A $138 million, 57-mile system of sensors that will incorporate radar, video motion detectors, thermal imagers, and closed-circuit television is being erected around the perimeters of John F. Kennedy International (JFK), LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International, and Teterboro Airport.

Designed by Raytheon, the virtual fence is already in use at Ben-Gurion International in Tel Aviv and Baghdad's airport. The system was in the works before the alleged plot to attack JFK was uncovered and is designed to prevent such an attack.

"If you can't breach the perimeter of the airport, you can't reach the fuel farms," said one unnamed official.

The system would send data in real time to a central Port Authority Police station and airport command posts and will be another layer in airport security.

However, former head of security at Ben-Gurion, Rafi Ron, notes that the system will be useless if not combined with an adequate response force. "The question is not only detecting an intrusion but being able to respond to it in due time," says Ron, who now heads a transportation security firm in McLean, VA. "I think that most U.S. airports are relatively quick to invest in the technology, but fail to provide the human resources to respond to the detection when it occurs."

The system should be operational by early next year.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from New York Newsday (06/05/07); Eisenberg, Carol.