The Testimony of
Admiral James Loy
Administrator, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Good morning Mr. Chairman, Senator Hollings, and Members of the Committee. I am pleased to have this opportunity to appear before you today to report on the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) progress and plans for improving security in the Nation's transportation system and discuss the recommendations of the General Accounting Office (GAO). Under the leadership of Secretary Ridge and Undersecretary Hutchinson, we have forged working partnerships with other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) organizations. We continue to work closely with the operating administrations of the Department of Transportation (DOT). They provide another vital link with transportation providers, and we communicate daily to share expertise, to ensure that we make the best use of each organization's resources and opportunities.
As we near the second anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our Nation that forever changed our sense of security in today's world, I feel confident in assuring you and the American people that the civil aviation sector and the larger transportation sector is more secure today than it has ever been and it will continue to become even more secure as we mature our complementary "systems of systems."
Today, I would like to review some of the major strides that we have made in aviation security and our action plan for making further improvements. TSA is working with other DHS agencies and DOT operating administrations to develop security standards and initiatives to create a more uniform level of security across all transportation modes without impeding travel or commerce
Civil Aviation Security. First, the flow of intelligence on terrorists, their methods and their plans, has greatly improved our understanding of the threats that we face and helped us focus our resources on meeting those threats. There have been countless times when information shared with airports or airlines has alerted them to threats and encouraged enhanced security on their part.
TSA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have helped fund many local airport projects to improve perimeter security, such as construction of perimeter access roads, installation of access control systems, electronic surveillance and intrusion detection systems, and security fencing. The realization of and the response to the threat from Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) is part of our concern and focus on improved perimeter security, an element of the security plan required for each airport.
One local initiative demonstrates how quickly interagency cooperation can be marshaled to fill security gaps when they are discovered. When perimeter security was breached at New York's JFK Airport, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey rapidly orchestrated an effective plan to enhance the protection of the remote runways of their facility. A new level of perimeter security is now in place that involves people, technology, and innovation. It is also an example of the products that skilled security planners can develop locally, without an impetus from a federal agency. Our own TSA security inspectors, FAA's Air Traffic Service, the Port Authority Police, the NYPD Boat Patrol, and the U.S. Coast Guard have joined forces to create a cooperative arrangement that will result in tighter perimeter security including the waterside runways of that airport.
Every passenger entering the sterile areas of an airport is screened by a highly trained force of TSA screeners. Our screeners receive a minimum of 40 hours of classroom training, and 60 hours of on-the-job training. They are subject to periodic proficiency assessments and unannounced training. They are made aware of new threats and methods of concealment. We have also greatly improved the technology used at screening checkpoints and have improved our capability to detect weapons, explosives, and other prohibited items. The combination of our screening force using enhanced technology has resulted in almost 800 arrests at screening checkpoints and the interception of over 4 million prohibited items since the November 19, 2002 deadline to have TSA screeners at all commercial airports. Deploying our screeners at almost 450 commercial airports around the country less than a year after our establishment was a remarkable feat. Similarly, by December 31, 2002, we met the congressional deadline in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act to screen all checked baggage. In large part this was met with explosives detection and explosives trace detection equipment. In some locations during peak periods we screen some bags with a variety of congressionally approved alternative methods.
We expanded the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) from dozens of agents before 9/11 to thousands of highly trained law enforcement officers, flying the skies on high-risk flights. As you know, the FAMs will be transferred to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE). This will create a "surge capacity" to effectively deal with specific threats by cross-training FAMs and BICE agents to help disrupt aviation security threats.
Under FAA rules, all commercial passenger aircraft that fly in the U.S. now have reinforced cockpit doors, making it highly unlikely that terrorists could successfully storm the cockpit. The "Crew Training Common Strategy" (commonly referred to as the "Common Strategy"), was originally developed by FAA to address hijacking threats. It was restructured immediately after 9/11, and TSA and FAA are currently engaged in a further revision to the Common Strategy to address the threats posed by suicide terrorists. Pilots are now trained to not open the flight deck door, and if terrorists should somehow breach the reinforced flight deck door, they would meet with a flight deck crew determined to protect the flight deck at all costs. An increasing number of pilots are armed and trained to use lethal force against an intruder on the flight deck.
TSA has increased cooperation with our international partners at airports overseas and with air carriers that fly into and out of the United States. We have required thousands of criminal history records checks for U.S. airport workers needing unescorted access to secure areas of the airport and we are working on improving the access process as part of our overall airport security program.
