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Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) Program

Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations

Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) Program

Background: The inception of the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) Program in 2001, as

envisioned by the members of Congress, has been described as (and still remains) the "First line of

deterrence and the last line of Defense" against 9111-style terrorist attacks; for the benefit of the

American people. The fact remains that aviation is still at the top of Al Qaeda's terror target list.

FolIowing the terrorist attacks of "9/11 ", the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program was

developed, and is recognized as a necessary component and "critical layer of security in our nation's

"National Security Program" - to protect theflying public, our aircraft, and our country. The program

initiaIly began with arming pilots of passenger carriers and was subsequently extended to all-cargo

carriers. In 2002, Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act of 2002 (APATA) caIled for the program to

operate at "no cost to the pilot or airline", however, the TSA interpreted APATA' s language to mean

they will only pay for the direct cost of the training course and for the cost of the weapon; all other

costs would be borne by the FFDO. When the program began in 2002, the entire budget was directed

toward the initial training of FFDOs. The initial budget for the program was set at $25 million dollars.

However, nearly $3 million of that budget is dedicated to the Crewmember Self-Defense Training

(CMSDT) program; leaving only $22 million dollars for the FFDO Program.

The $22 million dollar budget for the FFDO program has not changed since 2002 which has severely

limited the deterrent value of the program. The unintended consequence of the stagnant budget has

been a capping of the number of FFDOs in the program. FFDOs must go through requalification

training every four years, so after the 4th year of the program, more and more of the $22 million dollar

budget went to the requalification of FFDOs versus the initial training of FFDOs. This year (2011), the

program stopped alI "initial training" for FFDOs due to lack of funding.

While the FFDO budget has remained at $22 million dollars since the programs' inception, the FAMs

budget has grown from $626 million dollars to over $860 million dollars. Moreover, in 2010 the FAMs

budget request is an additional $50 million dollar increase.

The FFDO program has been extremely successful, although it has come at a significant expense to the

individual FFDO. One of the greatest items to impact the number of volunteers is the cost of the

program to the individual FFDO. The actual cost of initial training personally incurred by the

volunteer FFDO can exceed $4,000.00; recurrent training is approximately $3,500.00. Over a 6-year

period, these training expenses incurred by the FFDO are well over $10,000. Initial training requires

FFDO candidates to set aside 8 days, and recurrent training (required before end of 5th year) requires

another 4 days. FFDOs are also required to spend one day each 6 months to re-qualify. "Trip loss" for

the days spent in training is also at the expense of the FFDO. (Pilots are only paid when the wheels of

the airplane are moving: on the ground or tucked into the belly of the aircraft). Carriers do not

acknowledge any requirement to provide time off, which leaves the entire burden on the individual


The total "out-of-pocket expenses" borne by the FFDOs over the life of the program have exceeded

$889,000,000" versus the $171,000,000 cumulative government-funded for the program. Despite the

large expense to the FFDO, we're not asking for any money for the FFDOs, we're asking for funding to

increase the size of the program.

The pilots involved in the FFDO program are dedicated individuals that believe in the program and in

the value of that their service provides to the security of the flying public, our nation, and to a vital

aviation system.

Primary Considerations:

• Current budget is being used to maintain and re-qualify for existing FFDOs; without a budget

increase there will not be enough funding to permit initial training of FFDOs.

• The unintended consequence of the stagnant budget has been a capping of the number of FFDOs

in the program.

• The FFDO Program is an excellent low-cost layer of security and is a critical component of our

National Security Program.

• FFDOs are considered an asset for any level threat - whether in the cockpit or cabin.

CAPA Recommendations/Solutions: While we support the doubling of the budget over a fiveyear

period to merely $44 million dollars, we understand budget constraints. At a minimum, direct

funding for the FFDO program to restart initial training and grow the program at a modest rate should

be provided; with no new entrants to the program we actually decrease the number of FFDOs due to


A reasonable and realistic budget increase, tied to the expected growth of the program, would help to

achieve what Congress originally anticipated; a "2-year goal" that has not been met nearly 10 years


Source: Funding/Budget information provided by Federal Flight Deck Officers Association (FFDOA).

Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations

444 N. Capitol Street. Suite 532 • Washington, DC20001

(202) 624-3535 (office) • (202) 624-3536 (fax)




Department of Homeland Security

The Administration proposes to reduce the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO, or armed pilots) program.

Funding Summary

(In millions of dollars)

2012 Enacted 2013 Request 2013 Change from 2012

Budget Authority . 25 12 ·13


The Administration proposes to reduce funding for the FFDO program (i.e., deputized, armed pilots) in

2013. As the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) focuses its aviation security activities on

programs that mitigate the highest amount of risk at the lowest cost, the Budget has prioritized funding in

the same manner. The voluntary FFDO program was created as a "last defense" layer of security at a time

when comprehensive aviation screening and other physical security measures were not fully developed or

deployed on a system-wide basis. Since 2001, however, there have been a number of enhancements to

aviation security. TSA now conducts 100 percent screening of all passengers and their carryon items, has

overseen installation of reinforced and locking cockpit doors on aircraft that operate in U.S. airspace, and

has increased passenger and flight crew awareness to address security risks. Combined, these improvements

have greatly lowered the chances of unauthorized cockpit access and represent a comprehensive and redundant

risk-mitigation strategy that begins well before passengers board the aircraft.

Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

Aviation Security:

FFDO and Flight Crew Training

Program Performance Justification

(Dollars in Thousands)

PPA: FFDO and Flight Crew Training

Perm. Pos FTE Amount

2011 Actual Obligations 44 29 23,518

2012 Enacted Budget Authority 44 42 25,461

2013 Adjustments-to-Base (320)

2013 Current Services 44 42 25,141

2013 Program Change (12,641)

2013 Total Requested Budget Authority 44 42 12,500

Total Change 2012 to 2013 (12,961)

TSA requests $12.5 million for this activity. The adjustments-to-base include: $23,000 for pay

COLA, a decrease of$13,OOOfor Enterprise-Wide efficiencies; and a decrease of$343,000 for

management efficiencies. The request also reflects a program decrease of$12.6 million.


The following provides the components of this PPA:

(dollars in millions)

FY 2012 FY 2013

Federal Flight Deck Officer $24.1 $12.5

Crew Member Self Defense $1.4 -

Total $25.5 $12.5

The Federal Flight Deck Officer Program (FFDO) program was created by the Arming Pilots Against

Terrorism Act of2003 (APATA - P.L. 107-296), which authorizes the deputation of qualified airline

pilots to act as Federal law enforcement officers in order to defend the flight decks of aircraft against

acts of criminal violence or air piracy. This voluntary program provides a combination of law

enforcement training in firearms proficiency, self-defense tactics, authority, use-of-force, and decisionmaking

in defense of both commercial and cargo aircraft.


The Crew Member Self Defense (CMSD) Program was established via the Vision 100 - Century of

Aviation Reauthorization Act (FAA Reauthorization Act) in 2004. The Act requires TSA to develop

and make available to flight and cabin crewmembers a voluntary, advanced self-defense training

program as another means of safeguarding the civil aviation system.

In FY 2013, the FFDO PPA will be reduced by $343,000 due to enterprise-wide efficiencies and

savings from the purchase of supplies. The following table provides a further breakout of the

Administrative savings for this initiative:

Management Efficiencies - ($0.343 Million)

(dolIars in thousands)

Item Sub-Total Total

Enterprise- Wide Efficiencies ($ 13)

General TDY ($ 9)

Overtime ($ 4)

Management Adjustments ($330)



Budget Constraints Stop Thousands of Federal Officers

From Protecting Nation's Airlines

FFDOA Chairman Capt. Jim Krauss said, "This budget change is not

about efficiency or cost savings, it's about ideology. If the White House

and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) get their way,

hundreds of thousands of flights will go completely unprotected. In just

10 years since 9/ 11, the TSA has already forgotten the vital lessons of

that day. Americans deserve better."

Most often, FFDOs are in the cockpit being quiet professionals and

standing ready to respond to a threat. However, when seated in the

cabin, these FFDOs are restricted from protecting the aircraft and

innocent passengers because of TSAbudget restrictions and shortsighted

internal policies which contradicts a mandate from Congress. On

September 11th, a Federal Officer was on board United Airlines flight #

93. Unfortunately, because of the Federal Aviation Administration's

(FAA)and his own agency's policy at the time, his duty weapon was not

in his immediate possession, leaving him unable to respond and possibly

thwart the hijacking.

TSA has concocted onerous rules for FFDOs that defy sound law

enforcement practices, ignored Congress' original meaning and intent of

the FFDO program, and created circumstances similar to those on

United Airlines flight #93. TSA's own focus groups have determined that

less than 12 hours of additional training would be required for FFDOs to

help protect the aircraft from within aircraft cabin. This contradicts

sharply with TSA administrators, who would insist on adding multiple

weeks of such training.

The $22 million annual budget for the FFDO program has not changed

since it's inception in 2003, despite a l Ou-fold growth in the number of

FFDOs. This has created a TSA self-imposed cap on training new

volunteers. The Federal Air Marshal Service, which covers only a small

fraction of the flights compared to the coverage protected by FFDOs, has

a budget of nearly one billion dollars. Currently, taxpayers spend $15

~.Rep. Chip Cravaack: 'What if our pilots had been armed on 91117' « » Print The Daily Ca... Page 1 of 2

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Rep. Chip Cravaack: 'What if our pilots had been armed on


By AWR Hawkins. Ph.D. 12:51 PM 02/27/2012

To this day, when video plays of the hijacked passenger planes crashing into the World

Trade Centers, there is a hush that comes over many, and a feeling of angst that takes our

minds back to that September morning. We think of the bravery of Todd Beamer and those

who fought alongside him in the Pennsylvania sky, and we remember watching the black

smoke rising from the Pentagon on our televisions, while so many news anchors around the

world were all alike trying to calculate just how many Americans might have died in the

cowardly acts committed by cowardly men.

