Aviation and communications executives are mostly positive about a proposed overhaul of the U.S. air transportation system.
John Marburger, the president's senior science and technology adviser, introduced the plan in a speech before a congressional commission looking at the future of U.S. aerospace companies.
The proposal focuses on integrating defense, homeland security and civil aviation needs within a common system of communications, navigation and surveillance. Implementing the system would require technological help from the Department of Defense, NASA and private industry to provide satellite-based voice and data, satellite navigation and other capabilities to help assure safe flight.
But White House spokeswoman Anne Womack told UPI that Marburger's statement was part of a "broad vision," of the relationship "between agencies that have a common interest."
"It was not a statement of policy," Womack concluded.
Nonetheless, those attending the Aviation Week Homeland Security and Defense Conference in Washington said the proposal could provide a long-overdue revamping of the country's air-traffic-control system.
Louis Turpen -- CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and former director of the San Francisco Airport for 14 years -- said U.S. aviation had the luxury of operating in two separate worlds before Sept. 11.
"I think unity of command is critical in ATC (air traffic control), I think it's critical in aviation security," Turpen told UPI. "What you're getting is two things; you could get the integration and the flow of money could spawn a 'replacement' system."
One insider familiar with discussions about the plan and civil and military aviation systems old UPI one issue driving the effort is the need to deal with aircraft that have veered off their flight path -- like those in the Sept. 11 attacks -- without grounding the entire U.S. air fleet.
"When we had a truck bomb in Oklahoma, we didn't stop all people driving trucks," said the source, who asked not to be identified.
The primary requirement is for clear information or "situational awareness," said the source who noted that merging procedures would be the biggest challenge -- including the way in which known and unknown aircraft are handled.
Irwin Jacobs, CEO of telecom giant Qualcomm, said airlines' plans to fly less-structured routes using the Global Positioning System would require an ATC upgrade in any case.
"The coordination that's discussed here between military and commercial (operations) becomes even more important," Jacobs told UPI. "Having (ground) communication with all the aircraft and an additional channel for GPS information could provide that extra margin of safety."
(Thanks to UPI Science News Writer Scott Burnell)
MORE AVIATION NEWS
The United States has told several foreign airlines that passengers arriving in the United States will undergo extremely rigorous searches, starting Thursday, if the airlines did not send the information needed to identify potential terrorists.
The ultimatum has been issued to 58 carriers -- including Saudi Arabian Airlines and Pakistan International Airlines -- The New York Times reports.
Under a new aviation security law, signed by President Bush on Nov. 19, foreign carriers must send passenger lists for all flights to the United States. The lists must include the full name and citizenship of every passenger and crewmember, along with other such information as the number of the passport and the country where it was issued.
"This information will be used by the Customs Service to improve air security by, among other things, identifying potential terrorists seeking to enter the United States," the commissioner of customs, Robert Bonner said in his letter to the airlines.
Booner added that they "recognize that the vast majority of travelers are not a threat to the United States. However, we believe that in the wake of Sept. 11, international flights pose a serious national security risk to the United States if carriers do not provide comprehensive and accurate data."
U.S. officials have said 15 of the 19 hijackers whose planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were from Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabian Airlines and the Saudi Embassy declined to comment on the new requirement, The Times said. A spokesman for the Saudi Embassy said last month that his country was not in any hurry to sign up for the passenger information system.
WORK, WORK, WORK
Women who work outside the home are still stuck with the bulk of the domestic chores.
But things are not as inequitable as they seem, according to a new study by Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., which found men spend more hours in the marketplace.
Sonia Dalmia, professor of economics at the university's Seidman School of Business, and her class surveyed 700 households in western Michigan to examine time-use patterns by gender.
Ninety percent of the women responding to the survey said they worked outside the home, 58 percent of them full time.
The study found that when considering total time spent working per week, excluding childcare, men work more than women overall -- 58 hours per week compared to 57 hours for women. However, whether men were employed or not, the amount of work they did around the house was about the same -- 12 percent for the unemployed and 13 percent for the employed.
"Women's work is still not valued as much as men's," Dalmia told the Grand Rapids Press.
Another finding was the married women spend more time on household chores than those just living with a significant other, while cohabiting men work less than married men and do more around the house.
And those men with children spend extra time in the workplace rather than at home doing laundry or other household tasks, the survey found.
Men and women spend just about the same amount of time pursuing leisure activities -- men slightly more than 17 hours a week and women slightly less than 17 hours a week. Bill-paying also was about evenly split.
The study also found that as women's education levels rose, the housework gap between the sexes narrowed. Men typically took on the outdoor chores while women handled the cooking, cleaning and laundry.
A West Coast-based home security system says it is its "patriotic" duty" to "provide valuable products to guard families from a further, very possible terrorist act."
And so www.homefrontsecurity.info, a division of Global Data Supply (GDS), has introduced a complete line of "homefront" protection devices through Frys Electronics, a leading retailer with mega stores in major metropolitan areas in California, Texas, Arizona and Oregon.
They include several models of NBC civilian masks (for adults and youth), NBC filter canisters, Respro protective hood for children, Inpro-infant protector, and communal shelters to protect occupants from all known NBC agents.
The entire home protection products are imported from Israel. GDS says the masks have achieved official recognition and certification by both the Israeli Defense Authorities and the U.S. Army.
"It is patriotic and responsible for businesses to provide valuable products to guard families from a further, very possible terrorist act. For the first time ever, we have introduced the infant and child protector unit in the United States. We are proud that Frys Electronics took the valiant step to offer home protection for their customers through their retail stores," said Patty Gur, CEO of Global Data Supply.