Issues in Airport Perimeter Security

Twelve years after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, airports in the United States and across the world have steadily increased their security measures. Today, most major airports are equipped with hi-tech luggage scanners and full body x-ray machines. Tens of thousands of trained security personnel occupy airport terminals to ensure the safety of passengers. Terminals and passenger concourses are now designed and built or retrofitted to accommodate the extra floor space, loading space, scanning equipment and other requirements necessary for this effort. Consequently, securing commercial air travel throughout the United States has been an expensive endeavor, with the Transportation Security Association (TSA) requesting an $8 billion (or greater) annual budget since 2001.

With the commitment evidenced by these investments over the last decade, airport terminals are safer than ever by every considered metric established to measure the threat. However, airport perimeter security remains the weakest link in the security chain. Federal agencies, such as the TSA and the FAA, need to become more aware of this pressing issue.

Recent perimeter breaches

  • In August 2012, a man unintentionally breached the $100 million sensor-equipped security perimeter at JFK International Airport in New York City after his jet-ski broke down in Jamaica Bay and he swam to land.[1]
  • In February 2013 in Brussels, $50 million worth of diamonds were stolen from an aircraft about to depart by eight men disguised as police who forcefully breached the airport’s security perimeter and performed the heist.[2][r1]
  • In August 2013, a Nigerian boy was found in the wheel well of a commercial aircraft headed to Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital.[3]

Since 2001, there have been over 1,300 breaches to airport security perimeters in the U.S. alone.[4]

Challenges in Airport Perimeter Security

  1. Geography: Airports are generally on very large, expansive plots of land. It is a daunting and expensive task to successfully maintain fenced perimeters for such large properties.
  2. Expense: Devices such as dedicated sensors along perimeter fencing allow authorities to be alerted of perimeter breaches.  However, these systems must be operable at all times and in all weather conditions to be effective.
  3. Insufficient Regulation: Without specific guidance from the FAA and TSA, airports must work to assess and counter perimeter threats independently. So far, there has been no unifying perimeter security regulation established for the over 450 commercial airports in the United States.

Best Practices for Designing Efficient Airport Perimeters

  • Taller fences, especially ones equipped with barbed wire, provide not only a greater physical barrier but also a greater psychological disincentive.
  • Fencing should protrude well into the ground to prevent trespassers and wildlife from entering the property from the bottom of the fence. This also reinforces the strength of the fence.
  • Limit the number of points of entry into an airport’s property. The fewer gates or guarded entry points, the fewer opportunities a trespasser has to breach the restricted area.
  • Ground-sensor systems are popular solutions to airport perimeter security issues but may not be feasible for smaller commercial airports (due to cost).

TMG experience in airport fencing solutions

In August, 2013, TMG Consulting completed a perimeter security project that was commissioned by Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (LANOIA). TMG provided professional services to replace the Airport’s perimeter fencing and, with its designs, gave recommendations as to how the perimeter fencing could be made more secure and effective. Among TMG’s recommendations were the following:

  • Make the entire fence eight feet tall and extend two feet into the ground where possible.
    • The upgrades to the perimeter fencing should better deter wildlife (LANOIA is in a naturally swampy environment) from breaching the perimeter.
  • Make the fence able to withstand 130 mile per hour winds in the event of a Category 3 hurricane.
  • Redefine the secure perimeter to remove areas that do not need to be included.
    • Over time, some buildings located within the Airport’s perimeter became vacant or demolished.
  • Replace underutilized gates with fencing.
    • Eliminates excessive access points and increases security.
  • Implement better signage to the perimeter fencing.
    • Should discourage accidental perimeter breaches.

While these recommendations are specific to the LANOIA, the methods and analysis that created them can be applied to any facility that requires perimeter security.  TMG excels at creating focused solutions to perimeter security as well as a host of other airport capital planning needs.

Contributed by:  

Jan Garbers

Director of Geomatics

jangarbers@tmg-consulting.net or (504) 569-9239 x25

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 Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

[1] Avila, Jim. “Jet Skier Who Exposed JFK Airport’s Security Tried to Get Caught.” ABC News Network, 24 Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Sept. 2013.

