White House Call for Stronger Aviation Security Includes Cyber, UAS

The White House on Wednesday issued its new National Strategy for Aviation Security (NSAS) which calls for greater efforts to protect the U.S. “Aviation Ecosystem” from a range of threats including those posed by cyberattacks and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

“Our enemies . . . continue to view aviation as a key target, and the Aviation Ecosystem faces a multitude of threats and ever changing tactics that are challenging to overcome,” the strategy document says.

“The past decade has seen the rise of technologies that generate economic and social benefits, but also may be used to challenge the safety and security of the Aviation Ecosystem. The use of ‘disruptive technologies,’ such as cyber connectivity and unmanned aircraft, in reckless or malicious ways, along with the constant evolution of terrorist threats to manned aviation, requires a fresh, whole-of-community approach,” the strategy says.

The new NSAS calls for a more “holistic and adaptive approach to securing the Aviation Ecosystem that prioritizes enhanced domain awareness, collection of anticipatory information, augmentation and sustainment of layered security measures, improved system resilience, and effective engagement with government and private-sector partners,” the document says.

The administration emphasizes it is not only important to protect the airways from physical terrorist, criminal, and hostile acts, but also from cyberthreats as airlines become more interconnected.

Strategic actions to be taken by the U.S. include:

  • Maximizing domain awareness;
  • Anticipating threats and assessing vulnerabilities to and from the aviation ecosystem;
  • Strengthening layered aviation security;
  • Ensuring continuity and promoting resilience of the aviation domain; and
  • Enhancing international cooperation.

While improving aviation security means preventing a Die Hard 2 situation, it also means protecting information on passengers, companies, or military assets that could be covertly collected via hacking. The NSAS will work towards protecting aircraft cybersecurity systems as well as airport cybersecurity as a way to further protect the American people and the aviation economy.

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