22 January 2003
Loy Calls for New Approach to Transportation Security
(Transportation Under Secretary favors consistent, universal measures)
A top U.S. Transportation Department official has called for a more
integrated, consistent approach to transportation security.
In January 15 remarks to a private transportation research group Under
Secretary of Transportation Admiral James Loy said that the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) must ensure that
consistent and effective security measures are implemented across all
"Inconsistent security measures will only drive terrorists from one
mode of transportation to another with lesser security," he said.
Therefore, once TSA met almost all deadlines for putting into force
provisions of the aviation security law enacted by Congress in
response to the 2001 terrorist attacks, it started shifting its
attention to other means of transportation, Loy said.
He said that the integrated approach to all modes of transportation
requires establishing the "web of partnerships" among the airport,
railway and port authorities and commercial enterprises, as well as
among federal agencies.
Loy said TSA, soon to be moved to the new Homeland Security
Department, will propose conducting an assessment of the emergency
response preparedness of the transportation infrastructure to
terrorist attacks and other incidents. The results of this exercise
will provide a basis for development of consistent and universal
standards and requirements that could be implemented across all modes
of transportation, he added.
One of the challenges TSA is facing in this area, Loy said, is
ensuring the security of passengers moving from one mode of
transportation to another. He cited pilot programs to screen cruise
ship passenger baggage at an off-site location before it is sent to an
airport as one of the initiatives TSA is considering in response to
In addition, Loy said, TSA is working on development of universal
transportation worker identification credentials that would combine
personal information and biometrics to identify transportation
employees having access to secure areas.
TSA also is planning to bring together government agencies and the
private sector to examine innovative technologies for use in
Following is the text of Loy's remarks as prepared for delivery:
Remarks As Prepared for
Admiral James M. Loy Under Secretary of Transportation for Security
Transportation Research Board 82nd Annual Meeting
"TSA ... The National Transportation Systems Security Manager"
January 15, 2003
Thank you, Dr. Alberts [Bruce, President, National Academy of Sciences
& Chairman of National Research Council] for that gracious welcome.
The superb American writer, Eudora Welty, used to warn: "Never think
you've seen the last of anything." Who knew you'd see me back so soon?
But it is terrific to be here visiting with TRB again. And it's an
honor to be on the other side of the podium this afternoon. Looking
around the room, I'm glad to see so many familiar faces, and to be in
the distinguished company of the Transportation Research Board.
My thanks to Mr. Carlson, [Dean, out-going Chairman, TRB Executive
Committee] for your service this past year to the TRB, and welcome to
Ms. Giuliano [Genevieve, incoming Chair] as she takes the helm of the
Having served for four years as an ex officio member, I have a deep
appreciation for the time and work you put into this organization.
It's also an honor to be here with former Secretary of Transportation
Rodney Slater, former Deputy Secretary Mort Downey, and my compatriots
at DOT, as well as the other members of the Committee.
I'll soon get to know more of you as we press on with the challenge of
securing our nation's transportation systems. I'm sure of this
because, in this post-9/11 world, security inevitably crosses the
threshold of every mode of public transportation there is.
Last time I was here, I was wearing the Coast Guard hat. Today it's
Transportation Security. Pretty soon TSA will be moving into the new
Department of Homeland Security and though our job will stay the same,
the scope of the new Department is unbelievably wide.
My concern goes to two things: losing the Cabinet advocacy of the
Office of the Secretary of Transportation, especially this pair of
leaders, Secretary Norman Mineta and Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson;
and needing to introduce DHS to transportation issues. Second, the
importance of recognizing the interconnectivity between and among
government agencies and private organizations such as the Research
Board as the driver for the future. Regardless of what emblem is on
your hat, the job of securing our transportation systems and our
homeland is everybody's business.
