On Sept. 11, 2001, Bredeson was in theColorado Springs, Colo., airport, about to take off for Minneapolis,Minn. when he received word of the terrorist attacks in New York andWashington, DC. He could only follow at a distance while the big boardtracking all US flights at ARINC’s command center in Annapolis, Md.,slowly grew dark, as one by one the flights were grounded.
“It was an emotional day for the folks whowere on the line, tracking those aircraft, communicating with them,bringing them down, helping them find safe haven,” he recalled.“Personally, I felt a combination of grief over how this could happento us as Americans and to our industry, and also a lot of questionsabout what it would mean for the future. It wasn’t more than a few daysthat we began looking at all the ways that ARINC touches the airtransportation industry and figuring out ways that we could use thoselinks and capabilities that we have to improve the security of thetransportation sector and prevent something like this from happeningagain.”
ARINC is the air transportation andcommunications giant based in Annapolis, Md. Incorporated in 1929, ithas long been a leading provider of transportation communications andsystems engineering solutions for five major industries: aviation,airports, defense, government and transportation. Its involvement inhomeland security is a natural outgrowth of its activities in thosefields.
Bredeson is in charge of homeland security,and his responsibilities cut across all of the company’s businessareas. He’s been actively promoting ARINC’s capabilities in the serviceof homeland security, not only for aviation at the national level butat the state and local level, and his job is to work across ARINC’sbusiness lines to develop its homeland security strategies.
In mid-2002, Bredeson and ARINC bid on aTransportation Security Administration (TSA) contract to provide theagency with land-mobile radios; it was in competition with Motorola,based in Schaumberg, Ill. Though most industry experts expectedMotorola to win the contract, ARINC pointed out its network of supportemployees in every airport in the country and won the contract,deploying over 7,000 radios at 442 airports and then maintaining thecommunications system.
Bredeson pointed out that ARINC owns andoperates a private packet switch network on behalf of the airtransportation industry that connects the airlines, reservations, carrental agencies and nearly every business operating at airports. Thenetwork can serve as a security asset and is always available.
At airports, ARINC’s Common Use Self-Servekiosks provide passengers’ boarding passes and baggage tags, regardlessof their airline. According to Bredeson, ARINC is now looking toinstall biometric devices as well, that will confirm a passenger’sidentity, speed him or her through checkpoints and add an additionallayer of security.
ARINC is already involved in such Departmentof Homeland Security (DHS) programs as the Coast Guard’s Deepwater,where it’s providing avionics and the blueprints of avionics systems,and it is on one of the teams competing for the Integrated WirelessNetwork, a joint program of DHS, the Justice Department and theTreasury Department.
Bredeson and his colleagues are particularlyproud of ARINC’s solution to the problem of responder interoperability,a product called the ARINC Wireless Interoperability Network Solution,or AWINS. This allows responders and emergency personnel to communicateon any wireless device, including UHF and VHF analog radios—and even onship-to-shore and air-to-ground devices.
ARINC is also deeply involved in SecureFlight, the successor program to the canceled CAPPS II for tracking airtravelers. Here, as in so many areas, ARINC is bringing its extensivetechnological heritage and infrastructure to bear on problems ofhomeland security.
“We already connect to all of the airportswith our communications network, we already connect to all of the hostsystems and we can transmit data to and from airlines, airports and thegovernment with a network that we already own and operate,” saidBredeson, adding what could serve as a summary of all ARINC’s efforts:“We’re not building a new wheel—we’re using what we already have tobetter secure the country’s transportation system.” HST