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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative 2 TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM CHARACTERISTICS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR SECURITY Several common characteristics of transportation systems make it likely that certain kinds of security strategies will be most suitable. These characteristics, along with their implications for security strategies, are discussed in this chapter. KEY TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM CHARACTERISTICS Security strategies must be suited to the systems to be secured and defended. The salient common characteristics of transportation systems are reviewed below. OPEN AND ACCESSIBLE Designed and organized for the efficient, convenient, and expeditious movement of large volumes of people and goods, transportation systems must have a high degree of user access. In some cases—highways, for example—access is almost entirely open. Many transportation facilities, such as train stations, are public places, open by necessity. In other cases, such as commercial aviation, access is more limited, but still not fully closed; access to most airport lobbies, ticket lines, and baggage check-in areas remains unrestricted. Moreover, much of the transportation infrastructure, from airports to highway and rail bridges, was designed and built long before concerns about security and terrorism had arisen. Fully integrating security within the transportation sector will take many decades as long-lived assets are gradually modified and replaced.
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative EXTENSIVE AND UBIQUITOUS Transportation systems require vast amounts of physical infrastructure and assets.1 The U.S. highway system consists of 4 million interconnected miles of paved roadway, including more than 45,000 miles of Interstate freeway and 600,000 bridges. Freight rail networks extend for more than 300,000 miles, and commuter and urban rail systems cover some 10,000 miles. Even the more contained civil aviation system has around 500 commercial-service airports and another 14,000 smaller general aviation airports scattered across the country. These networks also contain many other fixed facilities, such as terminals, navigation aids, switchyards, locks, maintenance bases, and operation control centers. Most of this infrastructure is unguarded and sometimes unattended. Distributed over the networks are millions of vehicles and containers. These vehicles and containers are repeatedly moved from one location to another, complicating the task of monitoring, safeguarding, and controlling them. EMPHASIS ON EFFICIENCY AND COMPETITIVENESS Although much of the transportation infrastructure in the United States is owned by the public sector, the development of this infrastructure has been driven largely by the demands of private users. Widespread use of private cars and motor carriers, for instance, has spurred greater investment in the highway system relative to public transit and railroads. Likewise, travel by motor vehicle and airplane displaced demand for intercity passenger rail service in the second half of the 20th century, prompting increased government spending on freeways and airports. The economic deregulation that swept through the transportation sector during the last quarter of the 20th century has led to even greater emphasis on efficiency as a criterion for transportation investments and, to a certain degree, to a loss of redundancy and excess capacity in the sector as a whole. The dynamism of the U.S. transportation sector is unmatched in the world, and is a major reason for the nation’s high produc- 1 See Bureau of Transportation Statistics (2000) for more complete statistics on the extent of the U.S. transportation sector. The numbers cited in this subsection are derived mainly from this compendium.
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative tivity and mobility. Another consequence of the increased emphasis on efficiency, however, is that costly security measures that promise unclear benefits or impede operations are likely to be resisted or eschewed, whereas those that confer economic benefits are apt to be deployed and sustained. DIVERSE OWNERS, OPERATORS, USERS, AND OVERSEERS Much of the physical infrastructure of transportation—from highways and airports to urban rail networks—is owned and administered by the public sector. While the federal government helps fund construction, however, it owns and operates very little of this infrastructure.2 Most of it is controlled by thousands of state and local governments. Private companies and individuals own some fixed infrastructure (as with freight railroads), but they function mainly as service providers and users, controlling most of the vehicles and containers that use the networks. These public and private owners and operators are largely responsible for policing and securing the system, with the help of state and local law enforcement authorities and, for movements outside the country, foreign governments and international organizations. In addition to providing financial support for infrastructure (and now security for commercial aviation), the federal government’s main role is in promoting and regulating safety and environmental performance, supporting research and system planning, and monitoring and regulating transportation activity at border crossings and international gateways.3 INTERTWINED WITH SOCIETY AND THE GLOBAL ECONOMY Trucks of all sizes distribute to retail outlets nearly all the products purchased by consumers and many of the goods and supplies used by industry and government. The rail, pipeline, and waterborne modes, along with large trucks, move products and commodities long distances among utilities, refineries, suppliers, 2 The major exceptions are the FAA’s air traffic control system; roads on federal lands; and certain support services, such as the provision and maintenance of navigation aids (e.g., the Global Positioning System). 3 A number of federal agencies—the individual modal agencies at DOT, for example, as well as the Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Customs Service, the Border Patrol, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service— have specific responsibilities in these areas.
