Christine Spigai

With hundreds of billions of letters and parcels sent every year, terrorists have long used cargo to conceal and transport improvised explosive devices (IEDs). And while the industry continues to remain steadfast in employing processes to combat this growing threat and ensure public safety, discussions continue as to the most effective methods. This will be the focus of a presentation track at the upcoming 13th IATA Annual World Cargo Symposium (WCS). Airlines, International organizations, regulators and screening providers will join to discuss the future of air cargo security screening – what is new and anticipated to aid in faster and more effective explosive detection screening.

MSA Security’s Vice President of Global Operations, Justin Kelley, will participate in a panel addressing cutting-edge technologies best suited for the complex security threats facing today’s air cargo industry. As it turns out, one of the most effective solution is not technology at all. MSA knows a properly imprinted and trained canine remains the safest, most effective and operationally efficient tool for cargo screening. “There is no machine, equipment or technology, no matter how innovative, that can detect the presence of explosive materials like a well-imprinted and trained canine,” said Kelley.

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As the largest private provider of Explosive Detection Canine Teams in America, MSA believes that effective training is a fundamental component to a canine’s success in the field. MSA Training prepares dogs for explosive detection in four proven phases:

Breeding – A rigorous vetting process selects best-in-class sporting breeds with a keen sense of smell, strong drive, intelligence, stable temperament and eagerness to please.

Socialization – MSA selects dogs with an impressive level of existing socialization to accelerate the training process and yield significant results.

Imprintation – MSA canines are imprinted on all five families of explosives, as well as homemade explosives like TATP, HMTD, Potassium Chlorate, Ammonium Nitrate and Urea Nitrate.

Operational – In the final phase, MSA canines are trained in specialty modules that directly reflect their intended deployment, such as the unique air cargo environment.

This training, which is conducted at one of MSA’s six training facilities throughout the country, must also rely on the expert input of seasoned bomb technicians, chemists and master trainers. Post-deployment, regular sustainment training is essential to ensure optimal detection capabilities on emerging and ever-evolving explosive threats. MSA currently has more than 600 Windsor Teams returning for quarterly quality assurance training and testing – and they’re always trained on live explosives, which has proven to be a critical distinction that matters in the field. “The foundation of any effective explosive detection training program must include the ability to house and train on both high- and low-grade live explosives – never on pseudo-explosive odors,” explained Kelley.

Kelley will speak in greater detail on the value of properly-trained canines for air cargo screening and MSA’s rigorous and scientific process for honing their skills to identify explosive threats during WCS’ discussion panel, “Cutting edge technology solutions, non-technology-based solutions such as K9 and other methods,” on Thursday, March 14th from 9:15 AM – 10:00 AM.

The air cargo industry demand for skilled EDC teams grows more significant each day. Actively engaged with the industry, MSA Windsor Teams meet rigorous TSA standards and are well-equipped to support growing third-party screening demands from regulated cargo carriers of all sizes. MSA has offices and training facilities in key U.S. and global markets like New York City, Connecticut (Windsor), Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Memphis, San Diego, Dubai and Hong Kong, and currently more than 50 of MSA’s Windsor Teams are Certified 3PK9-C Teams throughout the U.S. Three additional regional training centers are planned for 2019.

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