Quick question: How would this scenario have changed if the pilots of the four hijacked

airplanes had been armed?

The short answer: There's a good chance the World Trade Centers would still be standing

and thousands of Americans who died that day would still be alive.

George W. Bush recognized this, and shortly after 9/11, an armed pilot program called the

Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program was launched. Under this pro2ram, "eligible

flight crewmembers are authorized by the Transportation Security Administration Office of

Law EnforcementlFederal Air Marshal Service to use firearms to defend against an act of

criminal violence or air piracy attempting to gain control of an aircraft."

The good news: The program is operated in such a way that only a very small number of

people know which planes are being piloted by an armed pilot at any given time. Thus, as

concealed carry laws in our states put would-be robbers in the tough position of having to

guess who is and isn't armed before they attempt a robbery, so too the FFDO program

forces the would-be terrorist to consider the fact that if he breaches the cockpit door he

could be facing an H&K .40 cal on the other side.

As I said, that's the good news. And here's the bad news: The Obama administration wants

to eliminate the program. And not only do they want to eliminate it, they have even made

public when the cuts to the program are going to begin. This means would-be terrorists can

mark their calendars, because Obama & Co. are telling the world when our pilots will be

unarmed (and therefore defenseless).

On Friday I spoke with Congressman Chip Cravaack (R-MN) about the approaching end of

the FFDO program, and he spelled out in no uncertain terms exactly what's at stake here.

(And as you read Congressman Cravaack's comments, please keep in mind that he spent time in the FFDO program: so unlike so many in

Washington, he knows that of which he speaks.)

Congressman Cravaack described pilots in the FFDO program as "the last line of defense," and talked at length about how having such

pilots in the sky keeps would-be terrorists trapped "in a guessing game." Nevertheless, Homeland Defense Secretary Janet Napolitano

wants to phase out the program beginning next year, based on her belief that there are more important "risk-based" airline security

measures toward which federal money could be applied.

In other words, she's framing her reasons for ending the program in such a way as to give the impression that the program is too costly.

But Congressman Cravaack undercut that line of thinking completely when he pointed out that pilots involved in the FFDO program

"actually pay more into the program than it costs."

He said "the FFDOs take time off from their work to go for training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy. And they train on

a bi-yearly basis on their own." In the end, because the pilots do so much on their own time, Congressman Cravaack said it only costs the

federal government about $15 a flight to have an armed pilot aboard.

http://dailycaller.coml20 12/02127 Icongressman-chip-cravaack -what- if-our-pilots-had-been... 2/28/2012

Rep. Chip Cravaack: 'What if our pilots had been armed ~- on 9111?' « » Print The Daily Ca... Page 2 of 2

Think about that folks: For $15 we have a "last line of defense," but Napolitano (and by extension, the Obama administration) wants to

end it.

By the way, no matter what administration officials say about how this is an effort to save money or to spend it in better places, it's

actually just the natural outworking of their flawed ideology. Thus, whereas Congressman Cravaack is contending that the program needs

to be saved because armed pilots are the "last line of defense," Napolitano is on record saying that "armed cockpit doors" are the best last

line of defense. (I can only assume that she is referencing the reinforced cockpit doors installed in airplanes after 9111.)

However, what happens when someone figures out a way around (or through) those doors? (And you know that's going to happen.) Or

what will happen if someone succeeds in creating an in-flight, makeshift weapon that allows them to gain control of the passenger area of

a plane?

At that point, what can prevent another 9/11?

The answer is simple: an armed pilot.

Folks, this is no time to take guns away from the pilots who are in the FFDO program, nor is it the time to end that program. We need to

keep the terrorists guessing, and we desperately need the "last line of defense" armed pilots provide us.

As Congressman Cravaack asked rhetorically when I spoke with him Friday, "What if our pilots had been armed on 9111?"

A WR Hawkins is a conservative columnist who has written extensively on political issues for HumanEvents. com, Pajamas Media,

Townhall.com, and Andrew Breitbart's Bigl'eace.com, Bigllollywood.com, BigGovernment.com, and Big.Iournalism.com. He holds a

Ph.D. in Us. military history from Texas Tech University, and was a visiting fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in

the summer of2010. Follow him on Tlviller and on Facebook.

Article printed from The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com

URL to article: http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/27/congressman-chip-cravaack-what-if-our-pilots-had-been-armed-on-9111

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http://dailycaller.coml20 12/02/27 Icongressman-chip-cravaack -what -if-our-pilots-had-been... 2/28/2012