I am proud of the contributions that TSA and its employees have made to our country. It is with great sadness that I report to you that one of our screeners, Sgt. Jaror C. Puello, was recently killed in action while serving in Iraq. Sgt. Puello was a TSA screener at Newark International Airport in New Jersey. Sgt. Puello saved the life of a member of his platoon from a speeding truck but lost his life in the effort. Sgt. Puello leaves behind a wife and three children. Sgt. Puello served this country proudly, in his job with TSA, and in his service to the Army. Many other TSA personnel serve in the Reserves and National Guard and have been called up to active duty.
During the past several months, the media has reported on improvised explosive devices secreted in ordinary items that passengers might carry onto an airplane, continued attempts by terrorists to perfect the shoe bomb apparatus employed, unsuccessfully, by convicted terrorist Richard Reid in December, 2001, and of course the recently reported sting operation concerning an attempt to smuggle a shoulder launched anti-aircraft missile into the United States, although no live missile was involved. These threats are a stark reminder that we must hold our focus on security. The number of prohibited items that TSA screeners continue to intercept from passengers is still large and does not show a downward trend. In May, June, and July of this year the total number of prohibited items that our screeners intercepted increased from 515,792, to 597,310, to 640,891, respectively. The number of intercepted firearms increased from 50, to 67, to 89, but these numbers are down from last year's levels.
Since I last appeared before this Committee I have been able to sign the first Letters of Intent (LOIs) that TSA has issued to airports. These LOIs will provide for the installation of efficient checked baggage systems that are integrated with explosives detection systems, thus reducing unacceptable clutter in the terminal buildings and efficiently moving passengers and checked baggage through the conveyor systems. TSA has established and is applying prioritization criteria to allocate appropriated funds amongst airports through the LOI program. I issued the first series of LOIs to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Boston-Logan International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. I awarded another set for McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Denver International Airport, and Los Angeles International Airport and Ontario International Airport in California. These six LOIs, covering 7 airports, represent a Federal commitment of approximately $670 million over the next four budget cycles.
We take the threat of MANPADS extremely seriously and continue to perform vulnerability assessments on our airports even as both DHS, through its Science and Technology Directorate, and the Defense Department accelerate their review of technology to find the right way to protect commercial airliners from this threat. Protecting civil aviation from MANPADS remains a multi-faceted undertaking. As noted recently by the Congressional Research Service , effective countermeasures include "improvements or modifications to commercial aircraft, changes to pilot training and air traffic control procedures, and improvements to airport and local security." This includes enhanced perimeter security, particularly if a threat is made known to us via the intelligence information that we receive from a variety of sources. Other components to protect civil aviation from MANPADS are non-proliferation efforts and border and customs enforcement, all key areas that DHS, State Department, the Defense Department, and many other agencies, continue to press forward on. I want to emphasize, however, that there is no credible intelligence that MANPADS are in the hands of terrorists in this country.
We know that we cannot solve all security concerns solely with the power of a strong security workforce. We must be able to develop and deploy new technology to make our screening operations more efficient, less time consuming and costly, and to be able to look beyond the horizon to adapt to new emerging threats. Led in large part by our Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL), TSA is attempting to do just that.
The certification, purchase, manufacture, and installation of some 1,000 explosives detection systems and 5,300 explosives trace detection machines at more than 400 airports throughout the country in such a short time after TSA was created met an aggressive congressional deadline. Now we are working on faster machines that have a smaller footprint and can find even more minute amounts of explosives. We are improving the efficiency of the current machines even as we move forward with research on the next generation of screening equipment. TSL is looking at new applications of X-ray, electro-magnetic, and nuclear technologies to better probe sealed containers for materials that pose a threat. We are testing two Trace Detection Portals that analyze the air for explosives as passengers pass through them.
I know that this Committee is very interested in blast resistant cargo containers, to hold either cargo or luggage and contain an explosion. The issues we face with devices now available in the marketplace involve weight, cost, and durability. TSA, through TSL, is working on improving this technology for use on wide body aircraft.
In February, I heard the advice of Senator McCain and others loud and clear concerning the importance of good acquisition management and contract oversight. I have initiated a contract oversight strategy that includes significant support from the Defense Contract Management Agency, Defense Contract Audit Agency, and multiple independent third party contractors. TSA has developed a sound investment review process that mirrors the DHS review process. A lot of press has surrounded our contract last year with NCS Pearson, and we will follow the auditor conclusions carefully to ensure we got our money's worth.