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative producers, and wholesalers, as well as to and from ports and border crossings. In recent years, these transport modes have greatly increased in efficiency to the point where just-in-time inventorying and manufacturing are commonplace. At the same time, the airlines have become indispensable in connecting our increasingly diffuse nation, and passenger airline service is essential to many areas of the country that depend on tourism and business travel. At the more local level, a quarter or more of the workers in some large cities commute by public transit, which has come to shape some urban centers, most notably on the eastern seaboard. The U.S. Postal Service delivers mail to every household in the United States and most businesses, totaling some 135 million addresses. The highway system pervades the lives of Americans, who use motor vehicles for most daily activities and for much of their longer-distance vacation travel. Highways are also used by emergency responders, and both the highway and public transit systems are vital security assets for evacuating people in a crisis and moving critical supplies and services. Consequently, disruptions to transportation networks can have far-reaching effects not only on transportation operations, but also on many other interrelated functions and activities. IMPLICATIONS FOR SECURITY STRATEGIES Certainly, undermining the ability of terrorists to attack in the first place is a national imperative. Should these efforts fall short, however, the transportation sector must be prepared to defend itself. The characteristics delineated above reveal the great difficulty, indeed impossibility, of defending each potential target or perceived vulnerability individually. The transportation sector is simply too diffuse, diverse, and open—by necessity—for such a defensive approach to work. This does not mean that little or nothing can be done to counter terrorism. Sound security measures can do a great deal. For instance, they can confound and deter terrorist operations, increase the likelihood of terrorists being detected and intercepted, keep casualties and disruptions to a minimum, and reduce panic and reassure passengers in a crisis.4 4 This point is made well by Jenkins (2001) in discussing ways to secure very open public transportation systems.
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative What the characteristics of the transportation sector suggest is the need for a coherent and systematic approach to security. In particular, such an approach should be shaped by (a) well-designed, layered security systems; (b) an emphasis on adaptability, dual use, and exploitation of existing capabilities; and (c) broad-based and unconventional thinking on terrorist threats and responses. LAYERED DEFENSES Transportation security can best be achieved through well-designed security systems that are integrated with transportation operations. The concept of a layered security system, in which multiple security features are connected and provide backup for one another, offers a particular advantage: perfect execution by each element in the system is not crucial, as other elements can compensate for human, technological, or other shortcomings; likewise, enhancements to one element can boost the performance of the system as a whole. Such systems, long used to secure communications and information systems, cannot be breached by defeating a single layer. And because terrorists will find it difficult to calculate the odds of defeating multiple layers, some randomly interleaved, such a system can deter as well as impede terrorist acts.5 The dangers of not taking such a coherent, systems approach to security were manifest in the aviation sector on September 11. Commercial aviation has been the subject of hostile attacks for more than 30 years. Each new attack has prompted the advent of more technologies, procedures, and rules—each superimposed on those previously introduced, and designed mainly to prevent a recurrence of similar attacks. Aviation security has not been provided through truly systematic means, but rather through a collection of mostly unrelated measures that have hinged on a very high and sustained level of performance from each, with little or no backup and redundancy. By overcoming a single perimeter defense, such as a metal detector, an attacker could, in effect, overcome the entire security regime. As noted, the design of security systems must relate closely to the characteristics and functions of the transportation systems they are intended to secure and protect. Technologies and methods developed for one transporta- 5 The need for a systems approach to security is emphasized in two recent NRC reports (NRC 1999a and 1999b).