For now, I want to give you an idea of what we've been doing at the
Transportation Security Administration. I'd also like to tell you how
TSA is fast becoming the steward of security for the nation's
transportation systems. And that's all modes -- not just aviation
travel, but maritime, rail, highway, transit, and pipeline. Our
mission is to protect the Nation's transportation systems to ensure
freedom of movement for people and commerce. We have the added
challenge of ensuring transportation security in a shaky economic
environment. The concerns of business and industry in moving their
products and goods around the country reach our ears as often as the
airline industry hears from their passengers.
I've been at TSA for about six months, but already it feels like six
years with the breakneck speed we've been keeping. Some of the folks
there have been onboard since early 2002 when TSA officially opened
its door for business. Actually, it was more like "set up its card
table for business," but we've come a long way since then. You can't
believe the pace and the productivity and the commitment of our
people. For me, their accomplishments are awesome.
The concept of a federal security agency, dedicated to all modes of
transportation, was conceived by President Bush immediately after
September 11, 2001. The Transportation Security Administration
emerged, in part, as his response to the terrorist attacks.
The President signed into law the Aviation and Transportation Security
Act, which created TSA, a mere two months later in November 2001. With
the new law and its directives came a series of 36 deadlines to be met
and delivered by TSA. The most recent deadline fell on New Year's Eve.
If you traveled in the past two weeks -- perhaps for this meeting --
you've already experienced that milestone. By that day, 100% of
checked baggage was to be screened for explosives. The good news is:
the deadline was met. The bad news remains the incredible amount of
work still to be done.
This was quite a holiday season for TSA. If you opened a newspaper or
tuned into CNN or any broadcast news, it was difficult to avoid the
ballyhoo of media coverage as TSA neared the December 31 deadline. It
turned a beam on TSA that we haven't seen since the organization was
created early last year. But it's an important story because it
affects absolutely every commercial airline passenger across the
With that final 36th deadline, it would seem to the casual observer
that we're nearing mission accomplishment. Not so fast! The threat of
terrorism may literally never see the end of its day. Former Secretary
of State Dean Rusk put it this way: "While we are sleeping two-thirds
of the world is plotting to do us in." ... A sobering reminder of why
we're doing what we're doing everyday at TSA. And so we took a brief
moment on New Year's to welcome 2003 and moved quickly back to the
work of keeping the airways secure from terrorism and continually
improving our processes.
All of our congressional mandates, including the federalization of
passenger and baggage screening, were put in place to fulfill the
agency's mission. The law and its mandates have dramatically altered
the prevailing attitude towards transportation security in the air, on
the sea, along the highways, and through our nation's pipelines.
With the unwavering support of Secretary of Transportation Norman
Mineta and Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson, TSA has met all 36
congressional mandates on time and in full compliance with the law.
We met these mandates by placing over 45,000 hand-picked, well-trained
and deeply committed screeners at 429 commercial airports across the
country. These new public servants have delivered world-class security
coupled with world-class customer service to the air travelers of
America. Our challenge now is to nurture and enable them to get better
at their jobs every day.
TSA ... National Transportation System Security Manager
Given the terrorists' means of delivery, our initial concentration has
been on aviation security. But as I've mentioned, TSA's security
concerns cross ALL modes of transportation. Even as we work to improve
air passenger screening, we're working with the Coast Guard to focus
more intently on the vulnerabilities of the 95,000 miles of open
coastline and the 361 ports in the United States. We're also looking
at means of securing the nation's railway network. The FBI's warning
last fall about a heightened threat against railways has been a
constant reminder of our susceptibility.
The events of 9/11 and the ensuing war against terrorism have
unearthed a major challenge in securing our multi-modal transportation
system against terrorists and their weapons. The challenge comes in
ensuring that we do so while preserving the rapid flow of goods and
people into and across the country.
It takes a concentrated and collaborative effort to find the solutions
that allow us to hold the balance of security and customer service.
President Bush and Secretary Mineta demand no less.
In creating TSA, Congress recognized that security across an
interlinked transportation network could best be accomplished through
a single organization. That organization, as the nation's
transportation security manager, would have a broad perspective,
consistent approach, and authority to coordinate and collaborate
across the different modes of transportation. As we move into the
Department of Homeland Security, TSA will continue in this role.
