The U.S. Travel Association’s proposed trusted traveler program may be gathering momentum. The association applauded Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Alan Bersin for his public comments calling for increased participation in trusted traveler programs as a way to thwart terror threats. ASTA offered its support earlier this week.
In comments to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Bersin said that CBP wants to increase enrollment in trusted traveler programs to 3.5 million people in two to three years. Such an increase, said Bersin, would allow CBP inspectors "to spend time on those travelers about whom we do not have a level of confidence" and hasten movement through the line for other travelers.
"Commissioner Bersin's comments acknowledge that risk-based approaches to security are the most efficient and effective way to facilitate travel, decrease wait times and provide for the safety of the general public," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
"We encourage the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to follow a similar approach to domestic aviation security and employ a robust trusted traveler program as the centerpiece of their air passenger screening process,” Dow said.
On December 1, U.S. Travel called on the TSA to create a new trusted traveler program. In such a program, travelers who voluntarily share biometric and biographical information, pass robust background checks to confirm their "low-risk" nature and are verified by TSA at the time of travel, would be allowed to pass through an alternative security process.
Such a program would enable the shift of security resources from a high pool of "low-risk" travelers to allow a more sustained focus on a smaller pool of travelers who are not pre-screened to determine their level of risk. U.S. Travel said.