NEWS

TSA on Track with Canine Explosive Detection Teams

By Matthew Harwood

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is on track to provide an additional 200 canine explosive detection teams a year to airports and mass transit systems by 2010, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report sent to Congress.

The expansion in the National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program (NEDCTP) was required by the 9-11 Commission Act.

According to the GAO, TSA has trained or is currently training 104 canine explosives detection teams for 2008. TSA's goal is to train 204, of which 170 will be used to screen cargo.

The report, however, says that the TSA will have to hire additional instructors for the NEDCTP if TSA is to meet its goal of training another 200 canine explosive detection teams in 2009. Training a dog to detect explosives, according to the report, takes 7 months.

Currently, there are 430 canine explosive detection teams in the field, most of which have been deployed to the nation's airports. If TSA meets its goal there should be 720 teams patrolling airports and mass transit systems by the end of fiscal year 2009, the report said.

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