Plan Emphasizes Timely Intelligence

WASHINGTON — The nation’s freight railroads have implemented a security plan that utilizes intelligence data to ensure the security of the system, a Senate hearing on transportation security was told in March.

Edward R. Hamberger, president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Railroads, told the Senate Commerce Committee that after Sept. 11, 2001, attacks the railroad industry “on their own initiative — with the assistance of outside security experts with a background in intelligence — conducted a thorough risk analysis of the rail network to identify vulnerabilities and develop countermeasures. This resulted in the implementation of an industry-wide risk-based rail security plan that used CIA and intelligence community best practices.”

Hamberger noted that “the rail network is vast and open, (and) its protection is dependent the receipt of timely, actionable threat information. It is imperative that sufficient government resources be made available for the gathering, analysis and timely dissemination of intelligence relating to potential threats.”

The railroad industry, he said, has implemented “a security infrastructure that ensures that railroads will quickly receive the latest intelligence data, including threat information.”

Rail representatives, Hamberger said, sit on the FBI’s National Joint Terrorism Task Force and in two Department of Homeland Security intelligence offices to help evaluate data at the Top Secret level.

To make sure railroads receive timely intelligence data, he said, the AAR developed “the Railway Alert Network — RAN — to provide terrorism threat information to the industry. The hub of the RAN is AAR’s Operations Center which operates at the secret level and is staffed with mobile communications around the clock.

Hazardous materials shipments receive special attention from railroads, he said, with the most dangerous substances traveling in cars that meet the government and industry standards.

Last year, Hamberger noted, the AAR received the Department of Defense’s Cogswell Award for Industrial Security, which was given to only 15 of 11,000 DOD contractors.

Published in the April 2004 edition of The Cross-Tie.