Today, H.R. 1801, Risk-Based Security Screening for Members of the Armed Forces Act, was signed into law by President Barack Obama. Sponsored by U.S. Representative Chip Cravaack (MN-8), the legislation requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to develop a separate screening process for military personnel flying on civilian aircraft.
"This is terrific news for our troops. An expedited, risk-based TSA screening process is the least we can do for our men and women in uniform and their families who sacrifice so much. It's a privilege to see this bill pass through Congress and signed into law," said Rep. Cravaack. "I would like to thank Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (NY), Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (MS), Senator Hutchison (TX), and Senator Rockefeller (WV) for their efforts in moving this legislation forward. I look forward to getting the new screening process in place, whereby we honor our soldiers by treating them like the patriots they are."
H.R. 1801, which was endorsed by the U.S. Travel Association, serves as an important piece of the broad-based move towards a risk-based, intelligence-driven security screening system. It also moves the U.S. away from the current one-size-fits-all screening program. Ultimately, this bill will improve the screening process for American passengers by reducing checkpoint wait times.
The House first approved H.R. 1801 on November 29, 2011 and was subsequently passed by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) on December 13. The bill was cleared for the President's desk on December 20th.
"Our nation's military have earned the right from a grateful nation to go to the front of the line. I think the vast majority of Americans would agree that our servicemen and women make sacrifices for our nation every day. The least we can do is make their lives - and the lives of their family members - easier when they travel on official orders around the country they defend," said Senator Hutchison. "Congress has sent a unanimous decision that this is the right thing to do, and we hope the President signs this legislation immediately," she added.
"I strongly support Chip Cravaack's bill to provide expedited screening for members of the U.S. military. Not only would such screening make official travel easier for the men and women serving our country, it would be an important move toward a more risk-based approach to aviation security -- something I have long advocated," said Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (NY). "Expediting the screening of members of our military will enable TSA screeners to focus on more higher-risk travelers," he added.
Additionally, earlier this year Rep. Cravaack inserted language into the Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act of 2011 that would ban intrusive TSA "naked' body scanners.
Rep. Cravaack served 24 years in the U.S. Navy as a helicopter pilot prior to flying commercially for Northwest Airlines. He serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee -- where he is Vice Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee -- the Homeland Security Committee, and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. The 8th Congressional District covers 18 counties in Northeast Minnesota.