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Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR)

Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service


VIPR operations promote confidence in and protect our nation’s transportation systems through targeted deployment of integrated TSA assets utilizing screening and law enforcement capabilities in coordinated activities to augment security of any mode of transportation.


Deterrence and prevention of terrorism


Under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) and the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, TSA has broad responsibility to enhance security in all modes of transportation nationwide.  TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) program is part of a nationwide transportation security program that serves all modes of transportation.

Following the Madrid train bombing in 2004, TSA developed the VIPR program to allow TSA security and law enforcement assets to augment federal, state, and local law enforcement and security agencies in the transportation domain.

TSA’s VIPR teams provide a full range of law enforcement and security capability; the exact makeup of VIPR teams is determined jointly with local authorities and can include Federal Air Marshals(FAMs), Transportation Security Officers  (TSOs), Behavior Detection Officers (BDOs), TSA certified explosive detection canine teams, Transportation Security Inspectors (TSIs), Transportation Security Specialists – Explosives (TSSEs), explosives operational support, security and explosive screening technology, radiological/nuclear detection,  and local law enforcement officers.

TSA VIPR teams can be deployed at random locations and times in cooperation with local authorities to deter and defeat terrorist activity; or teams may be deployed to provide additional law enforcement or security presence at transportation venues during specific alert periods or in support of special events.  TSA routinely conducts thousands of VIPR operations each year in transportation systems nationwide.

Experience shows that regional planning and implementation provide the greatest security impact by aligning the frequency of deployments with terrorist risk reduction benefits for specific locations.  VIPR teams work with local security and law enforcement officials to augment existing security resources; provide a deterrent presence and detection capabilities; and introduce an element of unpredictability to disrupt potential terrorist planning or operational activities.


  • TSA VIPR teams are specifically authorized by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 to “augment the security of any mode of transportation at any location within the United States.”  In order to fulfill this mission, TSA creates relationships with our various stakeholders and coordinates joint operations, promoting communication and teamwork throughout all levels of government to ensure the safety of the traveling public and the transportation systems.
  • The VIPR program applies a risk-based approach to work nationwide with transportation and law enforcement stakeholders to plan and conduct VIPR operations. The capabilities of TSA personnel are applied at transportation locations to mitigate vulnerabilities of those locations to terrorist activities.
  • VIPR teams provide additional detection and response capabilities, and expand the unpredictability of security measures to deter and disrupt potential terrorist activity.
  • What is important to remember:  In the wake of the tragic events of 9/11, federal, state, and local governmental agencies have been committed to developing partnerships and increasing interagency communications to ensure the safety of our Nation’s transportation systems.  TSA’s VIPR program provides the mechanism through which our law enforcement and security stakeholders can establish solid working relationships to protect you today, as well as in the event of a catastrophic event.

Program Components

Office of Law Enforcement (OLE)

  • Program Management
  • Federal Air Marshals
    (including Preventative Radiological Nuclear Detection capability)

Office of Security Operations (OSO)

  • Transportation Security Officers
  • Behavior Detection Officers
  • Transportation Security Inspectors
  • Transportation Security Specialists – Explosives
  • Explosive Detection Canine Teams

Federal, State & Local Law Enforcement

  • Law Enforcement
  • Transportation Security

Modes of Transportation

  • Aviation
    • Commercial
    • General
    • Air Cargo
  • Surface
    • Mass Transit and Passenger Rail
    • Highway/Infrastructure
    • Maritime
    • Freight Rail
    • Pipeline
Latest revision: 07 May 2015