Our rightsizing effort continues as we work to find the balance between airport and air carrier needs, and staffing requirements for TSA passenger and baggage screeners. After we ramped up to meet the deadlines for federalizing passenger and baggage screening, we had learned much about our staffing requirements. As we analyzed our staffing model it was clear that there were airports where we had an imbalance in staffing. In some airports this meant we had too many screeners for the passenger load at those locations. At others, particularly those in large metropolitan areas, we had too few screeners. In many locations it became clear that a part-time workforce segment makes sense, given the peaks and valleys of scheduled air carrier service. As a result, and in keeping with our budget limitations, I made a decision to reduce the number of screeners by 3,000 by May 31, 2003, and by an additional 3,000 by September 30th of this year. We have reached these targets. Where we required additional part-time staffing at airports we have opened assessment centers for individuals to apply for these positions.
In light of the fact that TSA met this difficult target of reducing the workforce by 6,000 screeners before the end of this fiscal year, I ask this Committee's understanding of our need to pause and stabilize the screener workforce during the next 3 to 6 months. This will permit TSA to complete the conversion process of many screeners from full-time to part-time status as we re-shape the workforce. It will also allow us to complete the immediate requirements to hire additional part-time employees to maintain our current levels of screener workforce and to balance the full-time equivalence (FTE) allocations at the various airports throughout the country.
Cargo security on passenger aircraft remains a matter of concern for this Committee and for all of us engaged in the area of transportation security. I am firmly convinced that our air cargo security strategic plan is on the right track. Proposals to require the physical inspection of every piece of cargo shipped on passenger aircraft without a risk-based targeting strategy are no more practical than similar calls to physically inspect each of the more than 6 million containers that enter the United States each year through our seaports. Proposals of this sort would simply prevent any cargo from being carried on-board passenger aircraft. Rather, we have focused our efforts on three key components in ensuring the security of air cargo.
First, we use a threat-based, risk-management approach. All cargo should be information screened for a determination of the threat and the risk that it poses; moving forward, certain cargo deemed suspicious or high-risk needs to be subjected to heightened security screening under the TSA approach. Part of this process involves banning cargo from unknown shippers, and greatly strengthening the Known Shipper program. Participation in the Known Shipper program is now more rigorous, and all parts of the air cargo supply chain, especially air passenger carriers, all-cargo carriers, and freight forwarders have been given added responsibility for verifying a customer's status in the Known Shipper program. TSA performs inspections of these links in the supply chain to ensure compliance. TSA is also moving forward with the Known Shipper Database and automated Indirect Air Carrier certification / recertification. TSA plans on the full deployment of this database in FY 04.
The second component of our strategic approach to air cargo security involves the use of information analysis to assist in pre-screening cargo. Using information external to TSA, we gather information on whether cargo is of a suspicious origin, warranting additional scrutiny. TSA is already working with BCBP and its National Targeting Center on pre-screening water borne cargo, and will be working closely with BCBP in the development of a similar system for air cargo. Again, we plan to develop and begin deployment of our targeting efforts in FY 04.
The third component in our air cargo security strategic plan involves the development of technology to aid in screening and inspecting air cargo. Our goal is to subject higher-risk shipments to heightened security screening, but TSA will need a toolbox of inspection technologies, as no one technology can be applied in all operating environments. A combination of EDS, ETD, X-ray, canine, and perhaps even some emerging technologies will need to be made available to the field. We will have to overcome a number of hurdles to be able to inspect cargo efficiently by remote means without damaging the contents or unnecessarily delaying shipment. This research and development effort must be supported.
Air cargo security, just like security for all other aspects of the transportation system, is a partnership. The air cargo industry must participate with us in a collaborative effort and must be able to bear its fair share of the costs. I am grateful for the cooperation that TSA has received from the industry through its participation in cargo working groups, an off-shoot of the Aviation Security Advisory Committee. We expect to receive air cargo security recommendations from these working groups in just a few weeks.