[2] Ca Sert, Raf. “Multimillion Dollar Diamond Heist in Brussels.” Associated Press, 19 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 Sept. 2013.

[3] Si, Eno-Aba. “State of Security at Nigerian Airports.” The Guardian, Nigeria, 2 Sept. 2013. Web. 10 Sept. 2013.

[4] US House of Representatives. Office of Congressman William Keating. Perimeter Security: Weakest Link in Airport Safety. N.p., 1 Mar. 2012. Web.


TMG Hosts Career Day with Middle-School Scholars

TMG Consulting recently hosted a team of 8th-grade students from our Mid-City neighbor John Dibert Community School.  Like many of us at their age, the students did not have a clear idea of what they wanted to do when they grow up. Some expressed interest in becoming athletes, musicians, or theatrical performers, seemingly influenced by what they see in the media.

We spent the morning exploring how the fields of engineering and urban planning were woven into the fabric of their daily life activities – from electrical engineers designing cellular phone communication towers to urban planners creating new streetcar routes.

Students learning about the fields of engineering, urban planning, architecture and construction.

Students learning about the fields of engineering, urban planning, architecture and construction.

Students learning about the fields of engineering, urban planning, architecture and construction.

Students learning about the fields of engineering, urban planning, architecture and construction.

With basic tools like a map of New Orleans, colored pencils, and markers, the students programmed their own streetcar routes based on their own points of interests.

One student living on the West Bank proposed creating a streetcar route from his house to school in Mid-City.  The proposed concept required a new trans-Mississippi bridge and significant track infrastructure.  This allowed for a discussion of planning priorities and the challenge of deploying needed services when faced with limited resources, like funding. The team considered how this new route would significantly benefit the larger community.

The students then collectively created a streetcar route to service 30 miles – approximately $600 million of investment in the New Orleans built environment. This then pushed our young urban planners to leverage existing routes to make the most of their allocated miles. They presented their proposed routes to their “client,” our own Mr. Chapman, with flying colors!

The next generation of urban planners designs new streetcar routes.

The next generation of urban planners designs new streetcar routes.

The next generation of urban planners designs new streetcar routes.

The next generation of urban planners designs new streetcar routes.

TMG enjoyed sharing our passion for engineering and urban planning with these students to create a more vibrant city. We had great fun working with these young scholars and shaping the career aspirations of the next generation.

Contributed by:

Mimi Tsai

Feasibility Analyst

mimitsai@tmg-consulting.net  

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Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

Jan Garbers Joins European Civil Protection Congress

This September, TMG’s Jan Garbers was invited to the 8th European Civil Protection Congress.

The European Civil Protection Congress is an international platform informing the national, European and international Experts and decision-makers of disaster management, civil protection and relief organizations about the latest developments in the field.

The congress intends to strengthen the dialogue between public authorities, associations, universities and experts. The annual conference attracts 800-1,000 participants from more than 20 nations.  This platform presents latest political decisions, enables networks and extents cooperation. Among the participants are the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance and the Federal Agency of Technical Relief advising the organizers content wise.

The close bonds with the European Commission and other relief organizations allow the participants to fortify and to enhance relations to other experts. 2011 the conference was supported by the European Commission and the United Nations. The European Civil Protection Congress is a set date in the agenda of national and international decision- makers.

The European Civil Protection Congress briefly:

  • International platform for the leadership levels of disaster management and civil protection,
  • High-ranking technical reports from Ministries of the Interior and the European Commission,
  • Meeting point for political decision-makers and disaster managers,
  • Conference program presents international very important persons of Politics, Administration and Disaster management,
  • Up to ten specialized Panel Sessions,
  • Accompanying exhibition of the prominent manufacturers of system solutions,

The European Civil Protection Congress is an annual conference that takes place in Bonn, Germany in September each year.

American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Fall Conference

Leaders of engineering companies met starting on October 18 in Las Vegas at the ACEC conference to discuss business issues and prospects.  General Session speakers included former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, an advocate for a bond-funded national infrastructure program.  Other prominent speakers included: Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval; John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Company; and Craig Martin, CEO of Jacobs Engineering.