We also realize that transportation security -- like homeland security
-- is a collaborative effort. TSA has already established critical
relationships with federal, state and local intelligence units, law
enforcement, and other agencies, as well as private industry that
offer valuable insight. Communication and cooperation with our
stakeholders have been key to our effectiveness and success from the
TSA Initiatives as NTSSM
As the country's transportation security manager, we are constantly
seeking and examining new security technologies, new policies, new
alliances, and new approaches to threat mitigation for the nation's
transportation systems. I'd like to share with you some of the
initiatives already in development that form the foundation of TSA's
house in the Homeland Security complex.
First, TSA will bring together government and industry to examine
innovative technologies for use in transportation security, as well as
other important issues of security practices and policies. Yesterday,
for example, TSA sponsored a meeting of industry and non-profit
organizations to grapple with the issues of data privacy. In early
March, our Office of Maritime and Land Security will hold a conference
to look at maritime security issues. We will continue to hold forums
like these to hear and learn from the experiences of our stakeholders
and keep abreast of the latest developments in new technologies.
We're at the forefront of air security, employing the most advanced
explosives detection and screening equipment out there. Acquisition of
this equipment was a significant -- though not exclusive --
contributor in meeting our December 31st deadline. And we will
continually look to emerging technologies that will make the job of
keeping our transportation systems more secure from terrorist attempts
Along with the indispensable human elements of trained professional
screeners, law enforcement personnel, and the Federal Air Marshals,
cutting-edge technologies are another layer in our "system of systems"
to ensure security in-depth.
Second, TSA will propose a national program designed to gauge the
intermodal emergency response preparedness of our nation's critical
transportation infrastructure to a transportation security incident.
Coordination of these readiness exercises must build on -- not
duplicate -- existing exercise requirements. Currently, readiness
exercises are being conducted in cooperation with the FAA with other
modal administrations following thereafter.
The cost to the transportation industry must also be defensible
against the relative gain in security preparedness. It is our goal
that each transportation mode participates in the program on a
prescribed basis. The lessons learned from the response exercises
would be available to security professionals on a national basis as
they reexamine their specific security protocols.
Following from the readiness response program is the need to develop
and implement the standards and response planning requirements to
ensure a secure transportation infrastructure. TSA has assumed a
leadership role in the Homeland Security initiative to develop
regional layered radiological detection, evaluation and response
We are bringing together transportation agencies and projects under
one umbrella and encouraging standardization in response protocols.
These plans and standards must be consistent across all modes of
transportation and not adversely affect one mode over another.
Further, standards must be as flexible as possible to allow innovative
approaches to security.
A fourth initiative, also underway, is development of a Transportation
Worker Identification Credential or TWIC. Currently, the existing
physical access security systems by transportation personnel are
inadequate and present a significant risk to the country. We're
talking about everyone from pilots and mechanics to airline catering
and custodial workers -- truck drivers and warehouse workers loading
pallets and trailers, to dock workers and ship crews. TWIC program
combines personal information and biometrics to positively identify
transportation employees having access to secure areas.
The idea is to have these employees undergo only one standard criminal
background investigation. It would link them to a central database
that would be accessible nationwide. And it could serve as an
international standard. I've heard that there are some truck drivers
currently carrying up to 23 ID cards around their necks. I wouldn't
want to pay that chiropractor bill. Under the TWIC program, drivers
and other transportation workers will only have one card to deal with,
which would be acceptable across the United States.
Another issue that has presented itself is ensuring passenger security
when traveling across several modes, such as from airlines to cruise
ships and vice versa. The challenge is to take individual security
programs and meld them into a unified system. Using this last example,
during the peak cruise season over 15,000 passengers can disembark
from several cruise ships within a two-hour time frame.
We have on the table proposed pilot programs to screen cruise ship
passenger baggage at an off-site location before it's sent on to an
international airport. Both the Ports of Miami and Vancouver have
stepped forward for the pilots, which we hope to see implemented in
the near future. The off-site screening program will assist in
alleviating the congestion caused by the influx of passengers
disembarking from cruise ships. The goal is to create a seamless
process for moving passengers and checked baggage between the airport
and the cruise ship terminal quickly and securely.