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative tion environment that are modified and applied in an incidental manner toanother may yield little more than a patchwork security regime. It may be possible, for example, to prevent future airline attacks by systematically identifying and defending all or most vulnerable points in the aviation system: access to airfields and aircraft can be closely guarded, passengers and their luggage screened with great care, airline and airport workers monitored, and so on. By comparison, the much more open and decentralized maritime and land transportation systems are far less amenable to such a defensive approach. The intensive inspection and screening methods used for air transportation security, for instance, are likely to be impractical for transportation modes that require more convenient user access and have myriad points of entry. Means of deterrence in those systems are therefore critical, as are measures to contain and respond to attacks that do occur. Indeed, it is possible that good mitigation, response, and recovery preparations will themselves dissuade terrorists from attacking these targets, since ensuing damage and disruption may be limited. The importance of understanding the characteristics of each type of transportation system in designing layered security systems is illustrated by the security system concept for shipping containers presented in Box 2-1. A few large seaport hubs, or megaports, around the world—such as Los Angeles, Long Beach, Newark–Elizabeth, Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Singapore—offer points of leverage for designing a security system that will encourage shippers to load containers in secured facilities and take other, related steps to expedite the movement of their cargoes through the megaports and the logistics stream. Because these ports are so critical to the container shipping industry, such requirements may become the de facto standard in short order. Shippers that choose not to comply may be denied access to the megaports or be subjected to greater scrutiny and its resultant delays. The narrowing of higher-risk traffic in this manner, supported by such capabilities as data mining and artificial intelligence (as described in more detail in Box 2-1), would allow authorities to make better use of their limited inspection, screening, and enforcement resources. With such a layered security system that began early in the logistics stream, the prospects of a containerized weapon being intercepted before reaching the United States, as well as the chances of the act being deterred in the first place, would likely be greater than under the current system of infrequent container inspections at
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative BOX 2-1 SECURITY SYSTEM CONCEPT FOR SHIPPING CONTAINERS BACKGROUND Intermodal shipping containers carry more than 80 percent of the cargo (as measured in value) moved by ocean liners in international trade. A key benefit of these standardized containers is that they allow for mechanized and automated container handling at transfer points, and they can be moved readily among modes. The sealed containers are also less vulnerable to cargo pilfering and theft. These capabilities have vastly improved the efficiency of ship, train, truck, and terminal operations, reducing the time required for international shipping and enabling more businesses to reduce their warehouse and inventory costs through just-in-time logistics. In the United States, some 50 ports can handle containers, but few have built a significant business around them because of the large investment required for handling equipment, the need for good connections with highway and rail services, and the economies of scale of warehousing and terminal operations. The three megaports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Newark–Elizabeth handle about half of all containers entering and exiting the country. Each of these ports can deal with as many as 10,000 containers in a single day. The U.S. Customs Service maintains inspectors at each port. Their main job is to classify and appraise goods and collect applicable customs duties; their ancillary functions include the interception of contraband and assistance in enforcing other laws and the regulations of some 40 federal agencies. In most cases, entering containers are cleared with a limited review of documents. Most regular, or known, shippers are precleared, and their shipments and documents are not examined by Customs for as much as 30 days, which may be at the endpoint of their line-haul inland journey by truck or rail. Only about 2 percent of containers are opened and physically inspected at some point in the process. Such inspections
