More systematic evaluations of security approaches surely would have been helpful in understanding the influence of deterrence and opportunities for strengthening it. Indeed, in seeking to regain public confidence in aviation security after September 11, federal policy makers did not have a coherent system in place that could be readily fixed, prompting Congress to take dramatic and hurried measures, from the federalizing of airport screeners to ambitious deadlines for the deployment of costly and potentially unready explosive detectors.

Deterred from one target, the terrorist may well seek another. But if such deflection is indeed what happens, then it is all the more important that deterrence measures are deliberate and well-placed to ensure that the most sensitive potential targets are the ones that are the least appealing to attack.

Security Methods and Techniques That Are Dual-Use, Adaptable, and Opportunistic

Transportation is a diverse and dynamic enterprise. Transportation operations today, from passenger to cargo systems, are fundamentally different from what they were just 20 years ago, when hub-and-spoke systems, express package delivery, just-in-time logistics, and intermodal container operations were in their infancy. Nearly all modes of transportation have experienced sharp increases in traffic volumes and changes in their methods of providing services. It is important, therefore, to ensure that security approaches are capable of adapting to evolving circumstances.

Perhaps the best way to foster such adaptability is to mesh security with other operational tasks and objectives, such as curbing crime, dispatching and tracking vehicles, monitoring the condition of infrastructure, and assuring safe operations.11 Indeed, providing economic incentives for transportation users and operators to build security into their operations will be critical; simply urging greater security consciousness will not be enough, nor will it have lasting effect in such a competitive and cost-sensitive sector. First, before investing in new technologies and procedures, it is important that consideration be given to how those already at hand may be put to another use. Grounding of aircraft by the FAA’s air traffic controllers after the September 11 attacks and the use made by forensic experts of tracking codes imprinted on U.S. mail after the anthrax attacks show that such dual-use opportunities exist and can be integrated into security planning. As a corollary, security-related technologies and procedures themselves can have wider utility; for example, the matching of airline passengers with their bags may also reduce the incidence of lost luggage, and closed circuit television surveillance and undercover patrols by security personnel may reduce


The importance of capitalizing on other transportation-system goals and features to provide security was emphasized in NRC (1999b).

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