AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Gov. Rick Perry Thursday placed the Texas National Guard on alert to prepare for immediate deployment across the state to help with airport security.
"Posting National Guard troops at airports is a necessary step in ensuring public confidence in the safety of flying," the governor said. "While the sight of the National Guard at airport checkpoints might be disconcerting initially, the additional and very visible sign of security should provide comfort to travelers."
Perry acted after President Bush asked the nation's governors to call up about 4,000 members of the Guard to work security at 720 checkpoints in the country's 420 commercial airports.
Perry said Guard members would be posted at Texas airports as soon as possible after undergoing three or four days of training.
"The use of National Guard members to provide security at airports is a temporary measure to
allow the federal government time to enact permanent, increased security at airports," he said.
National Guard personnel will be activated after the Department of Defense reviews Texas plans to ensure that airport security needs do not conflict with the requirements of Operation Enduring Freedom, the code name for the U.S. response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Federal Aviation Administration will establish an airport priority list to determine where Guard members will be deployed first, the governor's office said. Top priority will be given to the nation's biggest and busiest airports, such as Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
National Guard members will receive training from the FAA in airport security techniques, including passenger and baggage screening, conflict management, and handling of deadly
The federal government will pay the cost of mobilization, the governor's office said.