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative are time-consuming—they usually delay shipments for several days— and add to the costs of shippers and receivers (who often depend on just-in-time service). A THREAT SCENARIO In this scenario, a terrorist purchases a foreign exporter that has a long-standing relationship with U.S. importers. The exporter routinely loads containers at its own facilities. In one of the containers, the terrorist loads a nuclear, chemical, or explosive device that is timed to activate or can be activated remotely. The container is transported unopened through a foreign transshipment port and is then placed along with thousands of other containers on a large container ship destined for a major U.S. port that handles thousands of containers each day. Recognizing the known shipper, U.S. Customs preclears the container with minimal review of documents. Along with thousands of others, the container is transferred to line-haul rail for inland transportation to the point of entry into the U.S. economy. The full documentation for the container shipment is scheduled to arrive at the U.S. Customs office within 30 days of the container’s entry into the country. At any point during this 30-day interval, the deadly device inside can be detonated. Even if intelligence uncovers the plot, there may be no ready way to identify and locate the container, and there is additional concern about other containers that may already be in place around the country or on the way. The federal government is probably compelled to halt the movement of all containers and to isolate thousands of suspect ones. Even if the device is not detonated, commerce is severely affected by the disruption of trade, and the public’s confidence in the system of deterrence and interception is eroded. LAYERING OF PROTECTION AND DETERRENCE TO LESSEN THE THREAT Security cannot begin and end at the port, but must be integrated into the entire logistics chain. And it must be part of an overall system that
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative can address multiple threats, instead of an unintegrated series of tactics aimed at addressing one vulnerability at a time. Megaports offer a point of leverage for developing such a systems approach. Containers of most shippers will pass through one or more of these large hub seaports in the United States and abroad. The corresponding port authorities and their governments, therefore, are in a position to impose standardized requirements on shipment security, reporting, and information sharing that would have a near-universal effect on practice throughout the industry. Industry trade associations might be employed to certify compliance with these standards; for instance, a shipper that did not maintain the prerequisites could be denied membership in the association, and nonmember shippers could be refused access to the megaport or have their access severely restricted. One prerequisite might be that containers be loaded in sanitized facilities that are certified and subject to recertification after a change in ownership. Such facilities, whether at shippers’ own locations or those of the freight consolidators, might be secured from unauthorized entry, monitored with surveillance cameras, and equipped with cargo and vehicle scanners. Images from these scanners could be stored with other documentation on a shipment and forwarded to transshipment points or destination ports for comparison when the shipment arrived or during randomized inspections along the way. A tamper-resistant mechanical or electronic seal might be placed on the container at the certified loading facility. Light or temperature sensors might also be placed in the container and set to transmit a signal or sound an alarm if activated by an unexpected opening. Drivers of vehicles that delivered the containers to the ports might have their identities confirmed through biometric cards and be subject not only to periodic checks on their background, but also to scrutiny, using data-mining techniques, to discern unusual patterns of work and behavior. Microcomputers with transponders might be attached
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative to the motor system to track its route and shut down the engines upon any veering from the approved course. Meanwhile, manufacturers, importers, and shipping companies could be required to provide authorities with advance notice of the details of their shipments. Such early notification would give inspectors time to assess the validity of the data using artificial intelligence and data-mining capabilities, and to check for anomalies that warranted closer examination. These capabilities might be provided through a central facility with the necessary expertise and resources; its analysts could then advise inspectors and other enforcement officials on the handling of suspect shipments. Shipments singled out for closer scrutiny, including those from uncertified facilities, could be subject to a variety of nondestructive examinations, from simple reweighing, to vapor and radiation sampling, to radiographic imaging. The container’s original scanned image, taken at the original loading facility, could be compared with subsequent scans. None of these coordinated measures and associated technologies, if fully developed and implemented, would guarantee success in eliminating all of the many vulnerabilities associated with the container logistics system, and the practicality and total costs of such an approach have not been fully evaluated. However, a layered system—even with several imperfect elements—would greatly increase the chances of deterring and intercepting threats. This system would also allow enforcement authorities having intelligence about a threat to take quicker and more effective action to identify suspect containers. Such a systematic and credible security system, which could be improved continually through the adoption of new technologies and techniques, would help reassure the public in the event of an incident, as well as aid in containing disruptions in the critical logistics system by precluding the need for a complete shutdown. (SOURCES: Flynn 2000a; Flynn 2000b; Flynn 2001; Leeper 1991.)
