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Expedited airport screening for military in the works

By Mike M. Ahlers
updated 3:25 PM EST, Tue November 15, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tests begin to see if military personnel can use the Pre-Check screening program
  • The key is to make the existing technology compatible with military ID cards
  • The Pre-Check program is now in very limited use for some registered fliers

Washington (CNN) -- U.S military personnel may someday be treated to expedited screening at airport checkpoints if all goes well with tests that begin Tuesday at a medium-size airport in California.

The program was announced by Transportation Security Administration head John Pistole.

He said the agency is conducting the tests to see if its technology is compatible with the Common Access Cards that are carried by military personnel.

"As part of our risk-based security initiative, we're trying to identify those groups of people that in all likelihood pose no risk. We've been working with the military Department of Defense to try to assess how we can read the military ID cards," Pistole said.

The tests will not result in a faster check-in process immediately, but officials hope they will eventually lead to streamlined screening procedures for the military.

"If that proof-of-concept works, then we hope to expand that to airports that will have a large number of military personnel traveling through them," Pistole said.

The program is part of Pre-Check, a risk-based program that expedites screening for registered travelers. To date, only frequent travelers on Delta Air Lines in Atlanta and Detroit and on American Airlines at Miami and Dallas/Fort Worth airports are eligible.

The Transportation Security Administration plans to expand the program to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport in the coming months.

The screening test involving military personnel announced Tuesday will be conducted at Monterey Regional Airport in California.

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