TSA officials detail role of canine bomb detection teams

Two Transportation Security Administration officials described the role of the National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program (NEDCTP) on Tuesday during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security.

TSA Office of Security Operations Threat Assessment Division Director Melanie Harvey and Annmarie Lontz, the Security Services and Assessments Division director, said the importance of the NEDCTP represents cooperation between government agencies.

"They are a key component of TSA's risk based security model and an important layer of TSA's multi-layered security program," Harvey and Lontz said. "The success of the NEDCTP is a prime example of federal, state, and local governmental entities working together with a common goal - to help secure our nation's transportation system."

Harvey and Lontz detailed the varying roles played by the NEDCTP, including passenger screening at airports and high visibility searches and activities that address potential threats in the security system.

The TSA officials also noted the implementation in 2013 of a process that evaluates and recognizes canine detection teams in other countries. The TSA has already conducted reviews of canine teams in New Zealand, the European Union and South Africa.

The TSA operates 985 canine teams in more than 100 airports, mass transit and maritime systems in the U.S.