Building a solid strategic basis is the most important task at this early stage in DOT's establishment of an R&D program for surface transportation security. That strategy should be a systematic process consisting of five fundamental steps:


    Defining the problem, the objectives, and the criteria for evaluating success or failure


    Identifying ways to meet the objectives, namely potential R&D projects


    Evaluating the alternatives identified in Step 2 against the objectives defined in Step 1


    Deciding on a course of action


    Implementing the decision

The implementation of this strategy should incorporate the following key features:

  • Because improving security is a crosscutting problem, DOT should not break up its efforts in this area according to transportation modes.
  • DOT should clearly identify and understand its role in security R&D and how that role meshes with work being done by other agencies.
  • As a framework for identifying and evaluating potential R&D topics, DOT should categorize topics according to the type of attack to which they respond and the type of response to which they are directed: prevention, mitigation, monitoring, recovery, investigation, or systems.
  • DOT should make strenuous efforts to increase the involvement of transportation owners and operators. Their serious involvement in all stages of the program will be critical to successful implementation.
  • To meet the growing need to protect information that is sensitive, but not classified, DOT should consider urging the Congress to provide legal authority similar to the regulation 14 CFR 191, which protects information on aviation security.

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