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We are hearing questions from our membership concerning FFDOA's recent inclusion on letters addressing the TSA changes to the prohibited items list. (which include allowing small knives inside the passenger cabin) We would like to take this opportunity to detail our position to properly inform everyone of our stance on the issue. In retrospect, we first offer our apology for not sending this important communication piece out with the original blast which included the letter from NAPO. It is our hope that this explanation will suffice in it's place.
After the new rules were announced, the FFDOA leadership agreed with most other stakeholder groups, including the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), which represents a portion of Federal Air Marshals (FAMS), that the introduction of edged instruments back into the cabin was an important security issue which would certainly affect those whose day-to-day workplace is commercial aircraft. (including FFDOs) FFDOA has built a strong working relationship with our parent agency, TSA, and was both surprised and disappointed that there was little or no consultation with industry on this important decision.
TSA's own Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC) which includes a Risk-Based Security (RBS) subcommittee was neither consulted nor informed of the decision, and more importantly, not allowed the opportunity to fulfill it's charter to advise and recommend courses of action to TSA on important aviation security matters. We felt it was neccesary for FFDOA to help communicate that it is NOT acceptable in the future to be overlooked in this process.
In summary, we were certainly willing to join the list of groups who opposed the changes, but the membership should know that our primary objection was the flawed process in which the rule was adopted.  That is where we believe that the inclusion of groups such as FFDOA and the ASAC will result in a better product for them AND for us.
Also, FFDOA believes that these changes, which appear to be inevitable at this point, should at the very least remind Congress and the flying public that a fully-funded, robust FFDO program is needed now more than ever. Also, we encourage TSA to direct resources to the Crewmember Self-Defense Training (CMSDT) course, which includes edged-weapon defense in the basic curriculum, to ensure as many crewmembers as possible are exposed to the important training.
Marcus Flagg, President