Bush Moves to Strengthen Surface Transportation Security

A new executive order from President George Bush orders the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct a review of existing security guidelines and security requirements and any security gaps in the surface transportation industry.

The president further ordered DHS to provide "a description of how the transportation systems sector specific plan will be implemented for such mode, and the respective roles, responsibilities, and authorities of Federal, State, local, and tribal governments and the private sector." DHS has been asked to examine mass transit systems, commuter and long-distance passenger rail, freight rail, commercial vehicles (including intercity buses) and pipelines, and related infrastructure (including roads and highways). The order does not include electric grids.

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff has been ordered to:

1) Assess the security of each surface transportation mode and evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of current federal government surface transportation security initiatives;

2) No later than Dec. 31 develop a comprehensive transportation systems sector specific plan;

3) No later than 90 days after the comprehensive transportation systems sector specific plan is completed, develop an annex to the plan that addresses each surface transportation mode, which shall also include, at a minimum:

  • An identification of existing security guidelines and security requirements and any security gaps, a description of how the transportation systems sector specific plan will be implemented for such mode and the respective roles, responsibilities, and authorities of federal, state, local and tribal governments and the private sector;
  • Schedules and protocols for annual reviews of the effectiveness of surface transportation security-related information sharing mechanisms in bringing about the timely exchange of surface transportation security information among federal, state, local and tribal governments and the private sector, as appropriate; and
  • A process for assessing compliance with any security guidelines and security requirements issued by the secretary for surface transportation, and the need for revision of such guidelines and requirements to ensure their continuing effectiveness.

4) In consultation with state, local and tribal government officials and the private sector, not later than 180 days after the date of this order, identify surface transportation modes, or components thereof, that are subject to high risk of terrorist attack, draft appropriate security guidelines or security requirements to mitigate such risks, and ensure that, prior to their issuance, draft security requirements are transmitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review in accordance with Executive Order 12866 and draft security guidelines receive appropriate interagency review;

5) Develop, implement and lead a process, in collaboration with other agencies, State, local, and tribal govern-ments, and the private sector, as appropriate, to coordinate research, development, testing, and evaluation of technologies (including alternative uses for commercial off-the-shelf technologies and products) relating to the protection of surface transportation, including:

  • Establish product and technology needs to determine the requirements for and prioritization of research, development, testing and evaluation, based on security guidelines and security requirements and evolving terrorist threats to the security of surface transportation;
  • Collect information on existing and planned research, development, testing and evaluation efforts; and
  • Not later than 180 days after the date of the order, establish and make available to federal, state, local and tribal government entities, and private sector owners and operators of surface transportation systems, lists of available technologies and products relating to the protection of surface transportation

6) Use security grants authorized by law to assist in implementing security requirements and security guidelines.

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