Our continuing efforts to improve aviation security inevitably focus on greater information about people who have access to various aspects of the aviation system. That is why our plans to create uniform credentials for workers in the transportation industry are so critical. I am pleased with the continued support that this Committee has given to our Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. TWIC may establish a system-wide credential which, if necessary, has the potential to be used across transportation modes for personnel requiring unescorted physical and/or logical access to secure areas of the transportation system. TWIC will consider multiple access control points to a transportation facility through a variety of transportation vectors. Using funds already appropriated by Congress, we now have a technology evaluation underway at two sites. One is on the East Coast covering the Philadelphia-Delaware River area and the other is on the West Coast in the Los Angeles and Long Beach area. The information that we glean from these technology evaluations will enable us to make key decisions about further development of this program.
Of course, our most visible mission since September 11th has been to keep terrorists off commercial airliners. Our plan to move forward with development, testing, and implementation of the second-generation Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II) is critical to a robust aviation security system. As part of its ongoing dialogue with the public on CAPPS II and related issues, DHS has issued a revised Interim Final Privacy Notice, which provides information regarding CAPPS II, including the type of data that the system will review, and how the data will be used. As always, public comment on the Notice is requested. The closing date for submission of comments is September 30th. CAPPS II will be a threat-based system under the direct control of the government and will represent a major improvement over the decentralized, airline-controlled system currently in place. Mr. Chairman, I pledge to continue to work with this Committee to assure you and the Members of this Committee that our development of CAPPS II will enhance security without compromising important privacy rights.
We are also developing the parameters for a pilot program to test key elements of the Registered Traveler program, including background checks, positive identification, and new checkpoint operations. We intend to test these concepts at several airports later this year. Our airline partners have expressed strong interest in working with us.
We have implemented the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program. We held the first training class this past April and we trained, deputized, and deployed our first group of volunteer pilots serving as Federal Flight Deck Officers. We closely reevaluated the training, and indeed, the entire program, and we have revamped both. In close cooperation with organizations representing many airline pilots such as the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA), we have begun full-scale training of volunteer pilots. The FFDOs that are currently flying have now flown several thousand flights, quietly providing another layer of security in our system of systems. As more FFDOs are deputized, this number will rise into the tens of thousands of flights.
We will transfer FFDO training on September 8, 2003 from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) at Glynco, Georgia, to the new permanent site at FLETC's training facility in Artesia, New Mexico. FLETC Glynco was operating over capacity, largely as a result of the added requirements for law enforcement training following September 11. The Artesia facility offers the capability to double the student throughput each week and we plan to do so starting in January 2004. FLETC Artesia is also the home of the basic training program of the FAMS, and thus, has training facilities specifically geared to the unique environment and circumstances present on an aircraft. FLETC Artesia has three environmentally controlled commercial passenger jets on hardstands available for use as tactical training simulators, and ample indoor and outdoor shooting ranges. A delegation of pilots and TSA staff has visited the site and was unanimous in its praise of Artesia as a better option. I intend to use dispersed private sector facilities for the regional semi-annual recertification training required of FFDOs.
TSA's actions to enhance aviation security are not limited to commercial aviation. We have made great strides in the last two years in improving security for the General Aviation (GA) community. This is a substantial undertaking, as there are approximately 220,000 GA aircraft in the United States, responsible for 77% of all air traffic, and more than 18,000 landing areas throughout the nation. In addition to the GA initiatives I reported upon last February, TSA has several other initiatives underway that will continue to improve security in this critical arena. We are working collaboratively with key stakeholders in the GA community to develop and disseminate appropriate security guidelines for the thousands of public and private use GA airports and heliports. TSA is also preparing to launch a GA vulnerability assessment as part of it overall risk management program. We are looking at more in-depth background checks for GA pilots. This would assist in issuing waivers to certain restricted airspace to cleared individuals such as corporate pilots. Finally, we are reviewing some of the restrictions in current Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) to determine their lasting security value. We will engage in appropriate rulemaking to make permanent those restrictions that add real security value.
I want to also bring to your attention the innovative methods we are using to enhance security and provide outstanding customer service. In cooperation with a host of Federal, State, and local agencies, TSA is exploring a variety of methods to smooth the transition of travelers through our transportation system. The first of these intermodal pilot projects, dubbed "Synergy Projects", was initiated in Miami, Florida earlier this year where we have tested integrating the seamless transfer of the baggage of cruise ship passengers from one mode of transportation to another. We have also cooperatively supported a Canadian Government initiative in Vancouver, British Columbia. In conjunction with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Air Canada, this program maintains the security standards of U.S.-U.S. domestic baggage movements. As the success of these initial Synergy Projects becomes better known, other regions of the country are initiating their own proposals to maintain the security of the Nation's transportation system while facilitating the smooth transfer of passengers and their baggage between transportation modes.
