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Aviation and Airport Security: Terrorism and Safety Concerns, Second Edition

***** Aviation and Airport Security: Terrorism and Safety Concerns, Second Edition. By Kathleen M. Sweet; published by Taylor and Francis Group/CRC Press,; 354 pages; $79.95.

Few sectors are as affected by the “War on Terrorism” as the aviation industry and its users. Among the main reasons aviation remains an appealing terrorist target is that terrorists understand its effects on the economy at both the macro and micro levels. Keeping airports, planes, and passengers safe without hampering operations is a crucial and challenging task.

Aviation and Airport Security: Terrorism and Safety Concerns by Kathleen M. Sweet examines all of the aspects of aviation security—physical, legal, public, international, and governmental—and places them in historical context. Following a comprehensive overview of the development of aviation security programs, Sweet examines how 9-11 affected the industry and its customers. She reviews the various components of aviation that became terrorist targets and the countermeasures implemented. She also places aviation security within the wider context of international terrorism—providing useful reviews of the development of modern terrorism and contemporary terrorist organizations.

Of particular interest to security professionals is the chapter on cargo security, which Sweet correctly identifies as “a loose end,” noting that “cargo screening and inspection is just as important as the screening of passengers and their carry-on luggage.” Sweet walks readers through the range of considerations related to air cargo transportation, including carrier responsibility, storage, accountability, tracking, hazardous materials, and inspections. She discusses the relation of technology to security, both in the context of cargo handling and the wider context of aviation security, noting that technology is not the sole remedy to the problem of explosives on board aircraft, but one element of a defense-in-depth approach.

Aviation and Airport Security is a comprehensive handbook that covers the full range of aviation security, from facilities to operations. Anyone involved in this industry will want to have it available.

Reviewer: Mayer Nudell, CSC (Certified Security Consultant), is an independent consultant on crisis management, contingency planning, travel security, and related issues, and an adjunct professor at Webster University. He is a member of ASIS International.