TSA TO OVERSEE ALL MODES OF CARGO TRANSPORT SECURITY
The Transportation Security Administration, a new agency established by President Bush since Sept. 11, will monitor all freight in all modes of transport, said a senior counsel to the Department of Transportation.
Kip Hawley, who is serving the DOT in forming the TSA, said that recent events and discussion may have led the public to believe that TSA will only oversee matters of aviation security. However, the TSA will be the umbrella organization for security in all modes — air, maritime, and land transport.
“The scope of everything we do at TSA involves passengers, as well as cargo, in all modes,” said Hawley, while speaking at the American Association of Exporters and Importers. “Aviation is a piece of the larger system.”
Hawley said that the TSA, in an effort to ensure tighter intelligence, will operate in a way that imitates rings of security, so that the intelligence sharing among its agency and others will be kept more secure.
Likening this blueprint as “a system of systems,” he said, the agency’s structure should be meant to be familiar to allies and operators while confusing terrorists. “Be unpredictable to your foes, but have a consistent look to your customers,” he said.
Hawley said the DOT, while it is building the TSA, is sharing information and intelligence with other agencies in an efficient way, and in a manner better than the past. When past calls from DOT to those in the intelligence community would go unanswered, that is no longer the case. “Those days are behind us,” he said.
Hawley said he was aware that cargo security for all modes would be costly, but that investment in security far outweighed a possible disastrous event. “It’s no secret that it’s expensive,” he said, adding that the Bush administration had proposed $4.8 billion to fund the TSA for FY 2003.
The TSA’s first federal security directors (FSDs), who will be the federal authorities at all American airports overseeing cargo and passenger securities, should be in place by April, Hawley said, The FSDs will oversee federal law enforcement officials, whose job will be to report to FSDs while enforcing TSA cargo and passenger directives at each airport.
Hawley referred to U.S. Commissioner Robert Bonner’s recent remarks on seagoing container security, reiterating that sea container inspection should occur at the point of origin before arrival into an American port. He said that officials were working to see how government-to-government talks could begin in that area. Hawley added that, in order for security and commerce to flow, it will require government and industry to cooperate, and not work against, the other party. “The big threat is really the behavioral hurdle of how we work together,” he said.