Military troops on official travel and their families may soon get through airport security much faster.
The House gave final approval Tuesday to a bill that authorizes the Transportation Security Administration to develop faster screening procedures for troops on official orders traveling in uniform. If President Obama signs the bill into law, the agency would have six months to develop the plans.
“An expedited, risk-based TSA screening process is the least we can do for our men and women in uniform and their families who sacrifice so much,” Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) said Tuesday night, adding that making the bill law would “honor our soldiers by treating them like the patriots they are.”
The White House has not said when Obama might sign the bill — and whether he plans to sign it.
A TSA spokesman wouldn’t comment on the bill, because it is still pending legislation. But the agency already does several things to make the security screening process easier for troops: Service members traveling in uniform with proper identification are not required to remove their boots or belts unless they trigger metal detectors or body-imaging machines. Family members accompanying departing troops or waiting to greet them as they return also may obtain gate passes to pass through security. And the agency said it expedites the screening process for Honor Flight veterans and traveling wounded veterans.
TSA also is testing a program at the Monterey, Calif. airport that allow troops to present their military ID card, have it read by a machine and then pass quickly through security. The pilot is designed primarily to test the technology, which could be rolled out nationwide if it succeeds, according to agency officials.
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