- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 25, 2002

Lockheed Martin won a Transportation Security Administration $105 million contract to train airport screeners at 429 airports nationwide, Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced yesterday.
The Transportation Department, which oversees the Transportation Security Administration, is under pressure to meet a Nov. 19 deadline from Congress to have a federalized work force of 32,000 screeners trained and ready to take over the jobs previously done by private security firms.
"Our team is ready to start immediately," said Elmer Nelson, Lockheed Martin's homeland security program director.
The federal contract is funded initially at $25 million, with options that could raise the value to $105 million. Lockheed Martin has years of experience training military and law enforcement personnel in technical skills.
Airport screeners will be taught to recognize behavior and objects that represent a threat of violence, to resolve conflicts, and to remove dangerous items safely. The screeners will receive 40 hours of classroom training followed by 60 hours of on-the-job training.
"We will administer a tough final examination as a requirement for graduation," Mr. Mineta said during a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Baltimore-Washington International Airport is the first airport scheduled to have a completely federalized work force of airport screeners. Beginning April 30, federal workers plan take over screening on concourses A and B at BWI. Three months ago, they took over screening on Concourse C.
Mr. Mineta said the Transportation Security Administration will meet any deadlines required by Congress. Part of the readiness plan involves combining large $1 million bomb-detection machines for luggage and packages with smaller $40,000 trace-chemical devices, he said.
The larger Explosive Detection Systems scan an entire bag at once for explosives. The smaller Explosive Trace Detection machines detect minute amounts of explosive chemicals from swabs wiped over specific areas, such as the soles of shoes.
The Transportation Security Administration has ordered 1,100 of the minivan-size EDS machines and 4,700 Trace machines, Mr. Mineta said.
Mr. Mineta also announced that any remaining restrictions on commercial flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will be lifted Saturday. That means the 10 p.m.-to 7-a.m. curfew on flights will be removed, larger planes like the Boeing 757 can resume use of the airport and planes can again fly the "river approach" to reduce noise.

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