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DHS/TSA RIN: 1652-AA61 Publication ID: Fall 2011 
Title: Standardized Vetting, Adjudication, and Redress Services 
Abstract: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will propose new regulations to revise and standardize the procedures, adjudication criteria, and fees for most of the security threat assessments (STA) of individuals for which TSA is responsible. In accordance with the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (9/11 Act), the scope of the rulemaking will include transportation workers from all modes of transportation who are required to undergo an STA in other regulatory programs, including certain aviation workers and frontline employees for public transportation agencies and railroads. In addition, TSA will propose fees to cover the cost of the STAs, and credentials for some personnel. TSA plans to improve efficiencies in processing STAs and streamline existing regulations by simplifying language and removing redundancies. As part of this proposed rule, TSA will propose revisions to the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) regulations. TSA published an interim final rule for ASFP on September 20, 2004. TSA regulations require aliens seeking to train at Federal Aviation Administration-regulated flight schools to complete an application and undergo an STA prior to beginning flight training. There are four categories under which students currently fall; the nature of the STA depends on the student's category. TSA is considering changes to the AFSP that would improve the equity among fee payers and enable the implementation of new technologies to support vetting. 
Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Undetermined  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
CFR Citation: Not Yet Determined     (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.)
Legal Authority: 49 USC 114    PL 110-53, secs 1411, 1414, 1520, 1522, 1602    6 USC 469   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: Through this rulemaking, TSA proposes to carry out statutory mandates to perform security threat assessments (STA) of certain transportation workers pursuant to the 9/11 Act. Also, TSA proposes to fully satisfy 6 U.S.C. 469, which requires TSA to fund security threat assessment and credentialing activities through user fees. The proposed rulemaking would increase transportation security by enhancing identification and immigration verification standards, providing for more thorough vetting, improving the reliability and consistency of the vetting process, and increasing fairness to vetted individuals by providing more robust redress and reducing redundant STA requirements.

Summary of the Legal Basis: 49 U.S.C. 114(f): Under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) (Pub. L. 170-71, Nov. 19, 2001, 115 Stat. 597), TSA assumed responsibility to oversee the vetting of certain aviation workers. See 49 U.S.C. 44936. Under the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), (Pub. L. 107-295, sec. 102, Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2064), codified at 46 U.S.C. 70105, TSA vets certain merchant mariners and individuals who require unescorted access to secure areas of vessels and maritime facilities. Under the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (USA PATRIOT Act) (Pub. L. 107-56, Oct. 25, 2001, 115 Stat. 272), TSA vets individuals seeking hazardous materials endorsements (HME) to commercial driver's licenses (CDL) issued by the States. In the Implementing Recommendation of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-53, Aug. 3, 2007, 121 Stat. 266), Congress directed TSA to vet additional populations of transportation workers, including certain public transportation and railroad workers. In 6 U.S.C. 469, Congress directed TSA to fund vetting and credentialing programs through user fees.

Alternatives: TSA considered a number of viable alternatives to lessen the impact of the proposed on entities deemed "small" by the Small Business Administration (SBA) standards. This included: (1) Extending phone pre-enrollment to populations eligible to enroll via the web; and (2) changing the current delivery and activation process and instituting centralized activation of biometric credentials that allow applicants to receive their credentials through the mail rather than returning to the enrollment center to pick up the credential. These alternatives are discussed in detail in the rule and regulatory evaluation.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: TSA conducted a regulatory evaluation to estimate the costs regulated entities, individuals, and TSA would incur to comply with the requirements of the NPRM. The NPRM would impose new requirements for some individuals, codify existing requirements not included in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), and modify current STA requirements for many transportation workers. The primary benefit of the NPRM would be that it will improve TSA's vetting product, process, and structure by improving STAs, increasing equity, decreasing reliance on appropriated funds, and improving reusability of STAs and mitigating redundant STAs. TSA has not quantified benefits. TSA uses a break-even analysis to assess the trade-off between the beneficial effects of the NPRM and the costs of implementing the rulemaking. This break-even analysis uses scenarios from the TSA Transportation Sector Security Risk Assessment (TSSRA) to determine the degree to which the NPRM must reduce the overall risk of a terrorist attack in order for the expected benefits of the NPRM to justify the estimated costs. For its analyses, TSA uses scenarios with varying levels of risk, but only details the consequence estimates. To maintain consistency, TSA developed the analyses with a method similar to that used for the break-even analyses conducted in earlier DHS rules. After estimating the total consequences of each scenario by monetizing lives lost, injuries incurred, capital replacement, and clean-up, TSA will use this figure and the annualized cost of the NPRM to calculate the frequency of attacks averted in order for the NPRM to break even. TSA estimates that the total savings to the alien flight students, over a 5-year period, will be $18,107 at a 7 percent discount rate.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  08/00/2012    
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Undetermined 
Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Related RINs: Related to 1652-AA35 
Agency Contact:
Hao-y Tran Froemling
Acting Director, Program Management Division
Department of Homeland Security
Transportation Security Administration
Office of Intelligence and Analysis, TSA-10, HQ, E6 , 601 South 12th Street,
Arlington, VA 20598-6010
Phone:571 227-2782

Thomas Philson
Deputy Director, Regulatory and Economic Analysis
Department of Homeland Security
Transportation Security Administration
Office of Transportation Sector Network Management, TSA-28, HQ, E10-411N, 601 South 12th Street,
Arlington, VA 20598-6028
Phone:571 227-3236
Fax:571 227-1362

John Vergelli
Senior Counsel, Regulations and Security Standards
Department of Homeland Security
Transportation Security Administration
Chief Counsel's Office, 601 South 12th Street,
Arlington, VA 20598-6002
Phone:571 227-4416