WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is partnering with Amtrak and three commuter railroads for a three-day pilot project to test the agency’s ability to assist State and local authorities by quickly deploying federal assets in response to a specific threat.
The pilot will run from Dec. 14 through Dec. 16 and will involve Federal Air Marshals, surface transportation inspectors and TSA canine teams. Commuter railroads participating in the project are the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), SEPTA and Metrolink
"In the event of an actual threat, relationships with partners like WMATA and Amtrak will be crucial for a quick and effective response," said Kip Hawley, TSA Assistant Secretary. "This pilot in Washington will expand TSA’s security network and better prepare the agency to adapt security measures to a specific threat."
There is no specific intelligence involving threats to the transportation domain at this time. However, TSA is constantly working to build upon its capabilities to meet evolving threats and more effectively manage risk.
Providing assets to WMATA and Amtrak facilities in Washington, Metrolink in Los Angeles and SEPTA in Philadelphia is one piece of a broader national pilot program being conducted this week in seven cities, in coordination with various levels of government and the private sector, according to the TSA.
The TSA is also sending Federal Air Marshals, inspectors and canine teams to the Washington State Ferry system in Seattle, Greyhound bus lines in Houston, and rail and mass transit systems in Atlanta and Baltimore.
TSA has selected to deploy resources to a variety of transportation modes in cities across the country to fully test the agency’s ability to respond to a broad range of threats.
As a result of this and other tests, TSA expects to find new ways to quickly deploy resources, in the event of an actual threat, that add complexity to security measures outside of the aviation domain.