Following September 11, 2001 commercial airlines’ vulnerability and appeal to terrorists became apparent. In 2002 the Department of Homeland Security was established solely to protect Americans from threats like these.

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) cooperate to facilitate safe travel and transportation into the United States. Under the current regulatory framework, TSA has responsibility for ensuring the security of the nation’s transportation of cargo by air into the United States while CBP has responsibility for securing the nation’s borders by preventing high-risk cargo from entering the US.

In the years following 9/11, commercial airliners were still targets of terror. Despite each agency working to alleviate risks, more coordination was needed to ensure safety. After potential attacks against the United States, like the October 2010 incident, in which terrorists placed explosive devices in cargo boarded onto two different US flights, DHS realized change was needed in respect to cargo transportation.

In 2010, after the scare, DHS rolled out the Air Cargo Advanced Screening pilot program. The new program focused on risk-based assessment strategy utilizing real-time data and intelligence to target high-risk cargo earlier in the supply chain. The newfound interagency cooperation strengthened security, effectively deterring terrorists from targeting cargo en-route to the US.

The 2010 ACAS Pilot program revolutionized the screening process of cargo, offering an avenue for secure shipping. Due to the more stringent review process of cargo early in the supply chain, TSA and CBP are alerted of high-risk items that may be subject to extra inspection.

After nearly a decade of success under the ACAS pilot program, DHS decided to incorporate it into each respective agency’s pre-flight screening requirements. This interim final rule became effective immediately upon publication on June 12, 2018, while the comment period stayed open until August 13, 2018. Many comments were received and are currently being reviewed.

At CBP’s annual symposium, ACAS was discussed and these tips were offerred:

  • There is a 12 month informed compliance period before enforcement
  • The new mandatory requirements are “not meant to be a disrupter”
  • Contact your client rep to use the test environment

The new requirements essentially make the previously optional program mandatory. These charts layout the new requirements which combine the current requirements with the pilot program’s requirements:

Advanced ScreeningTSA reqs

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