The long-awaited repair station security rule has finally shaken free from the clutches of the Department of Homeland Security. The rule, which had been “in coordination” between the Transportation Security Administration and DHS for well over a year, was sent to the Office of Management and Budget for review. OMB acknowledged its receipt on March 16, starting what is typically a 90-day review.
OMB review is usually the final hurdle before a rule can be issued. "For the first time in a while, we are making progress," TSA Administrator John Pistole told the House transportation security subcommittee.
This progress (or until now lack thereof) has been closely watched by industry and international regulators, since Congress has prohibited FAA from certifying new foreign repair stations until the final repair station security is released. That prohibition has been in place for four and one-half years.
While the rule is years late – Congress first mandated it a decade ago -- TSA has moved forward on working with industry on oversight and believes that most repair stations will be in compliance or near compliance by the time it is released.
By coordinating with industry, it's TSA's hope that there will be few flags for OMB to further delay the rule's progress. When Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) asked when it would be released, Pistole was cautious, saying it "should" be this year. If it were to follow a typical OMB review, the rule could be out by midyear.