< Back to S. 2554 (107th Congress, 2001–2002)

Text of the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism and Cabin Defense Act of 2002

This bill was introduced on May 23, 2002, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of May 23, 2002 (Introduced).

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S 2554 IS

107th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2554

To amend title 49, United States Code, to establish a program for Federal flight deck officers, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 23, 2002

Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire (for himself, Mr. MILLER, Mr. MURKOWSKI, Mr. BURNS, Mr. BUNNING, and Mr. THURMOND) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation


A BILL

To amend title 49, United States Code, to establish a program for Federal flight deck officers, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Arming Pilots Against Terrorism and Cabin Defense Act of 2002’.

SEC. 2. FEDERAL FLIGHT DECK OFFICER PROGRAM.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Subchapter I of chapter 449 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

‘Sec. 44921. Federal flight deck officer program

    ‘(a) ESTABLISHMENT- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism and Cabin Defense Act of 2002, the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall establish a program to deputize qualified pilots of commercial cargo or passenger aircraft who volunteer for the program as Federal law enforcement officers to defend the flight decks of commercial aircraft of air carriers engaged in air transportation or intrastate air transportation against acts of criminal violence or air piracy. Such officers shall be known as ‘Federal flight deck officers’. The program shall be administered in connection with the Federal air marshal program.

    ‘(b) QUALIFIED PILOT- Under the program described in subsection (a), a qualified pilot is a pilot of an aircraft engaged in air transportation or intrastate air transportation who--

      ‘(1) is employed by an air carrier;

      ‘(2) has demonstrated fitness to be a Federal flight deck officer in accordance with regulations promulgated pursuant to this title; and

      ‘(3) has been the subject of an employment investigation (including a criminal history record check) under section 44936(a)(1).

    ‘(c) TRAINING, SUPERVISION, AND EQUIPMENT- The Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall provide or make arrangements for training, supervision, and equipment necessary for a qualified pilot to be a Federal flight deck officer under this section at no expense to the pilot or the air carrier employing the pilot. The Under Secretary may approve private training programs which meet the Under Secretary’s specifications and guidelines. Air carriers shall make accommodations to facilitate the training of their pilots as Federal flight deck officers and shall facilitate Federal flight deck officers in the conduct of their duties under this program.

    ‘(d) DEPUTIZATION-

      ‘(1) IN GENERAL- The Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall train and deputize, as a Federal flight deck officer under this section, any qualified pilot who submits to the Under Secretary a request to be such an officer.

      ‘(2) INITIAL DEPUTIZATION- Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Under Secretary shall deputize not fewer than 500 qualified pilots who are former military or law enforcement personnel as Federal flight deck officers under this section.

      ‘(3) FULL IMPLEMENTATION- Not later than 24 months after the date of enactment of this section, the Under Secretary shall deputize any qualified pilot as a Federal flight deck officer under this section.

    ‘(e) COMPENSATION- Pilots participating in the program under this section shall not be eligible for compensation from the Federal Government for services provided as a Federal flight deck officer.

    ‘(f) AUTHORITY TO CARRY FIREARMS- The Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall authorize a Federal flight deck officer under this section to carry a firearm to defend the flight deck of a commercial passenger or cargo aircraft while engaged in providing air transportation or intrastate air transportation. No air carrier may prohibit a Federal flight deck officer from carrying a firearm in accordance with the provisions of the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism and Cabin Defense Act of 2002.

    ‘(g) AUTHORITY TO USE FORCE- Notwithstanding section 44903(d), a Federal flight deck officer may use force (including lethal force) against an individual in the defense of a commercial aircraft in air transportation or intrastate air transportation if the officer reasonably believes that the security of the aircraft is at risk.

    ‘(h) LIMITATION ON LIABILITY-

      ‘(1) LIABILITY OF AIR CARRIERS- An air carrier shall not be liable for damages in any action brought in a Federal or State court arising out of the air carrier employing a pilot of an aircraft who is a Federal flight deck officer under this section or out of the acts or omissions of the pilot in defending an aircraft of the air carrier against acts of criminal violence or air piracy.

