Mitigating insider threats in the domestic aviation system: policy options for the Transportation Security Administration
Bean, Brian S.
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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) defines insider threat as the risk posed by workers with inside access and knowledge to exploit vulnerabilities in the nation's transportation systems. In recent years, insiders have been leveraged by criminal and terrorist organizations to further nefarious plots in the aviation system. This thesis examines policy options for TSA to mitigate insider threats in the domestic aviation system and discusses the effectiveness of TSA's insider threat programs. This thesis also explores whether TSA can be more effective at insider threat prevention with additional intelligence collection authorities. The insider threat programs of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United Kingdom's MI5, and federal defense contractor Lockheed Martin are analyzed to identify alternative solutions. At their core, insider threat policies center around three primary areas: security programs, counterintelligence programs, and organizational culture. TSA should establish its own counterintelligence program while continuing to fine-tune its security programs. Integrating counterintelligence and security programs enhances an organization's ability to detect and prevent insider threats. Finally, taking additional steps to establish a strong security ethos within the airport environment will help further harden the target.
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