The US Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS), the agency that oversees the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), expects one in four passengers to qualify for expedited screening by the end of 2013, up from one in 12 last year.

Speaking at the 22nd AVSEC World conference in New York Tuesday, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said that by greatly expanding trusted traveler initiatives like Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check, security efforts can become more focused on those people about whom little is known and those who pose the greatest risk.

“In the coming months, TSA will work to develop additional programs that expand risk-based security initiatives to additional populations. In fact, by the end of 2013 TSA expects that one in four passengers will qualify for expedited screening, up from one in 12 last year,” Napolitano said.

“If we have to find a needle in a haystack, we need to make the haystack smaller,” Napolitano said, describing the agency’s transition to risk-based, intelligence-driven security.

Multi-layered approach to aviation security will continue to minimize risks and using prescreening, new technology equipment, training of security staff to identify suspicious behaviors, and strengthening of air cargo security. But the one-size-fits-all security approach, adopted when TSA was created, will rapidly change and expand to a risk-based system. “It’s a big turn of the ship,” Napolitano said.

“One area in particular must continue to receive our sustained attention, and that is aviation, where we’ve seen a range of attempted attacks since 9/11,” she said. “Following the 2009 Christmas Day plot, DHS launched a global initiative to address existing vulnerabilities in international aviation, because as that attack demonstrated, a vulnerability in any part of the international system can put the entire global network at risk.”