An area security assessment results indicate a need for more focused effort is security training for transit agency employees. Although an extensive Federal security training program has been implemented since 9/11 - 17 security courses, more than 500 deliveries, more than 78,000 transit employees trained - the assessment results indicate wide variations in the quality of transit agencies' security training programs and an inadequate level of refresher or follow-on training. Well-trained employees are a security force multiplier for security efforts implemented by transit agencies. To elevate the level of training generally, bring greater consistency, and assist agencies in developing and implementing training programs, TSA produced and disseminated a Mass Transit Security Training Program.
The program identifies specific types of training at basic and follow-on levels for particular categories of transit employees. Presented in a readily understandable matrix, it provides effective guidance to transit agency officials in building and implementing training programs for employees working in their systems. To support execution of such training programs, the Transit Security Grant Program offers pre-packaged training options agencies may obtain with grant funding. Agencies taking advantage of this program have their applications expedited for approval to ensure funds are delivered within 90 days of submission. This initiative aims to expand significantly the volume and quality of training for transit employees during 2007 and beyond. Thus far, 21 agencies have applied for training under this initiative among the Tier 2 systems alone for FY07 TSGP funding. Nine other transit agencies proposed training in their standard FY07 TSGP applications.
TSA funds the Land Transportation Anti-Terrorism Training Program (LTATP) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. This program provides critical training for front-line transit employees, law enforcement officers, first responders, and federal security officials. The 1-week course aims to enhance protection of land transportation infrastructure, including passenger rail and mass transit operations. The LTATP is offered at eight different regional locations to maximize the training opportunity for transit systems and affiliated law enforcement entities. About 300 people receive this training annually.
TSA collaborates with FTA to develop and expand training programs, such as Terrorist Activity Recognition and Reaction, National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) for Transit, Chemical, Biological, Explosive, Radiological and Nuclear (CBERN) Incident Awareness, Response and Reaction for Transit. TSA partners with FTA in implementation of the Connecting Communities and Transit Watch Programs and in the new Strategic Counter-Terrorism for Transit Managers course taught by the Johns Hopkins University staff.
The Connecting Communities program brings Federal transportation security partners together with State, local, and tribal government representatives and the local first responder community to discuss security prevention and response efforts and ways to work together effectively to prepare and protect their communities. These forums enhance information and intelligence sharing among partners in transportation security to facilitate prevention and ensure the capacity for rapid and flexible response and recovery to all-hazards events. The two-day scenario-based workshops elevate security and safety posture through discussion and analysis of emergency management and response, including the role of Federal, State and local emergency management offices, to facilitate efficient planning, preparedness and response coordination. Effective networks are built through the exchange of transit policies, procedures, resources, and effective practices with local first responders that respond to transit emergencies. TSA and FTA plan to hold 12 Connecting Communities sessions throughout the country during 2007. The first three took place in Washington, DC, in February, Houston in March, and Las Vegas in April. On the horizon are forums in Los Angeles (May 22-23) and Columbus, Ohio (June 18-19).
TSA recently joined a transit agency in an initiative to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. During the 'Play Your Part' campaign, TSA STSIs distributed materials to passengers at various subway stations and times to emphasize public vigilance and prompt reporting of unattended bags or unusual activities. The campaign can be integrated with VIPR deployments throughout the nation in 2007.
Visible Intermodal Protection and Response (VIPR) teams consist of a combination of STSIs, Federal Air Marshals, explosive-detection canine teams, Aviation Security Inspectors, and Transportation Security Officers. The teams provide a random, announced, high-visibility surge into a transit agency, in addition to enhancing agency resources during special events. More than 50 mass transit deployments have occurred since the program was initiated in December 2005. Regional planning and execution is increasing the frequency of deployments and enhancing local expertise, thereby increasing the terrorism deterrent effect. Recent examples include VIPR deployments at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) system in Boston, at Amtrak facilities in Boston, upstate New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC, and at the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and Amtrak facilities in Buffalo, New York. In March 2007, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and TSA announced a joint initiative under which VIPR teams will supplement security operations on the Metro North commuter rail system and the Long Island Railroad.