      ‘(2) LIABILITY OF FEDERAL FLIGHT DECK OFFICERS- A Federal flight deck officer shall not be liable for damages in any action brought in a Federal or State court arising out of the acts or omissions of the officer in defending an aircraft against acts of criminal violence or air piracy unless the officer is guilty of gross negligence or willful misconduct.

      ‘(3) EMPLOYEE STATUS OF FEDERAL FLIGHT DECK OFFICERS- A Federal flight deck officer shall be considered an ‘employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment’ with respect to any act or omission of the officer in defending an aircraft against acts of criminal violence or air piracy, for purposes of sections 1346(b),

2401(b), and 2671 through 2680 of title 28 United States Code.

    ‘(i) REGULATIONS- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security, in consultation with the Firearms Training Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shall issue regulations to carry out this section.

    ‘(j) PILOT DEFINED- In this section, the term ‘pilot’ means an individual who is responsible for the operation of an aircraft, and includes a co-pilot or other member of the flight deck crew.’.

    (b) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS-

      (1) CHAPTER ANALYSIS- The analysis for such chapter 449 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 44920 the following new item:

      ‘44921. Federal flight deck officer program.’.

      (2) EMPLOYMENT INVESTIGATIONS- Section 44936(a)(1)(B) is amended--

        (A) by aligning clause (iii) with clause (ii);

        (B) by striking ‘and’ at the end of clause (iii);

        (C) by striking the period at the end of clause (iv) and inserting ‘; and’; and

        (D) by adding at the end the following:

          ‘(v) qualified pilots who are deputized as Federal flight deck officers under section 44921.’.

      (3) FLIGHT DECK SECURITY- Section 128 of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (49 U.S.C. 44903 note) is repealed.

SEC. 3. CABIN SECURITY.

    (a) TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS- Section 44903, of title 49, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) by redesignating subsection (h) (relating to authority to arm flight deck crew with less-than-lethal weapons, as added by section 126(b) of public law 107-71) as subsection (j); and

      (2) by redesignating subsection (h) (relating to limitation on liability for acts to thwart criminal violence or aircraft piracy, as added by section 144 of public law 107-71) as subsection (k).

    (b) AVIATION CREWMEMBER SELF-DEFENSE DIVISION- Section 44918 of title 49, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) by striking subsection (a) and inserting the following new subsection:

    ‘(a) IN GENERAL-

      ‘(1) REQUIREMENT FOR AIR CARRIERS- Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism and Cabin Defense Act of 2002, the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security, shall prescribe detailed requirements for an air carrier cabin crew training program, and for the instructors of that program as described in subsection (b) to prepare crew members for potential threat conditions. In developing the requirements, the Under Secretary shall consult with appropriate law enforcement personnel who have expertise in self-defense training, security experts, and terrorism experts, and representatives of air carriers and labor organizations representing individuals employed in commercial aviation.

      ‘(2) AVIATION CREWMEMBER SELF-DEFENSE DIVISION- Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism and Cabin Defense Act of 2002, the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall establish an Aviation Crew Self-Defense Division within the Transportation Security Administration. The Division shall develop and administer the implementation of the requirements described in this section. The Under Secretary shall appoint a Director of the Aviation Crew Self-Defense Division who shall be the head of the Division. The Director shall report to the Under Secretary. In the selection of the Director, the Under Secretary shall solicit recommendations from law enforcement, air carriers, and labor organizations representing individuals employed in commercial aviation. The Director shall have a background in self-defense training, including military or law enforcement training with an emphasis in teaching self-defense and the appropriate use force. Regional training supervisors shall be under the control of the Director and shall have appropriate training and experience in teaching self-defense and the appropriate use of force.’;

      (2) by striking subsection (b), and inserting the following new subsection:

    ‘(b) PROGRAM ELEMENTS-

      ‘(1) IN GENERAL- The requirements prescribed under subsection (a) shall include, at a minimum, 28 hours of self-defense training that incorporates classroom and situational training that contains the following elements:

        ‘(A) Determination of the seriousness of any occurrence.