Maritime commerce and vessels are increasingly targeted by terrorist
organizations. Port and maritime security has been on our radar screen
from the start but is now getting more of our attention.
Each year, thousands of ships and millions of containers enter and
leave the United States through our ports. Although U.S. Customs
examines all manifests from imported containers, less than 2 percent
of all containers are inspected. The security of the supply system is
critical to preventing weapons of mass destruction from being shipped
into the country via uninspected containers.
TSA's involvement with Operation Safe Commerce is another initiative
to begin to address maritime security. Operation Safe Commerce is an
innovative public-private partnership dedicated to enhancing security
throughout international and domestic supply chains. Through OSC,
federal, state, and local law enforcement and the private sector work
together to develop systems of securing the supply chain from factory
TSA is working with Operation Safe Commerce on a grant program to
support the program participants to identify shortcomings in the
supply chain, identify and test solutions, develop best practices.
Ultimately, their results could become the basis for developing
standards for more secure containers and consequently, more secure
TSA will also continue to administer the funding for various
transportation security grant programs such as the Port Security
grants and the Intercity Bus Grant program. In conjunction with these
grant programs, we hope to establish standards for conducting
vulnerability assessments with the cooperation of modal
Finally, TSA must establish long term working relationships with all
modal administrators and agencies that have transportation related
responsibilities. To that end, a series of Memoranda of Agreement
between TSA and the Department of Transportation are near completion
that will ensure our long-term cooperation. Some of these
organizations include the FAA, the Federal Transit Administration, the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Maritime
Administration, and the Federal Railroad Administration, among others.
Through the MOAs, our goal is to see that future vulnerability
assessments are based on consistent standards and are conducted across
all transportation modes to ensure that consistent and effective
measures of mitigation are implemented. Inconsistent security measures
will only drive terrorists from one mode of transportation to another
with lesser security.
Safety and Security are two sides of the same coin. As TSA moves into
the Department of Homeland Security, that coin will, in essence, be
sliced longitudinally with the Security side going over to the new
Department while the Safety side remains with the Department of
Transportation. These MOAs are the umbilical cord, so to speak,
connecting Safety and Security where appropriate across the two
Through these Agreements, we intend to give Secretary Mineta a clear
sign that although TSA will soon transfer to DHS, his transportation
security interests will continue to be met and will focus more on
modes other than air. Certainly, new institutional arrangements will
necessarily have to be developed. But the relationships that have
begun to develop over the past year will grow stronger after TSA has
left the DOT fold. At the same time, we want to assure
Secretary-designate Tom Ridge that we've completed our staff work as
we join his organization.
TSA in the Department of Homeland Security
This interconnectivity is, of course, what the Department of Homeland
Security is all about. There's an Ethiopian proverb that says, "When
spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion." The web of partnerships
among the airport, railway, and port authorities, commercial
enterprises, and every player in the movement of people and goods are
just as critical as partnerships among federal agencies.
On the federal side, transition groups have been working hard on
intel[lligence] and information sharing, on emergency response, and
critical infrastructure protection, among many other fundamental and
important ways to improve our homeland security programs. As the
largest single entity in the new Department, TSA is working hard in
leading the charge to improve our homeland's transportation security
At TSA, we are now, and always will be, scrutinizing our methods and
policies -- looking for the common sense changes and continuous
improvements to our effectiveness. The other thing we'll always be
doing is listening -- intently -- to our stakeholders and our
customers and our critics, too.
We welcome too, the input of the Transportation Research Board. Having
seen the program for the meeting this week, it's evident that the
research community has a firm handle on transportation security
issues. It will be interesting to hear about the findings of
committees such as Critical Transportation Infrastructure Protection
as they contribute to the never-ending job of keeping ahead of the bad
guys. Thank you for you attention. Thanks again for the invitation.
I'll be happy to take a few questions.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)