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative destination ports and other border crossings. Moreover, it is quite possible that the side benefits of such a system, such as a decline in the use of shipping containers for the movement of contraband and the efficiency-related benefits of a sound shipment tracking system, would by themselves provide strong incentives for participants to continually maintain and enhance the system. A multilayered means of securing shipping containers, which would require considerable international and private-sector collaboration, is in fact being considered by the U.S. Customs Service and other government agencies.6 In a different and more varied context, experience with ensuring aviation safety during the past 30 years demonstrates how such a layered approach can indeed be pursued with much success. In commercial aviation, it is noteworthy that one agency has a dominant role in ensuring safety through multiple, coordinated means. FAA is responsible for everything from establishing pilot training requirements to regulating the design and manufacture of aircraft and their components. Safety is ensured through a multipronged process aimed at reducing risks through rigorous standards for flight crew qualification and training, testing and certification of aircraft designs and materials, quality assurance in aircraft production processes, detailed schedules for aircraft maintenance and engine overhauls, a coordinated system for air traffic management, standardized operating procedures, and minimum requirements for runway maintenance and airport rescue and fire services. Coincident failures of these complementary elements are rare, as evidenced by the excellent decades-long safety record of commercial airlines. When failures (or even near-failures) do occur, the safety system is evaluated as a whole, and adjustments made (possibly to multiple elements) to remedy the problem.7 Given the outstanding performance of the aviation safety system, it is notable that aviation security, also regulated by FAA until recently, has not 6 As an example, a new U.S. Customs initiative, the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), represents an effort to build cooperative relationships between governments and shippers that will strengthen overall supply chain and border security. More details on C-TPAT can be found on the U.S. Customs Service website: www.customs.gov/enforcem/tpat.htm. 7 The importance of a systems approach to aviation security was emphasized by the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security (1997), chaired by then–Vice President Gore.
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative been handled in a similarly holistic fashion. By and large, aviation security tactics and techniques have emerged piecemeal in reaction to a series of individual security failures, beginning with the deployment of magnetometers and X-ray screeners for carry-on luggage following a rash of handgun-enabled hijackings during the 1960s and early 1970s. In this case, the screeners were viewed foremost as protective measures, intended to intercept firearms before they could be brought on board an aircraft. Indeed, year after year, thousands of firearms have been intercepted and confiscated by airport screeners.8 At the same time, the screeners have also deterred the use of guns by hijackers. Certainly, the September 11 hijackers were reluctant to use handguns. Such deterrence effects, however, have not been evaluated explicitly. More systematic evaluations of security approaches surely would have been helpful in understanding the influence of deterrence and opportunities to strengthen that influence. 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 readily be fixed. The absence of such a system prompted 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 in fact likely, it is all the more important for deterrence measures to be deliberate and well placed to ensure that the most sensitive potential targets are those least appealing to attack. EMPHASIS ON ADAPTABILITY, DUAL USE, AND EXPLOITATION OF EXISTING CAPABILITIES 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. 8 According to FAA statistics, 13,459 handguns and 1,151 other firearms were detected and confiscated by airport screeners from 1994 to 2000 (personal communication, FAA Office of Civil Aviation Security Operations, May 3, 2002).
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative It is important, therefore, to ensure that security approaches are capable of being adapted 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 ensuring safe operations.9 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 would it have a lasting effect in such a competitive and cost-sensitive sector. In addition, before investing in new technologies and procedures, it is important to consider opportunities for dual use of those already at hand. The role played by FAA’s air traffic controllers in grounding aircraft after the September 11 attacks, for instance, and the forensic use after the anthrax attacks of tracking codes imprinted on U.S. mail demonstrate 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 could also decrease the incidence of lost luggage, and closed-circuit television surveillance and undercover patrols by security personnel could reduce ordinary crimes in public places such as transit stations.10 Such opportunities must be sought out systematically, recognizing as well that multiuse, multibenefit systems have a greater chance of being maintained and improved over time. A security approach that capitalizes on existing processes and capabilities makes sense given the potential cost and magnitude of the security task in the evolving and expansive transportation sector. A long-term commitment to costly security technologies developed and deployed outside a systems context—such as requirements for rapid deployment of expensive and potentially immature technologies for detecting explosives—poses the risk of early and prolonged obsolescence as technologies, transportation operations, and secu- 9 A recent NRC report (NRC 1999b) emphasizes the importance of capitalizing on other transportation system goals and features to provide security. 10 As another example of collateral benefits, when London Transport instituted counterterrorism measures on its rail transit system, crime and vandalism fell throughout the system even as crime rates increased citywide (Jenkins 2001).
