Airport securityTSA deploys AtHoc crisis communication solution in 200 airports

Published 1 September 2015

TSA joins the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in deploying AtHoc to improve crisis communication in 200 U.S. airports. TSA’s Alert Warning System (AWS), based on AtHoc, will enable real-time accountability of TSA staff during routine, emergency, and critical events.

San Mateo, California-based AtHoc, Inc. the other day announced a new award from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). TSA will deploy the company’s crisis communications solution in TSA facilities and in more than 200 U.S. airports. The company says the deployment will enable real-time accountability of TSA staff during routine, emergency, and critical events.

TSA’s Alert Warning System (AWS), based on AtHoc, has been in use since 2011. TSA will now deploy the system from over 100 TSA Coordination Centers, enabling direct bi-directional crisis communications for all TSA staff at over 200 major airports.

The AtHoc deployment will serve two primary purposes. First, the ability to alert airport-stationed personnel in times of crisis, such as weather related closures, active shooter, terrorist activity. Second, post-alert immediate accountability of affected TSA staff to include status, location, and geographic representation by organizational level and function. These will allow TSA senior officials to take action and subsequent steps to affected locations; implement crisis response procedures, initiate staff recalls, determine ready to work status, and identify those in need of assistance.

TSA has now enabled similar practices which have also been implemented by two other DHS agencies — Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — within their AtHoc-based systems to communicate with airport staff in times of crisis. With these three Homeland Security agencies now deployed to airports, interoperability among the agencies, as well as with external stakeholders, may be achieved via AtHoc Connect. This latest AtHoc innovation interconnects agencies and enables secure information sharing across disparate organizations. AtHoc Connect also allows invitations for non-AtHoc users to participate on demand, thus reaching external supporting organizations with crisis information exchange.

AtHoc Connect implementation is timely for the DHS, given the president’s signing of H.R.615 — the DHS Interoperable Communications Act — on 6 July 2015. AtHoc Connect answers requirements included in HR 615 to “…achieve and maintain interoperable communications among the components of DHS, including for daily operations, planned events, and emergencies.”

TSA is acting with great speed and foresight,” said Rear Admiral Robert E. Day Jr. (Ret.), former CIO of the U.S. Coast Guard and a member of AtHoc Advisory Board. “Bringing these alert and accountability systems to over 200 of our nation’s major airports, as well as TSA headquarters, regions and National Coordination Centers is a great step towards a comprehensive, national protection network.”

“We are proud that critical DHS agencies such as TSA have selected AtHoc as the foundation for hese important initiatives,” said Dubhe Beinhorn, vice president of AtHoc’s Homeland Security and Government Group. “DHS component agencies singularly and collectively have a tremendous responsibility to create the systems that keep America safe. We are proud and honored to support their mission.”