        ‘(B) Crew communication and coordination.

        ‘(C) Appropriate responses to defend oneself, including a minimum of 16 hours of hands-on training, with reasonable and effective requirements on time allotment over a 4 week period, in the following levels of self-defense:

          ‘(i) awareness, deterrence, and avoidance;

          ‘(ii) verbalization;

          ‘(iii) empty hand control;

          ‘(iv) intermediate weapons and self-defense techniques; and

          ‘(v) deadly force.

        ‘(D) Use of protective devices assigned to crewmembers (to the extent such devices are approved by the Administrator or Under Secretary).

        ‘(E) Psychology of terrorists to cope with hijacker behavior and passenger responses.

        ‘(F) Live situational simulation joint training exercises regarding various threat conditions, including all of the elements required by this section.

        ‘(G) Flight deck procedures or aircraft maneuvers to defend the aircraft.

      ‘(2) PROGRAM ELEMENTS FOR INSTRUCTORS- The requirements prescribed under subsection (a) shall contain program elements for instructors that include, at a minimum, the following:

        ‘(A) A certification program for the instructors who will provide the training described in paragraph (1).

        ‘(B) A requirement that no training session shall have fewer than 1 instructor for every 12 students.

        ‘(C) A requirement that air carriers provide certain instructor information, including names and qualifications, to the Aviation Crew Member Self-Defense Division within 30 days after receiving the requirements described in subsection (a).

        ‘(D) Training course curriculum lesson plans and performance objectives to be used by instructors.

        ‘(E) Written training bulletins to reinforce course lessons and provide necessary progressive updates to instructors.

      ‘(3) RECURRENT TRAINING- Each air carrier shall provide the training under the program every 6 months after the completion of the initial training.

      ‘(4) INITIAL TRAINING- Air carriers shall provide the initial training under the program within 24 months of the date of enactment of the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism and Cabin Defense Act of 2002.

      ‘(5) COMMUNICATION DEVICES- The requirements described in subsection (a) shall include a provision mandating that air carriers provide flight and cabin crew with a discreet, hands-free, wireless method of communicating with the flight deck.’; and

      (3) by adding at the end the following new subsections:

    ‘(f) RULEMAKING AUTHORITY- Notwithstanding subsection (j) (relating to authority to arm flight deck crew with less than-lethal weapons) of section 44903, of this title, within 180 days after the date of enactment of the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism and Cabin Defense Act of 2002, the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security, in consultation with persons described in subsection (a)(1), shall prescribe regulations requiring air carriers to--

      ‘(1) provide adequate training in the proper conduct of a cabin search and allow adequate duty time to perform such a search; and

      ‘(2) conduct a preflight security briefing with flight deck and cabin crew and, when available, Federal air marshals or other authorized law enforcement officials.

    ‘(g) LIMITATION ON LIABILITY-

      ‘(1) AIR CARRIERS- An air carrier shall not be liable for damages in any action brought in a Federal or State court arising out of the acts or omissions of the air carrier’s training instructors or cabin crew using reasonable and necessary force in defending an aircraft of the air carrier against acts of criminal violence or air piracy.

      ‘(2) TRAINING INSTRUCTORS AND CABIN CREW- An air carrier’s training instructors or cabin crew shall not be liable for damages in any action brought in a Federal or State court arising out of an act or omission of a training instructor or a member of the cabin crew regarding the defense of an aircraft against acts of criminal violence or air piracy unless the crew member is guilty of gross negligence or willful misconduct.’.

    (c) NONLETHAL WEAPONS FOR FLIGHT ATTENDANTS-

      (1) STUDY- The Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall conduct a study to determine whether possession of a nonlethal weapon by a member of an air carrier’s cabin crew would aid the flight deck crew in combating air piracy and criminal violence on commercial airlines.

      (2) REPORT- Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall prepare and submit to Congress a report on the study conducted under paragraph (1).