Unisys To Begin Networking TSA Screening Systems With Pilot Effort

After being cleared in April to begin work on a security network integration program for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Unisys [UIS] and the agency are developing plans to first pilot the solution this summer at an airport.

The pilot at Dulles International Airport, which Unisys expects will occur throughout this summer and into the fall, will let the company begin to reconnect Transportation Security Equipment to the TSA network and prove out that it meets cyber security requirements without impacting the mission performance of the various screening systems, Amy Rall, group vice president for Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure at Unisys Federal, told Defense Daily.

As Unisys proves out its solution for the Domain Awareness Integrated Network (DOMAIN), the company will provide recommendations to TSA for how to scale up the program. But it will be the agency’s decision on when and where to roll out the network integration effort at other airports across the country, Rall said in a May 7 interview. She expects DOMAIN to be scaling up to other airports throughout 2019.

Amy Rall, group vice president for Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure at Unisys Federal. Photo: Unisys

Amy Rall, group vice president for Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure at Unisys Federal. Photo: Unisys

Dulles, which is near Washington, D.C., is close to TSA and Unisys and provides the core security equipment that will be brought back onto the agency’s network, Rall said. A key part of the pilot will be ensuring the cyber security and cyber hygiene of the security equipment in Unisys’ solution.

TSA was in the process of connecting its security equipment to its network under the previous Security Technology Integrated Program (STIP) with General Dynamics [GD] until a massive data breach in 2014 and 2015 of the federal Office of Personnel Management was detected, forcing the agency to take offline equipment that had previously been integrated onto the network. Since then, TSA recompeted the contract, which resulted in Unisys winning the integration effort.

Rall said that the Unisys Stealth software solution works with legacy operating systems and new equipment. She said it will allow data to cross the TSA network without compromising anything on the network, noting that it’s important not to impact the sensors on the security equipment that screen travelers for threats.

Unisys is currently finishing up taking over operations and maintenance responsibilities from GD for STIP as it gets ready to transition to the Dulles pilot, Rall said.

In addition to meeting cyber security requirements, reconnecting security equipment to the network will also bring back the ability for TSA to be able to monitor the health of its screening systems remotely and in real-time. Once connected to the network, equipment will provide alerts for potential problems and maintenance needs, which will make remediation efforts easier and more efficient, Rall said.

Eventually, the data provided by the security equipment over the network will be used to improve security screening and the traveler experience, Rall said. She said these capabilities are in line with TSA Administrator David Pekoske’s goals to provide better intelligence to the Transportation Security Officers so that they can make better decisions at the screening lanes and to enable better operation of the lanes in the future.

She said Unisys already provides these capabilities to other airports and ports of entry globally. The company also has contracts with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to enhance security and the flow of people crossing at U.S. land ports of entry.

The DOMAIN contract is worth up to $250 million for Unisys over five years.

Separately, on Tuesday, Unisys said it has been selected by CBP to develop and operate systems that provide risk assessments of people and cargo entering the U.S. The company will support the agency's Targeting and Analysis Systems Program Directorate.

The award is worth up to $407.4 million over 5.5 years if all options are exercised. Unisys said the contract continues its work with the CBP directorate.

Unisys said its risk assessment solution includes big data analytics, cloud and biometrics to help better target its security levels. The company said that LineSight software helps "CBP officers and agents automatically identify which shipments or travelers present a low risk appropriate for 'low touch' automated clearance and those that present a higher risk requiring additional investigation or inspection."

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