As part of the Department's Border and Transportation Directorate, one of our top priorities this year is the development of a comprehensive, coordinated security strategy for the transportation system. To accomplish this, TSA is coordinating the development of a National Transportation System Security Plan (NTSSP). The plan will provide guidance for national-level plans for all transportation modes and will be developed with the collaboration of many partners, including other DHS components such as the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate and the Coast Guard, the Department of Transportation (DOT) modal operating administrations, other federal government agencies and private interests. A wide range of perspectives, disciplines, and constituencies will be involved in the Plan's development to ensure the guidance is comprehensive, credible, and executable.
GAO has recommended that DHS and DOT establish a mechanism, such as a memorandum of agreement, to clarify and delineate TSA and DOT roles and responsibilities. We cooperate extensively with DOT and the modal administrations, and value the degree of cooperation that we receive as we work together to secure the transportation systems. We will continue to assess the need for MOAs for the future.
GAO's recommendation for a risk-management approach has been adopted by TSA as a cornerstone for its development of security strategies. Using risk analysis and working under the guidance of the IAIP Directorate, we hope to ascertain the threats, probabilities, and consequences of attacks on the different transportation systems. While security measures will continue to be developed to reflect the many different types of transportation operations, a certain level of consistency must be established across the systems to ensure that risk is not driven from one mode to another that is perceived less secure.
As they are determined necessary, TSA will develop standards for security that are both cost-effective and non-duplicative. Recognizing that transportation is global in nature, to the greatest extent possible, national standards should be compatible with international standards.
TSA standards will be largely administered and implemented through operating administrations and private sector organizations when practical. Stakeholders will have multiple opportunities to provide input into the development of standards. TSA standards will be performance-based, allowing operators to determine how to best achieve a required level of security. As appropriate, standards will be threat-based and tied to the Homeland Security Alert Level.
Just last week Secretary Ridge announced plans to centralize terrorism and emergency preparedness grant programs within a single office, providing a since point of access for obtaining critical funding. This will ensure that one focal point in the Department is available for potential grantees to tap into the resources and information they need, from applying for funds to protect critical infrastructure to receiving guidance and expertise for first responders. This will allow DHS to provide more consistent grant guidance, coordination, and oversight.
TSA has already distributed substantial funding assistance for maritime and land security projects and will be working closely with other DHS agencies to provide a smooth transition of grant programs under the Secretary's new plan.
For port security assessments and enhancements, TSA issued (under DOT in cooperation with MARAD and the Coast Guard) $92 million in FY 02 funds to 79 grantees for 143 projects. In June 2003, again with the teamwork of the Coast Guard and MARAD, TSA awarded $170 million in FY 03 funds to 199 grantees for 392 projects. TSA is currently completing the selection process for $20 million in port incident response exercise contracts and is beginning the evaluation process for an additional $105 million in port security enhancement grants.
With the assistance of FMCSA and the Federal Transit Administration, TSA selected and recently announced the award of 60 grants for 67 bus security projects totaling $20 million. These grants will enhance driver protection, passenger and baggage screening, and monitoring and communications technologies for over-the-road buses.
Working with DOT and other DHS and federal agencies, TSA is managing the Operation Safe Commerce (OSC) project. OSC will provide cooperative agreements to identify security weaknesses in the supply chain and fund business-driven pilot projects to enhance container security throughout the supply chain. Utilizing FY 02 and FY 03 funding, TSA awarded funding for 18 projects totaling $58 million to the three largest container load centers in the U.S.-the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Seattle/Tacoma, and New York/New Jersey. Together with the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, TSA is also co-chairing the Container Working Group, which has recommended potential security technologies and procedures that are being operationally tested in OSC.
To address one of the critical issues in the area of rail hazardous materials security policy, TSA held a workshop to explore the role of placards and their effects on the security of hazardous materials shipments by rail. TSA brought together experts from the response community and railroad community as well as government agencies to discuss security and safety impacts on the treatment of placards for hazardous material shipments by rail.
