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The Aviation and Transportation Security Act mandates that by December 2002 100 percent of checked baggage at all U.S. airports be screened for explosives before being put on an aircraft. Will it be possible to meet this ambitious schedule? In this companion report to WP-131, RAND assessed the feasibility of using explosive detection system machines for the job or whether less-expensive explosive trace detection machines could shoulder a significant portion of the load. After studying operations at Dulles International Airport and Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, the authors concluded that a bottom-up approach an airport-by-airport basis was preferable to the top-down approach originally mandated by the FAA. They identified six problem areas and propose a number of improvements that, while not meeting the 2002 deadline, will go a long way toward increasing airport security. This companion report also contains detailed analysis of requirements for baggage scanning equipment, a simulated modeling of airport security operations, and a brief synopsis of the Trusted Traveler Program.

This research was conducted by RAND as part of its continuing program of self-sponsored research. RAND acknowledges the support for such research provided by the independent research and development (IR&D) provisions of RAND's contracts for the operation of its Department of Defense federally funded research and development centers.

This report is part of the RAND white paper series. The white paper was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003 and was meant to convey formally information on a policy issue and to summarize key research findings relevant to pending decisions or policy problems. White Papers drew on a strong body of research and were directed to a specific audience.

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