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative rity threats change. A more efficient, adaptable, and system-oriented approach might encompass such tactics as the randomization of security screening, the setting of traps, and the masking of detection capabilities—all to allocate security resources most effectively and to create layers of uncertainty that could inhibit terrorist activity through what might be called “curtains of mystery.” Moreover, to minimize costly disruptions to transportation services, it may be desirable to narrow the security task to the highest-risk actors and activities. To do so would require a better understanding of normal patterns of behavior and activity, allowing for the preidentification of legitimate and low-risk travelers and shippers that could be filtered out so that more security resources could be devoted to scrutinizing anomalies. To this end, for example, information gleaned from computerized airline reservation systems could be integrated with passenger and baggage screening procedures, instead of the two being treated as discrete and unconnected processes.11 Information from ticketing that suggested an air traveler posed a risk could be conveyed to personnel at all security checkpoints, including guards at the entries to secure concourses, baggage screeners, and airline gate attendants who examine and collect boarding passes.12 In more open transportation systems, where it can be difficult to identify and track high-risk traffic, information and communication tools could offer a means to create a virtual closed system. Large trucks, for instance, could be required to have an identifier tag affixed to the windshield and scanned at critical points along the highway. The tracking information could be used to ensure that higher-risk trucks—that is, those without tag identifiers or with unusual routings—were scrutinized more carefully at border crossings, tunnels, and major bridges down the road. As an added layer of deterrence and protection, all trucks could be subjected to random checks of the validity of the tag, as well as the legality of the driver, vehicle, and cargo. Perhaps the most open of all transportation systems are the public transit systems of large urban areas. Indeed, transit systems around the world have 11 The need for such integration of security capabilities was observed earlier by the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security (1997). 12 This information could also be used to process individuals through all other exits from the secure area.
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative become recurrent terrorist targets because of their openness and concentrations of people, and the potential for attacks to cause mass disruption and alarm. Many opportunities exist for using information generated by operations (e.g., ticket reservation records, shipment manifests, passenger identification) to devise layered security systems in air and maritime transportation. Similar information is not available for many of the land transportation modes, such as public transit, whose users are often anonymous. Nevertheless, security in these other surface modes can be layered through other means while also capitalizing on dual-use applications.13 When certain opportunities arise, such as during the design of new stations or the remodeling of existing ones, many cost-effective protective features can be added, such as good lighting, blast-resistant structures, emergency evacuation routes, and open spaces that provide broad fields of vision. And certainly in areas where free access is not required, such as at railcar and bus storage yards, fences, police patrols, and other perimeter protections can be added—not only to provide security against terrorist attacks, but also to help prevent vandalism and other crimes. The well-placed application of certain technologies, such as surveillance cameras and sensors that detect chemical and biological agents, can further strengthen the overall security system by adding an element of deterrence, as well as an early diagnosis and response capability. As they mature, moreover, facial-recognition technologies may have strategic application in some public transportation settings, thereby strengthening deterrence and detection capabilities. If such measures are to be effective in such a ubiquitous and expansive mode of public transportation, however, security must be approached holistically. Explicit consideration must be given, for instance, to the important security function of civilian staff, such as bus and train operators and station attendants. Their visible presence alone can serve as a deterrent, and these individuals are in the best position to recognize and report situations that are out of the ordinary before they become full-blown incidents. Attention must be given to making on-site staff more visible and training them in how to react and respond appropriately—a critical responsibility, since transit operators and attendants are most likely to be the first personnel at the scene of an attack. 13 For a more complete description of ways of layering security in public transportation, see Jenkins (2001).
