Saturday 17 April 2021
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NCIS critical for airport security

Although there are no specific, significant security concerns at the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA), ICAO has recommended that Namibia’s Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) should work closely with the Namibia Central Intelligence Service to effectively deal with cyber security matters.
This recommendation is contained in the final audit report that was presented by AVSEC consultant Norman Sanyanga this week, days after HKIA passed the Universal Security Audit Program – Continuous Monitoring approach Audit (USAP-CMA) test conducted last month.
The audit states that the intelligence services is key when it comes to coordination risk assessment.
The audit also recommends that the responsibility of cyber security should be clearly allocated. As it stands, at one point it is allocated to the NCIS and at another point it is allocated to Namibian Police.
However, the country still has to fix certain key areas as recommended in the audit. “The important point to note is that the USAP-CMA Audit did not find any significant security concern in the Republic of Namibia,” she said when sharing the audit results.
In the 2010 USAP Audit, Namibia recorded 60% effective implementation against a world average of 68 %.
May 2018 was a mock USAP-CMA audit. It was based on 480 protocols. A total of 159 protocols were found not satisfactory. Amongst these protocols were significant security concerns like mixing of passengers, mixing of cargo, imports and exports and lack of certification of screeners among others. The mock audit achieved 65% based on the 9 audit areas.
November 2018 was a fully-fledged ICAO compliance USAP-CMA audit. It was based on 497 protocols. A total of 126 protocols were found not satisfactory with minor deficiencies. There were no significant security concerns. The USAP-CMA audit achieved a 75% based on the nine audit areas.
The percentage in the full report that will be released in two months’ time, will however be based on eight critical elements on aviation security and may be different from the 75 percent.
It is now up to the relevant and responsible stakeholders to prepare a corrective action plan and submit such a plan to ICAO in 60 days.
They will need to correct deficiencies and develop a plan to continuously improve performance on a sustainable basis.
The consequences of an ICAO downgrade would have been damaging. The UN watchdog red flagged Namibia’s aviation body in the past, claiming the government did not address the safety concerns around the airport.
Local civil aviation experts have however warned that should the airport fail to meet the set security standards, it could force countries to impose restrictions on new charter and scheduled flights from Namibian carriers to their countries.
Others have down played concerns of receiving a failing grade, saying that ICAO would likely provide an opportunity for corrective action, and the body would follow up on their findings.
The audit looked at nine audit areas; Legislation, Training, Quality Control, Airport Operations, Passenger and Baggage, Inflight security, Cargo, Acts of unlawful interference, and facilitation.
On legislations, 16 protocol questions were found not satisfactory compared to 22 protocol questions in May 2018. The audit found that legislation and national documentation are well established.
However, not all latest amendments on the Convention of International Civil Aviation are captured in the legislation.
In Training, 13 protocol questions compared to 12 in May were found not satisfactory.
The audit noted that there is a need to enhance the relevant parts of the national program to ensure appropriate training for covert tests of national aviation security inspectors. The audit also urges that all persons who carry out screening operations are certified.
When it comes to quality control, 26 protocol questions compared to 23 in May were found not satisfactory.
On this crucial audit area, the audit recommends amongst many things that covert tests be conducted regularly and systematically on all different types of security measures. Background checks must also be carried out on all persons conducting security control measures.
On Airport Operations, the airport fell behind this area with 27 protocol questions being satisfactory compared to 20 in May. Currently, not all Airport Security Programmes have been submitted and approved by the appropriate authorities.
Similarly, NAC is not properly implementing quality control especially on access control as it relates to screening by Nampol. Background checks are not being done for all hired employees.
Another shortcoming is the Inflight Security audit area where 14 protocol questions – compared to 9 in May – were found not satisfactory.
There were improvements in the Passengers and Baggage audit area where 4 protocol questions compared to 18 in May were found not satisfactory.
The audit recommended that the screening of originating cabin baggage is consistently and effectively implemented.
The Cargo audit area also had 12 protocol questions flawed compared to 22 in May.
The audit found that the cargo security procedures are not in line with national requirements thus NCAA should ensure that cargo entities met national requirements.
The State would normally be given 15 days to address the significant security concerns, failure with which, the deficiency will be publicised on a secure website. The USAP-CMA entails continuous monitoring.
In order to remain compliant, there is a need for continued institutional strengthening to ensure sustainability. This would translate that NAC and the line ministry would need to set resources aside for this continuous monitoring.

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