4
ADVICE TO TSA ON STRATEGIC RESEARCH AND PLANNING

The Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001, which created TSA, set forth a series of responsibilities and deadlines for the agency, from the assumption of airline passenger and baggage screening functions to the deployment of air marshals and explosive-detection systems at commercial airports. Whereas most of the act’s provisions deal exclusively with civil aviation, TSA is also assigned a broader security mandate—affecting all transport modes—that includes the following statutory responsibilities:

  • Receive, assess, and distribute intelligence information related to transportation security;

  • Assess threats to transportation;

  • Develop policies, strategies, and plans for dealing with threats to transportation security;

  • Make other plans related to transportation security, including coordination of countermeasures with appropriate departments and agencies;

  • Serve as the primary liaison for transportation security to the intelligence and law enforcement communities;

  • Enforce security-related regulations and requirements;

  • Inspect, maintain, and test security facilities, equipment, and systems;

  • Ensure the adequacy of security measures for the transportation of cargo; and

  • Identify and undertake R&D activities necessary to enhance transportation security.

The many new and challenging aviation-related operational and implementation requirements set forth in the act are understandably consuming much



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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative 4 ADVICE TO TSA ON STRATEGIC RESEARCH AND PLANNING The Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001, which created TSA, set forth a series of responsibilities and deadlines for the agency, from the assumption of airline passenger and baggage screening functions to the deployment of air marshals and explosive-detection systems at commercial airports. Whereas most of the act’s provisions deal exclusively with civil aviation, TSA is also assigned a broader security mandate—affecting all transport modes—that includes the following statutory responsibilities: Receive, assess, and distribute intelligence information related to transportation security; Assess threats to transportation; Develop policies, strategies, and plans for dealing with threats to transportation security; Make other plans related to transportation security, including coordination of countermeasures with appropriate departments and agencies; Serve as the primary liaison for transportation security to the intelligence and law enforcement communities; Enforce security-related regulations and requirements; Inspect, maintain, and test security facilities, equipment, and systems; Ensure the adequacy of security measures for the transportation of cargo; and Identify and undertake R&D activities necessary to enhance transportation security. The many new and challenging aviation-related operational and implementation requirements set forth in the act are understandably consuming much

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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative of TSA’s financial and organizational resources, and they are likely to continue to do so for some time. Nevertheless, the overarching mission responsibilities listed above are essential to the agency’s success and cannot remain neglected for long. The following three recommendations for assuming this strategic role are offered to DOT and TSA. The first stems from a recognition that the transportation sector is so large, dynamic, and fragmented that no single agency can be responsible for day-to-day security tactics and technologies. If TSA is to have a meaningful role in securing all modes of transportation, it must be prepared to offer advice and assistance at a strategic level. The second and third recommendations reflect the fact that TSA is the only national entity with responsibility for security in the transportation sector as a whole. The agency is therefore in the best position to ensure that research is undertaken that is useful to all transportation modes, and that good information on security technologies and methods is provided to the many public- and private-sector users and providers of transportation services. CREATING A STRATEGIC RESEARCH AND PLANNING CAPACITY TSA should establish a strategic research and planning office—attuned to, but distinct from, the agency’s operational and enforcement responsibilities—that will work with DOT, the modal agencies, other federal agencies, state and local governments, and other elements of the public and private sectors on security system research, planning, and deployment. Having a strong analytic capability to undertake systems planning and risk assessment, this office could Devise and evaluate alternative security system concepts for the different modes of transportation through collaboration with public- and private-sector owners, operators, and users, and through the application of operations research and human factors expertise; Ensure that gaps do not exist in security planning and preparation because of the narrow purview, perspectives, and knowledge of individual modal agencies and owners, operators, and users of transportation systems;