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative Similarly, riders themselves can be an important resource. Active public cooperation and vigilance can be encouraged through such means as recurrent messages and public announcements to be alert for and report unattended articles. Indeed, it is the most crowded locations, where terrorists are most likely to strike, in which chances are greatest that a passer-by, if prompted to be attentive, will quickly notice a suspect package and alert authorities.14 All of these elements together—from blast-resistant designs and well-lit spaces to strategic placement of guards and fences and deliberate means of enhancing situational awareness by personnel and passengers—can provide a multitiered security system that both deters and protects. Of course, these elements must be backed up by well-devised and well-rehearsed plans for incident response and restoration of service. Transit systems that are prepared for response and recovery are less desirable targets for attackers banking on mass confusion and disorder to amplify the harm caused.15 BROAD-BASED, UNCONVENTIONAL THINKING ON THREATS AND RESPONSES Given the size, scope, and ubiquity of the transportation sector, coupled with its myriad owners, operators, and users, numerous opportunities exist for terrorists to exploit components of transport systems in many different, and novel, ways. After all, terrorists may not view individual transportation assets, infrastructure, and services in isolation and in traditional function-oriented ways, but as tools that can be exploited for other objectives—much as jet airliners and mailed letters were used in the fall of 2001 as weapon delivery systems. Similarly, terrorists may view components of other systems, such as the electric power grid, as a means of disrupting or impairing critical transportation services. Indeed, even the perpetrators of an attack probably could not anticipate the full array of economic and societal consequences that could arise as the resulting wave of disruption moved through many complex and interrelated systems. Given the broad spectrum of potential opportunities for a terrorist attack, the institutions traditionally responsible for securing transportation systems 14 See Jenkins (2001, 16–17). 15 For a synthesis of efforts by U.S. public transportation authorities to plan for terrorist attacks, see Boyd and Sullivan (1997).
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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative are unprepared to counter the unprecedented means by which those systems could be exploited for terrorist purposes. Yet it is critical that such possibilities and their risks be anticipated and understood if precautions are to be taken and countermeasures devised. Effective security planning and preparation require a continuous means of engaging in unbiased and nontraditional thinking about vulnerabilities and threats, their consequences, and appropriate planning and policy responses. This needed analytic capability—from scenario-based threat assessments and red teaming to systems modeling— does not exist today. REFERENCES ABBREVIATION NRC National Research Council Boyd, A., and J. P. Sullivan. 1997. TCRP Synthesis of Transit Practice 27: Emergency Preparedness for Transit Terrorism. Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. 2000. National Transportation Statistics 2000. U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C. Flynn, S. E. 2000a. Beyond Border Control. Foreign Affairs, Vol. 70, No. 6, Nov.–Dec. Flynn, S. E. 2000b. Transportation Security: Agenda for the 21st Century. TR News, No. 211, Nov.–Dec., pp. 3–7. Flynn, S. E. 2001. Bolstering the Maritime Weak Link. Testimony before the Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C., Dec. 6. Jenkins, B. M. 2001. Protecting Public Surface Transportation Against Terrorism and Serious Crime: An Executive Overview. Report MTI-01-14. Norman Y. Mineta International Institute for Surface Transportation Policy Studies, San Jose State University, San Jose, Calif. Leeper, J. H. 1991. Border Interdiction: The Key to National Security. Presented at 7th Annual Joint Government–Industry Symposium and Exhibition on Security Technology, Norfolk, Va., June 12. NRC. 1999a. Assessment of Technologies Deployed to Improve Aviation Security: First Report. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. NRC. 1999b. Improving Surface Transportation Security: A Research and Development Strategy. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. 1997. Final Report to President Clinton. Executive Office of the President, Washington, D.C., Feb. 12.
Representative terms from entire chapter: