ASIS Education Session Discusses The Layered Security Approach At O’Hare International Airport

An interesting panel at ASIS 2013 on Wednesday discussed the massive undertaking of providing a layered security approach at O'Hare International Airport.

One of the world's busiest airports, O'Hare covers more than 10,000 acres and sees an astounding amount of passengers per year - 66.5 million.

Kathleen Petrowsky, TSA's federal security director for the airport, said the layered approach to securing the airport begins when a passenger makes their airline reservations.

"The TSA is expanding the Pre-Check program for different levels of security," she said. "We're moving to a risk-based concept."

Thomas Herion with Chicago Department of Aviation Safety said the massive airport is difficult to secure.

"It's not a prison," he said. "People are moving around freely. It's a very difficult place to secure. We have to be aggressive with our cameras and preventive measures to make sure we don't have a disaster. We like to be proactive and get intelligence before hand so we can respond to it."

Both Herion and Petrowsky said coordinating good relationships with the various agencies tasked with securing the airport is important. Communication with other airports is also another way to improve security.

Herion also indicated that the key challenge in securing the facility is funding.

"We need money," he said "It's often a tough time to finance it. Who will pay for it? We have raised the bar after putting technology like biometrics and license plate recognition into play. We look for DHS to fund us through grants and other initiatives. We also go to the airlines for money to help modernize the technology."

Even though technology is a important part of providing security for the airport, Herion said that the human factor is more important.

"Our greatest asset are our people," he said. "You can have all the technology in the world, but it's the people that drive security. They are the intelligence aspect. You need to keep people engaged, letting them know how important they are and give them the tools they need to do their job. They are more important than any camera or alarm."

About the Author

Brent Dirks is senior e-news/Web editor for Security Products and Network-Centric Security magazines.


  • First Responders Give NIST Their Communications Tech Wish Lists

    First Responders Give NIST Their Communications Tech Wish Lists

    Our first responders have spoken. An extensive research project conducted by experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reveals what our country’s police, fire, emergency medical and 911 dispatch responders think about the communications technology they use on a regular basis and how they would like developers to improve it in the future. Read Now

  • Study Finds U.S. Enterprises Hit by Short-staffed Security Operations Centers

    Study Finds U.S. Enterprises Hit by Short-staffed Security Operations Centers

    ManageEngine, the enterprise IT management division of Zoho Corporation, recently announced results from its new study, Cloud Security Outlook 2023. The study found that enterprises have a limited number of analysts running their security operations centers (SOCs) and are deploying multiple tools in an attempt to address their cloud security challenges. Read Now

  • Report: More Than Half of Organizations Have Experienced an Insider Threat in the Past Year

    Report: More Than Half of Organizations Have Experienced an Insider Threat in the Past Year

    Gurucul, a provider of solutions in the Next Generation SIEM market, and Cybersecurity Insiders, a 600,000+ member online community for information security professionals, recently released its annual 2023 Insider Threat Report. Overall, results indicate insider threats are a top concern at organizations of all kinds; only 3% of respondents surveyed are not concerned with insider risk. Read Now

  • ISC West Is Two Months Away

    ISC West Is Two Months Away

    The annual “vacation” to Las Vegas is less than two months away. I anticipate it will be an amazing show, and furthermore, I expect the show hall to be teeming with interested security professionals. Read Now

    • Industry Events

Featured Cybersecurity

New Products

  • BriefCam v6.0

    BriefCam v6.0

    BriefCam has released BriefCam v6.0, which introduces the new deployment option of a multi-site architecture. This enables businesses with multiple, distributed locations to view aggregate data from all remote sites to uncover trends across locations, optimize operations and boost real-time alerting and response – all while continuing to reap the benefits of BriefCam's powerful analytics platform for making video searchable, actionable and quantifiable. 3

  • Hanwha Techwin Wisenet XRN-6410DB4 / mXRN-3210B4

    Hanwha Techwin Wisenet XRN-6410DB4 / mXRN-3210B4

    Hanwha Techwin America, a global supplier of IP and analog video surveillance solutions, unveiled two new Wisenet X series NVRs that support the industry’s first video playback and recording of up to 8K super-high-resolution images. 3

  • PDK IO Access Control Software

    PDK.IO Access Control Software

    ProdataKey now allows for "custom fields" within the interface of its software. Custom fields increase PDK's solutions' overall functionality by allowing administrators to include a wide range of pertinent data associated with each user. 3