Yes, posting here might be in vain, but as with a letter I am composing to send to the FAA regarding the communication and distribution of advisories and notams to the public (a state which was to be corrected after the Gulfstream crash in CO), I will share my thoughts with the members of this forum. Consider this my way of brainstorming for a formal letter.
First, my point-of-view is that the FAA has implemented many "knee-jerk" reactions that do little or nothing concerning a real threat. I use that adjective to describe ineffective orders, however, I feel that 99% of these implemented policies are warranted to increase the public's feeling of safety in the short term. Admittedly a few suggestions may seem repetitive or obvious, but I will state them for the purposes of establishing discussion.
The numbers are for reference, not to establish any supposed chronological order of installation or importance.
1. Federal Air Marshals must be a permanent installation in the aviation industry. After order and decorum is restored, marshals must continue to be on board at least an average of 1 out of every 4 flights for the foreseeable future.
2. Federalize airport security programs. This means security agents will be federal employees. Security will be uniform in application, although tailored to location/facilities.
3. Make all Ramp/Terminal badges uniform between all airports for airport employees. Through this I would expect to see the airport identifier displayed most prominently (more than most are now) with commonality for background colors based on parts of the field (green=complete access, red=inside the terminals only, yellow=ramp areas but not in aircraft or whatever, and so on, so forth). This establishes commonality that would allow FAA inspectors to understand to badging scheme at any airport
4. Pilot/FA/AirCrew badges Company crew badging will be a uniform color as above, aiding recognition from a distance, this means that internal company badging will be different than federal security badging. Of course the federal badge would have the company name on it, but would be only valid when accompanied by the company badge.
5. Modernize Badges Of course the system described in 3 & 4 would be state of the art proximity passes, but also with an RF interrogation (like a transponder) that would allow a person to be tracked as they pass through a security checkpoint or doorway, even where swiping the badge is not required for access or secure doors where "tailgating" might be an issue.
These badges would be subject to termination in the event the employee is fired/suspected of suspicious activities. In the event of badge termination, the card would not allow secured doors to be opened and would sound a warning if the RF interrogator detected unauthorized passage of a badge through a secure door/checkpoint.
The RF interrogation is the key to sounding alarms of caterers being in the cockpit or other unauthorized entries. As with many modern systems already implemented, the authority to open a door is not in the card, but in a computer server that checks that employees company/position and ensures they are authorized to open that door. Add the transponder-like function that works like a department store security device and you have great means of controlling access to secure areas.
Most of you are probably acquainted with the proximity badges that need only be passed within 12 inches of the cardreader instead of being swiped. These are a great time-saver, and just add that little RF transponder chip and you have the perfect badge.
These smart airport badges would be linked to an airport employee database that would allow a security guard to see your picture/info on his screen when you pass through a checkpoint, in addition to the one on your badge. [I do not feel there should be a National Drivers License Photo Registry, by the way. I am a member of the ACLU and I hold our personal freedoms dear]
6. Pilot/Mech FAA Certificates should be photo "smart cards." They should work like a "smart" credit card with a picture printed on them. This in addition to #4 will prevent fraudulent entry to the General Aviation terminals. This is long overdue in my opinion. It will allow security to be implemented at untowered airports that have not received certification for air carrier operations (this is important for GA/corporate jets). We would no longer have to worry about pilots operating with revoked certificates or unlicensed mechanics. These could work with #5 above in addition to ramp badges and internal company badges
***Privacy issues are important. I do NOT feel that these smart cards should require you to "check-in" every time you pass a 121/135 check or log night currency, just suspended/revoked certificates and your picture, along with info currently on your certificate (home address et al). I'm not sure if medical certificates should be incorporated into this, but it might be a good idea (you could get email reminders that your medical should be taken care of soon...)
7. Cameras at the gates. I understand that there are privacy issues at stake, but these would not infringe on privacy since your name is on the ticket anyway, and it should be your real name, so don't worry about it. I don't like the british street cameras, so I bring this up here.
8. Track Passports/Visas electronically This would be a major undertaking on an international scale for obvious reasons, but if you travel internationally you'll have to sacrifice a bit of privacy and be tracked. This would allow passports to be "scanned" before they are stamped, thus allowing instant background checks for non-us citizens. Fake passports would be easily recognized and visitors under investigation could be stopped at the gate if their passport has been tagged by an FBI computer.
(For some privacy, US courts would require a subpeona before checking the travel records of US citizens)
please feel free to criticize or add insights...