Re-thinking Energy

Well received was John Hofmeister, who as an energy insider wrote the book—Why We Hate the Oil Companies.   Currently Hofmeister is CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy and feels that an independent regulatory commission is needed to oversee energy regulation replacing the myriad of federal agencies presently regulating and stymieing the energy sector.  Hofmeister sees the need for trillion dollar per year expenditures by the private sector rebuilding the U.S.’s energy infrastructure–creating a safer and more efficient sector as well as 4 million jobs.  However, the current regulatory regime prohibits these private sector investments from going forward.  Unfortunately neither the national infrastructure program nor the rebuilding of the energy sector is nearing reality—bad news for engineering companies.  Hofmeister feels that the past achievements of engineers are substantial and with the right policy, we, engineers, could solve many of the problems that the country is facing today.

Engineering Practice

A General Session speaker who discussed a need for saving lives in the engineering and construction industries by a renewed emphasis on safety was Craig Martin, CEO of Jacobs Engineering.  He also noted that Jacobs is very conscious of ethics laws and requirements both in the U.S and internationally in conducting its business.  When discussing changes in the engineering business that we could expect, he foresaw the ending of the federal Brooks Act and the use of Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) leading to the use of price in the selection of providers for engineering services.  Needless to say this brought about quite a reaction from the members of ACEC given that a pillar of ACEC’s program is the expanded use of QBS.

Importance of Infrastructure Projects

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Republican, made a favorable expression on the crowd talking about the importance of projects like the Hoover Dam and the O’Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge at Hoover Dam as well other projects of the same size and scale to Nevada and the nation.  To me he looks like Vice Presidential candidate material in the 2012 Presidential election.

Technical Sessions

Technical sessions were held on public private partnership projects in California and Florida that generally involve revenue generation for the private operator, a proposed infrastructure program financed by a 1% sales tax in Georgia, structuring design-build contracts, successfully navigating media relations as well as sessions on services marketing, information technology, human resources and other matters of interest to the business of engineering companies.

Contributed by:

Anthony Mumphrey, President, ACEC Louisiana

Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

Practice Highlight: Engineering Economics

Given  the current economic climate and a focus on project impacts, engineers are challenged to go beyond solid, functional design work and enter the realm of economics to prove that a given project will bring real and tangible benefits. Engineering economics is the application of economic methods and models to project evaluation. This evaluation could include:

  1. Overall worthiness of a project in terms of return-on-investment
  2. Benefits and costs of design, construction, implementation and operation of the project
  3. Alternatives analysis for project financing
  4. Impacts of projects in terms of jobs, income & taxes on a geographical area or governmental unit
  5. Life cycle cost analysis

Measurements of some costs are relatively easy; e.g. design and construction cost. Establishing the value of driving time saved for a highway widening project or the value of a human life for a safety enhancement project  requires more expertise. Implementation costs are usually one-time, while operating costs and benefits are computed on an annual basis and translated to present value. Finally, incorporating uncertainty in project impacts can complicate the project evaluation.

Benefit-cost analyses have been completed by TMG Consulting for Richmond International, Mobile, Houma, and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International airports. TMG Consulting has completed impact studies for numerous private and  public clients in locales such as Missouri, Louisiana, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Florida, helping them to reach their development project goals.

Nowadays, many engineering projects require the use of engineering economics in project evaluation, a discipline in which TMG Consulting has long standing experience and expertise.

Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

TMG Principal Mumphrey Elected President of ACEC/L

In July, Dr. Anthony Mumphrey became President of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Louisiana (ACEC/L). The Council’s mission is to contribute to America’s prosperity and welfare by advancing the business interests of member firms. ACEC/L exists to assist principals and managers of member firms in developing successful practices. Approximately 140 Louisiana engineering firms are members of ACEC/L with over 5,000 firms belonging to the national federation. Mumphrey has served ACEC/L as a member of its Board of Directors for many years and helped the organization survive and stabilize after Hurricane Katrina. Upon his election, Dr. Mumphrey commented, “becoming president is a nice honor, but much work is needed in helping firms navigate the complex political and business environments that exist currently.”

Dr. Anthony Mumphrey is the founder and President of TMG Consulting, and will serve as President of ACEC/L through July 2012.

Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.