June 22, 2015
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Government security clearance is not necessary to find vital information about country conditions and potential threats before traveling overseas, according to experts.
“You don’t need a clearance,” said Centennial Airport Executive Director Robert Olislagers, who is also a subject matter expert for the Aviation Security Advisory Committee. The committee is authorized by Congress, under the auspices of the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, and tasked with examining civil aviation security and recommending improvements in methodology, equipment and procedures.
“But security generally isn’t cheap, and good information is sometimes hard to come by,” Olislagers added.
Olislagers is currently working with a pilot program called the Air Domain Intelligence Integration and Analysis Center (ADIIAC), a collaboration between intelligence analysts and aviation subject matter experts sponsored by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. For two years, ADIIAC has been working on ways to declassify sensitive intelligence information in order to get it into the hands of the aviation industry – without tipping off terrorists as to sources or methods.
“The biggest problem is that there is good information spread across 20 or more Internet sites,” Olislagers said. “They’re good resources, but our goal is to provide a central resource.”
Olislagers said that one good central source of aviation security information is the Department of Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN), which bills itself as “The Trusted Information Sharing Environment.” To gain access to the network, one must be nominated, investigated and invited to join. But once granted access, HSIN members have access to a security community that connects users with sources of unclassified intelligence and with each other.
Other government sources of aviation security information include the Information Sharing Analysis Center, the FBI’s Civil Aviation Security Program (CASP) and the Aviation Security Advisory Committee. Also, information on aviation and other specific economic sector interests can be obtained through the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC).
“The OSAC briefing lists areas of notable crime, protests, security threats and more,” said John Sullivan, managing partner of the Welsh-Sullivan Group, a Frisco, TX-based security consulting firm. But its advisories are issued only once a week, he said.
On the other hand, Sullivan added, “For a price, you can tell a private consultant where you’re going and they’ll come back with three to five pages of analysis and recommendations about your trip and your destination.”
For anyone interested in learning more about intelligence and security issues, Olislagers is participating in an NBAA Security Update on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA2015), in Las Vegas, NV.