5
CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS

The nascent Transportation Security Administration provides a new, and rare, opportunity to approach transportation security in a strategic manner based on the application of sound science and technology. It is essential that this opportunity not be lost. DOT, and TSA in particular, should take steps now to build this strategic capability and ensure its permanence. In a similar manner, others have urged the Office of Homeland Security to adopt such a strategic and architect-like role on a broader scale for the federal government as a whole (Carter 2002).

TSA’s security mission does not extend beyond the transportation sector. As the events of September 11 revealed, however, vulnerabilities to terrorist acts may not be limited to components within particular transportation modes and systems. In fact, such vulnerabilities may exist in the interactions among modes or between transportation and other domains, such as energy and computer systems. Hence, it is essential that the vulnerabilities existing at these intersections, the threats that may be associated with them, and appropriate strategies for response be addressed. A broad-based understanding of terrorist threats is needed to inform the transportation community and others on the front lines of defense as they formulate security plans and take precautions.

An entity outside the normal organizational setting—unencumbered by operational, oversight, and regulatory responsibilities—is needed to provide this capability. The mission of this entity would be to explore and systematically assess the broad spectrum of vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks, probable responses to such attacks, and ensuing consequences. By involving and informing TSA and the transportation community, as well as parties in other



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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative 5 CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS The nascent Transportation Security Administration provides a new, and rare, opportunity to approach transportation security in a strategic manner based on the application of sound science and technology. It is essential that this opportunity not be lost. DOT, and TSA in particular, should take steps now to build this strategic capability and ensure its permanence. In a similar manner, others have urged the Office of Homeland Security to adopt such a strategic and architect-like role on a broader scale for the federal government as a whole (Carter 2002). TSA’s security mission does not extend beyond the transportation sector. As the events of September 11 revealed, however, vulnerabilities to terrorist acts may not be limited to components within particular transportation modes and systems. In fact, such vulnerabilities may exist in the interactions among modes or between transportation and other domains, such as energy and computer systems. Hence, it is essential that the vulnerabilities existing at these intersections, the threats that may be associated with them, and appropriate strategies for response be addressed. A broad-based understanding of terrorist threats is needed to inform the transportation community and others on the front lines of defense as they formulate security plans and take precautions. An entity outside the normal organizational setting—unencumbered by operational, oversight, and regulatory responsibilities—is needed to provide this capability. The mission of this entity would be to explore and systematically assess the broad spectrum of vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks, probable responses to such attacks, and ensuing consequences. By involving and informing TSA and the transportation community, as well as parties in other

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Deterrence, Protection, and Preparation: The New Transportation Security Imperative domains, the work of this analytic entity could provide valuable guidance to transportation owners, operators, and overseers as they prioritize and make security preparations. The National Academies report Making the Nation Safer urges the creation of a Homeland Security Institute to provide this essential analytic and response capacity (see the appendix to the present report). REFERENCE Carter, A. B. 2002. The Architecture of Government in the Face of Terrorism. International Security, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 5–23.