House passes legislation to expedite security clearance for Military personnel

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, the House approved H.R. 1801, Risk-Based Security Screening for Members of the Armed Forces Act, by a bi-partisan vote of 404-0.

Sponsored by U.S. Representative Chip Cravaack (MN-8), the legislation would require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to develop a separate screening process for military personnel flying on civilian aircraft.

“With all the contention and political gridlock we’ve witnessed over the past several months, what’s most important is that we come together to agree where we can,” said Rep. Cravaack. “In respect to our men and women in uniform and in the best interest of our national security, this bi-partisan initiative is the least we could do for our military personnel and their families traveling our nation’s airports while serving our country.  I urge the Senate to quickly take action.”

H.R. 1801, which is 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 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.

“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-3).  “Expediting the screening of members of our military will enable TSA screeners to focus on more higher-risk travelers.”

“Allowing members of our Armed Forces be respectfully screened in an expedited manner ensures that we continue to honor their service and commitment to the nation,” said Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (MS-2).  “This legislation also ensures that TSA is maximizing its resources and integrating efficient screening across its checkpoint security programs.  I want to thank Mr. Cravaack for sponsoring this bipartisan legislation.”

In response to the broad support for H.R. 1801, on November 15, 2011, TSA began a pilot program at the Monterrey Regional Airport using the Department of Defense’ (DoD) Common Access Card as a means to streamline security procedures for the military.

Rep. Cravaack 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.