Published On: Wed, Apr 17th, 2013

Rand Paul drills Janet Napolitano on cutting the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program

During the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to review President Obama’s proposed FY 2014 Department of Homeland Security budget, in which President Obama ceases funding for the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program.

Image/Video Screen Shot

Image/Video Screen Shot

The Federal Flight Deck Officer Program allows pilots of commercial airlines to carry firearms with the intent of deterring events like what happened on 9-11-2001.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) asked Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano about her commitment on arming pilots.

Napolitano said that pilots that did go through the program are considered properly trained. However, concerning zeroing the program out of the budget, she says,  Well, I’ll tell you the reason why we zero’d it out, Senator, and that is — and it goes to a lot of the changes in the budget. We’re moving to risk-based. And FFDO program is not risk-based. It’s just happenstance, where you happen to have a pilot on board that went through the training or not. We’re offering the training to air carriers if they want their pilots covered. But we would rather stick with the FAMS [Federal Air Marshal Service] who are portion-based on risk.

Paul points out the simple fact about deterrence, “Part of deterrence is not knowing who’s armed and who’s not armed, not knowing whose house has guns and whose doesn’t. That’s why we don’t want registries published of who owns guns and who don’t. I feel better even if 5 percent of the pilots have it because the terrorists don’t know which 5 percent of the pilots have it.”

He then questions the Secretary’s commitment, “I think zeroing out the funding shows a lack of commitment to the idea of self-defense and sends a huge signal to terrorists around world if we’re  not going to arm our pilots. In fact, I think we need to go the opposite direction.

“I’m for saving money. We have all kinds of sunk costs in training facilities for police officers, state troopers, you know, shouldn’t have to be done in one place.

“We have conceal and carry in most of the states around the country. There’s no reason why you can’t have local training. I would take military officers who have had extensive training already and exempt them from half the program so they can save time and expense on getting it done. But I think the idea of deterrence can’t be measured. You can’t, you know, you can’t measure how important it is to have deterrence. But I think that a lot of us would argue that having pilots armed is a great deal of deterrence and we shouldn’t send any indication to any terrorist around the world that we aren’t serious about having our pilots armed.”

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63


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