Domain Intelligence Integration Element (the Office of the Director of National Intelligence), explaining that this information can help us better differentiate threatening from nonthreatening behavior. Gabbrielli’s branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for intelligence collection and integration, and information sharing to mitigate risk related to aviation.

The final presenter was David Pezzutti, section chief of the National Security Investigations Division, a law enforcement branch of the DHS. Pezzutti’s agency conducts criminal investigations against terrorist and other criminal organizations, monitoring what he referred to as “the illegal movement of people and goods.” This group maintains 200 offices around the world and employs 6,700 special agents in addition to administrative staff.