TSA to award system to check travelers

The Transportation Security Administration plans to award a contract next month to a systems integrator for a tool that will perform background checks and risk assessments on airline travelers.

The contractor also will provide the risk assessment engine for the Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening II program. CAPPS II, a substantially advanced version of the system now in use, is being designed to cull multiple government and commercial databases for information that could indicate a potential threat.

The intent is to "improve the ability to identify threats to aviation security by analyzing and evaluating multiple-source data on every ticketed passenger on every airline to determine whether the passenger poses a security risk or threat to the traveling public," TSA officials wrote in a presolicitation notice posted on FedBizOpps.gov. "The approach creates a configurable threat assessment tool that allows real-time adjustment of threat priorities."

The current system makes threat information available to airline employees, who are then supposed to pass it on to airport security staff. CAPPS II will distribute alerts directly to front-line forces in near-real time, according to a report officials wrote about the tool.

The presolicitation notice includes managed services, a strategy in which an agency pays a company for technology solutions that help solve a problem, among a list of minimum qualification requirements the contractor must meet. The approach figures prominently in TSA's billion-dollar deal with Unisys Corp. for its information technology infrastructure.

Proposals for CAPPS II are due Feb. 18, and the winner must be prepared to start work the following week.

President Bush signed legislation in November 2001 that established TSA and tasked the agency with securing the nation's transportation systems.

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