The first phase of a study by the RAND Corporation on improving Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) security and reducing the impact of a potential terrorist attack at LAX has been unveiled.
The first phase of the study calls for a security analysis of LAX and recommends short-term security improvements that could be adopted during the next two years.
“We know that LAX is a major terrorist target, which is why I am committed to working with partners such as RAND to enhance our efforts to improve security at LAX for the hundreds of thousands of passengers, employees and visitors who pass through the airport every day,” said Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn.
The RAND report concludes that speeding up passenger check-in at terminal curbside and in the airline ticketing lobbies and processing passengers more quickly through the security screening stations are the most cost-effective and short-term measures available to improve security and reduce the impact of a terrorist attack.
The study will be made available to Los Angeles City Council members as the council weighs its decision on the proposed LAX Master Plan.
“RAND’s security study provides LAWA and other decision-makers with information and analysis necessary to assess the threats facing LAX and its vulnerabilities to those threats,” said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski.
In the second phase of the analysis, RAND plans to review specific projects included within the LAX Master Plan Alternative D that is proposed by the mayor.
Under a “consensus plan,” Miscikowski has proposed that Alternative D be separated into “green light” and “yellow light” phases, with noncontroversial projects permitted to move forward and controversial “yellow light” projects delayed for further study.
The focus will be on security issues related to both “green-lighted” and “yellow-lighted” projects, as mandated in Miscikowski’s “consensus plan.”
RAND has recommended that Los Angeles World Airports — the City of Los Angeles agency that operates city-owned airports — establish permanent vehicle checkpoints to screen all vehicles that enter the airport’s terminal areas.
RAND suggests that this would significantly reduce the risk of a car or truck bomb and its related damage.
Additional recommendations include:
– enhancing airport personnel background checks and screening to address threats to aircraft;
– working with local and federal agencies to mitigate threats beyond LAWA’s control, such as cargo inspections;
– developing and implementing plans to address the impact of an attack on airport operations; and
– continuing to work with national and international airport security organizations to raise the level of security across the industry.
RAND researchers worked with local and federal law enforcement and aviation security officials to develop the report.