Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Secretary Itimai signs MOA with Department of Homeland Security for Technical Assistance in Aviation Security

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): January 28, 2011 - On January 21, Francis Itimai, Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure, signed on behalf of the FSM National Government, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the US Department of Homeland Security through the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), to provide the FSM Civil Aviation Division of TC&I assistance in developing and modernizing the civil aviation security infrastructure in managerial, operational and technical areas.

Initially, the MOA was first reviewed by both the Homeland Security legal advisor and the FSM Department of Justice and after a long negotiation between the two government agencies, the final MOA was agreed upon and was signed off on October 21, 2010, in Washington D.C. by Mr. Halinski, Assistant Administrator for Global Strategies, before being hand delivered to Palikir, Pohnpei, for FSM's endorsement.

The signing of the MOA was held in Palikir at the Kaselehlia Building, witnessed by Massy Halbert, Assistant Secretary, Division of Civil Aviation, Anthony Mira (Attaché, TSA Manila Office), Ernesto Hofilena (System Analyst/TSA Manila FO), David Reynolds (US Embassy in FSM) and Glenn Harris, FSM Aviation Security Manager.

The TSA field office based in Manila, Philippines, oversees all aviation security practices and measures applied to US registered aircrafts operating in the FSM, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Kiribati. TSA's continuous commitment and cooperative efforts with the FSM in ensuring safe and secure air transportation for our citizens through improved and updated security measures, for deterring any acts of unlawful interferences, and acts of terrorism to our air transportation was evidenced by the execution of this MOA.

The MOA now sets the ground rules of the working relationship between TSA and FSM Department of TC&I in the aviation security spectrum. The Department of TC&I hopes to fully maximize the availability of the technical assistance made available under the MOA. With the MOA in place, TC&I has also set priorities that will encompass both the reviewing and updating of the FSM's national laws for air transportation security and providing capacity building programs for skills and knowledge enhancement for all aviation security applicators across the nation.

Secretary Itimai stressed the importance of this MOA as a milestone to signify the close working relationship between the Department of TC&I and the US Department of the Homeland Security in ensuring suitable aviation security. He thanked Mr. Mira and his colleague for taking the time off their busy schedule to come and witness the signing of this important document and he asked that his words of appreciation be conveyed to the headquarters of the Homeland Security in Washington, DC.

Mr. Mira stressed that this document signifies the importance for the TSA Manila Regional Office's commitment to working closely with the Department of TC&I, most especially with the Assistant Secretary of the Division of Civil Aviation and his staff. After the signing of the MOA, Mr. Mira, his colleague, and Mr. Reynolds, pursued discussions on what are the next steps to take to effectuate both the FSM and the US Government's responsibilities stipulated in the signed MOA.


For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356
e-mail: fsmpio@mail.fm
http://www.fsmpio.fm/