Last May, GAO's report "Rail Safety and Security - Some Actions Already Taken to Enhance Rail Security, but Risk-based Plan Needed," noted that TSA has not yet developed a risk-based security plan to address rail security. TSA concurs with GAO's recommendation, and is working under the guidance of the IAIP Directorate and with the Department of Transportation to develop a risk-based plan that specifically addresses the security of the nation's rail infrastructure. This plan will make maximum use of the railroad industry's Terrorism Risk Analysis and Security Management Plan, which is being reviewed consistent with national interests and security goals.
TSA has also provided comments to Amtrak on its Security Investment Plan. Given the vast infrastructure of the passenger rail system, security enhancements should be based on thorough risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis. Close coordination between Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration, and TSA is critical as we move forward.
Good intelligence is an important tool for combating terrorism in all modes of transportation. In close coordination with the IAIP Directorate's Intelligence Analysis section, TSA's Transportation Security Intelligence Service (TSIS) receives, assesses, and distributes intelligence related to threats to transportation, and operates an around-the-clock intelligence watch tied to all national intelligence and law enforcement intelligence programs. It maintains direct connections with TSA's field operations and the security centers of major transportation stakeholders. It tracks intelligence and modal operations developments continuously. Staffed by experienced senior intelligence analysts, the intelligence watch is authorized to alert all appropriate entities to indications of a threat. As part of DHS, TSA is working to integrate its intelligence analysis and products with other intelligence components of DHS while continuing to support its transportation customer base with analysis on transportation security and intelligence.
TSA shares transportation security intelligence directly with the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Operation Center in a manner similar to intelligence sharing for aviation security. To enhance cogent intelligence analysis, industry leaders recently provided briefings on land and maritime transportation to intelligence analysts from the TSIS, the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, DHS's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate, the Northern Command, and the Defense Intelligence Agency through the auspices of TSA. We are also coordinating sponsorship of security clearances and secure communications for security personnel in the transportation industry.
Implementation of the Maritime Transportation Security Act.
Leveraging work already undertaken by private industry and within the federal government, TSA is collaborating closely with the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to enable DHS to meet the many requirements set forth in the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002. For example, in July, the Coast Guard published interim final maritime security regulations to require vessel and facility owners to complete security assessments, develop security plans, and implement security measures and procedures. The regulations will also implement Automatic Identification System (AIS) requirements for certain vessels, as required by MTSA.
These regulations were developed in a collaborative process that involved both TSA and CBP, and are a good example of the benefits of creating the Department of Homeland Security and bringing the federal government agencies with complementary missions under one roof. TSA is coordinating with the Coast Guard and the IAIP Directorate to develop a vulnerability assessment tool that may be used by vessel and facility operators to help them meet their obligations under those rules. TSA is also working with the Coast Guard to ensure that the National Maritime Security Plan and the Area Maritime Security Plans are consistent with the National Transportation System Security Plan. TSA will also provide assistance to the Coast Guard and BCBP in conducting foreign port assessments and notifying foreign authorities when ports are not in compliance.
To meet the remaining statutory requirements for which DHS is responsible under MTSA, TSA, BCBP and the Coast Guard are also collaborating closely in the arena of developing performance standards for containerized cargo, secure systems of transportation, and transportation security cards. I am pleased to report that a good portion of the preliminary work necessary to meet these requirements has already been done through the interagency container working group, and programs like Operation Safe Commerce, the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC). We are continuing to work closely with BCBP, the Coast Guard, IAIP and other federal agencies like the Department of Transportation to identify gaps that need to be addressed in these arenas, and will continue to collaborate closely with those partners in identifying how those gaps should be filled.
Conclusion. Analysts can point to a veritable obstacle course of challenges to preparing a comprehensive system of security across the modes. While I recognize and respect the difficulty of meeting these challenges, I am optimistic in that TSA also has many compensating strengths to draw upon. We can look very positively upon the dramatic change in landscape in only two years. We have all learned a great deal very quickly. Also, the enormity of our transportation network and its workers means that we have alert eyes and ears throughout America, along thousands of miles of rail track, at every airport, behind the wheels of trucks and motorcoaches on our highways, throughout our transit stations and systems, and at our ports and loading docks. We also have remarkable, almost instantaneous communications tools to help us reach out as well as share information. Just as important, as this Committee knows so well, the transportation community has decades of success in engineering solutions to national challenges, such as improving transportation safety, building and maintaining vast transportation systems, and harnessing technology to help them operate more efficiently.
We can only surmount the very real threats to our security by working as a team. You have my assurance that TSA will reach out to all elements of the transportation and security communities, public and private, as we move forward. Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
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