TSA, in coordination with its Federal partners, has established the Transit, Commuter and Long-Distance Rail Government Coordinating Council (GCC) to bring together the Federal entities with responsibilities that affect transit security. Members of the TCLDR-GCC include TSA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and when appropriate, the Department of Defense (DOD). State and local governments are also invited to participate.
Outreach to stakeholders in the mass transit and passenger rail community encouraged establishing of a modal coordinating council for the mass transit and passenger rail mode. With the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) as the Secretary to the Council, the Mass Transit Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) has been organized around an existing body of the APTA Security Affairs Steering Committee. Participating entities include APTA, the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA), Amtrak, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and individual transit agencies representative of the community in system size and geographic spread, as well as representation of business organizations providing support services to the public transportation industry. Additions may be made to this group to ensure a more robust and broad private sector engagement.
The councils meet independently to set their priorities and positions and jointly to develop and implement security strategies and programs. The Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC), established by Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff to cover all critical infrastructure sectors, provides the process that enables consensus-based engagement among the councils. Intermodal issues are addressed by the Transportation Sector GCC under this process.
TSA has also established the Transit Policing and Security Peer Advisory Group. Formed under the auspices of the GCC/SCC framework, TSA works with transit agency security professionals to harness the application of resources and the development of programs to maximize the impact in enhancing security. The Advisory Group brings together the expertise of 15 transit police chiefs and security directors from systems across the Nation as a consultative forum with extensive experience to facilitate development and implementation of effective security programs.
To advance regional engagement and maximize application of available security resources, TSA is encouraging the formation of regional public transportation coordinating councils, a concept endorsed in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. These councils will foster development and communication of coordinated policies and positions on matters in transportation security and operational efficiency. Members of the respective councils would engage in collaborative efforts to develop and implement security strategies, plans, and programs under the CIPAC. Through regional engagement and regional deployment of resources, TSA seeks to advance the use of a full spectrum of available resources from Federal, State, and local governmental entities and transit systems in a concerted effort to disrupt the terrorists' ability to orient planning and preparation activities. The regional approach aims to advance sustainable programs to elevate security posture through expanded visible, random, and unpredictable security activities for deterrent effect and heightened vigilance fostered by security training and awareness programs.
Twice yearly, TSA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) host Transit Security Roundtables, bringing together the security chiefs and directors of the Top 50 transit agencies (by passenger volume) in a working group forum to tackle specific security challenges. Through this engagement, security professionals from the mass transit and passenger rail community and the Federal government collaborate to advance effective programs and initiatives to enhance security. The focused effort over a 3 to 5-day period fosters the networking and information sharing, notably of smart security practices, that is essential to elevating security posture throughout the passenger rail and mass transit mode.
Internationally, engagement with the Group of 8 (G8), the European Union, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Mexican and Canadian governments fosters sharing of effective practices and technologies in mass transit and passenger rail security. The expanding cooperation in this area has culminated in creation of an International Working Group on Land Transport Security with initial focus on passenger rail and mass transit security. TSA also participates in an international Rail and Urban Transport Working Group in support of technology testing and evaluation information-sharing.
TSA engages in several other bilateral international information sharing and cooperative efforts to develop and promulgate effective practices in rail and mass transit security, with the objective of developing security solutions applicable on a wider international basis. These engagements explore opportunities to encourage broader private sector involvement in the protection of assets, such as through training of mass transit employees.
Developing initiatives include the internationally-focused law-enforcement exchange program, the Mass Transit-focused international security peer review (ISPR) program, and an international studies program on effective transit security/counter-terrorism practices. These initiatives will bring together TSA and transit agency security professionals in integrated efforts with foreign transit agencies for mutual benefit. The American teams will both assist the foreign agencies in elevating their security posture through comprehensive reviews and glean effective practices for potential adaptation and application in US systems.