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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative Encourage the explicit inclusion of security goals in the transportation planning process and in the design of vehicles, facilities, and operating systems by seeking out dual-use opportunities, and by identifying design standards for new transportation systems and facilities that fully integrate security considerations; Advise metropolitan governments and transportation agencies on the need to develop integrated regional emergency response plans; and advise local and state transportation agencies, public transit authorities, and related entities on how to reshape their administrative structures so as to give security prominence in their planning and decision making; Explore ways in which security enhancements can be encouraged, and market-related and institutional barriers to the deployment of security measures can be overcome—for example, through balanced roles for regulation, subsidy, education, and standards setting; Work with other countries and international standards-setting bodies to exchange information about international shipments, coordinate security measures and overall system strategies, and collaborate in R&D activities; and Develop a critical research agenda in support of transportation security systems. Multimodal in its orientation, such a strategic office would require systems planning and engineering expertise and the capability to conduct risk assessments. To this end, TSA could make effective use of DOT’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center and other resources that TSA and Volpe could bring to bear. The recommended office would also need to interact closely with other federal agencies (such as the Coast Guard, Customs Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Immigration and Naturalization Service) in domains of responsibility integral to transportation; with international standards-setting bodies (such as the International Civil Aviation Organization, World Customs Organization, and International Maritime Organization); and with state and local agencies at the implementation level. To be effective and trusted, TSA must be more than a regulatory and enforcement arm of DOT; it must find ways to share needed expertise and information and to work constructively with those parties—from modal agencies to public- and private-sector transportation system operators—entrusted with

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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative fielding security solutions. A strategic research and planning office within TSA, unencumbered by rulemaking, enforcement, and operational responsibilities, could offer these needed services. MARSHALING R&D IN SUPPORT OF TRANSPORTATION SECURITY A number of important systems analysis and technology needs for transportation security are identified in this report, and TSA is uniquely positioned to undertake, encourage, and guide much of the R&D that can meet these needs. To help devise coherent security systems and to procure and recommend supporting technologies, TSA must have its own analysis and research capacity. But it also must have the ability to draw on the rich and varied R&D capabilities within the transportation sector, as well as those of the federal government and the science and technology community at large. The modal agencies within DOT, as well as other federal agencies with responsibility for security functions related to transportation (such as the Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service), have missions ranging from safety assurance to revenue collection and drug interdiction. Most have small R&D budgets to support these missions; hence, these agencies can be expected to seek a maximum return on their R&D investments by sponsoring research that meets their own mission-oriented needs first, while offering security advantages as an added benefit. As discussed in Chapter 2, such duality of purpose can be beneficial, but approaching security as a side benefit could result in research gaps and a tendency to neglect comprehensive, systems-level research. In viewing the R&D activities of the modal agencies in their totality and from a broader systems perspective, TSA could help fill these research gaps by offering agencies guidance on the allocation of their R&D investments. From this vantage point, TSA could monitor progress on security-related R&D, observe where modest additional investments might yield large benefits, and orchestrate ways to encourage such investments. To be sure, much of the R&D that will be needed must take place outside the transportation realm—in the nation’s universities and research institutions and with the support of much larger R&D sponsors, such as the

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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. By making the needs and parameters of transportation security systems more widely known, however, TSA could tap this research from outside the transportation field and help identify and shape those R&D efforts most relevant to transportation applications. TSA should collaborate with the public and private sectors to build a strong foundation of research on human factors and transportation operations, and to make the evaluation of security system concepts a central element of its collaborative research program. TSA should establish an inhouse research capacity to undertake such concept evaluations and to support its own large security operations and technology acquisition programs. At the same time, the agency should adopt a broader, architect-like role in promoting and marshaling R&D to advance these security systems, especially by tapping into the security-related R&D of other government agencies, the broader transportation community, universities, research institutions, and the private sector. A TECHNOLOGY GUIDANCE AND EVALUATION CAPACITY Academia and the private sector are eager to contribute creative ideas and technologies to the task of enhancing transportation security. At the same time, transportation system owners and operators want to hear their advice and apply the results of good research and technology development. Currently, however, many of the ideas and technologies being proposed for security purposes have only limited potential for application—not only because of inadequate incentives to invest in them, but also because technologies and techniques that appear promising in isolation do not fit well in a security system or are incompatible with the transportation operating environment. TSA has a potential catalytic role here in providing scientists and technologists with clearer targets for their research and innovation efforts. In conjunction with commercial developers and transportation system owners and users, TSA could help develop product evaluation standards and methods, sponsor prototype demonstrations, and conduct field trials. Precedents for

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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative such clearinghouse and evaluation services can be found in the transportation sector and elsewhere, and they could be useful as models.1 TSA should create a technology guidance, evaluation, and clearinghouse capacity to provide developers with performance goals for their products, and to advise transportation system operators on security-related technologies that are available or under development. 1 An example is the Highway Innovation Technology Evaluation Center, created with seed money from the Federal Highway Administration and managed by the Civil Engineering Research Foundation of the American Society of Civil Engineers.