Today, at the request of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its first statement relating to the use of Federal Air Marshals on commercial flights between the United States and the Republic of Cuba.
The first of 110 regularly-scheduled daily commercial flights will commence operation at the end of August 2016.
"In the spirit of enhancing the security of international civil aviation, the United States and The Republic of Cuba entered into an aviation security agreement that sets forth the legal framework for the deployment of U.S. In-Flight Security Officers (IFSO) - more commonly known as Federal Air Marshals - on board certain flights to and from Cuba. For security reasons, we will not divulge which flights air marshals will be aboard. This agreement is subject to applicable domestic and international law, and consistent with standards and recommended practices promulgated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
This agreement will strengthen both parties' aviation security efforts by furnishing a security presence on board certain passenger flights between the United States and The Republic of Cuba. TSA will continue to work with The Republic of Cuba to expand IFSO presence on flights and enhance security. IFSOs serve as an active last line of defense against terrorism and air piracy, and are an important part of a multi-layer strategy adopted by the U.S. to thwart terrorism in the civil aviation sector. Globally, IFSO programs continue to grow and proliferate, as more and more countries accept the value of these programs in the fight against terrorism."
NOTE: Politico Pro & Politico received the TSA statement from the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council on 9 August 2016, but did not to source the organization in its reporting of 10 August 2016. The organization was sourced on 11 August 2016.
Might DOT & TSA Need To Delay Implementation Of Commercial Flights To Cuba?
July 15, 2016
From Politico (7.15.2016)
"CUBAN FLIGHTS AND SECURITY FIGHTS: Commercial flights from Cuba to the U.S. are scheduled for takeoff in eight weeks, but it appears the Obama administration is still trying to make sure airport security is up to snuff at the 10 Cuban hubs cleared for U.S. service.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says he has asked TSA [Transportation Security Agency] to give him assurances that those airports meet U.S. security standards, not just the bar ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization] has set.
No help: The secretary also let on that he tried to call in a favor for the very lawmakers who have been fighting the White House on this issue. Johnson said the administration attempted, and failed, to get the Cuban government to approve visas for House Homeland Security Committee lawmakers who wanted to check out the country's aviation security protocols.
Can't stop, won't stop: Rep. John Katko [R- New York] has been relentless in trying to call attention to his Cuban security concerns. Besides introducing a bill (H.R. 5728) earlier this week to try to block flights until TSA certifies that the U.S.-bound flights will be adequately protected, he's written a letter asking Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to delay Cuban service."