National Defense

Improved Support For The Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) Program

In November 2001, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (P.L. 107-71) was passed into law, which included provisions to allow vetted and trained pilots to be armed as law enforcement officers in the cockpit. Those provisions became the FFDO program, overseen by the TSA. Pilots who meet the qualifications are trained by TSA security professionals to be the last line of defense on an aircraft against a potential terrorist hijacking attempt. Today, FFDOs protect thousands of flights each day and serve as a cost-effective complement to our federal air marshals (FAM).

Since its first Congressional appropriation in 2002, funding for the FFDO program has failed to keep pace with the potential growth of the program.

The FFDO program is an essential security layer for our aviation system and should grow to fulfill its mission and goals. There needs to be a top-level vision for this program from TSA leadership which recognizes its essential mission and federal funding that is commensurate with that vision. 


  • The TSA should include at least $25 million per year for the Federal Flight Deck Officer program for FY2018–FY2021.