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NEWS | Dec. 16, 2013

Service members now receive expedited airport security screenings

By David Vergun Army News Service

Service members are now eligible for expedited pre-flight screening at airports, meaning they'll be able to get into the express line where they don't need to remove their shoes and belts or take laptops out of their baggage.

All Service members, including reserve, National Guard and Coast Guard members, will be eligible for the Transportation Security Administration Precheck Program. Those in the Guard and reserve do not need to be in an activated status, and Service members do not need to be in uniform, said Mark Howell, TSA spokesman.

Personnel in the Individual Ready Reserve, military retirees and Army and Department of Defense civilians are not eligible, he added.

Service members will enter their CAC identification number into the "Known Traveler" field when booking airline tickets. All airlines have this field on their forms, as does the Defense Travel System, or DTS. Military personnel should consult their DTS representative for more information.

Once the Service member books his or her airline ticket, the airline sends the CAC ID number and the member's information to TSA's Secure Flight office, a program that maintains a criminal and terrorist watch list. When the Service member prints his or her boarding pass at the airport, a "TSA Secure Flight" logo will appear at the top, which will inform TSA personnel to allow the member into the expedited pre-flight line,  Howell said.

Non-military spouses are not eligible, nor are their children, except for those aged 12 and under. However, Howell said TSA will soon offer them and the general public the same TSA Precheck Program benefits Service members receive, albeit with an $85 fee and a five-year eligibility window.

Many in the TSA are excited about extending the program to Service members, he said, as veterans make up approximately 25 percent of TSA's work force, including Howell, an Army veteran.

"In the future, we'd like to facilitate expedited pre-flight screening for more and more Americans," he said.