ARLINGTON, VA— Tom Blank, assistant administrator for policy at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said at a homeland defense conference last week that the terrorist threat facing the United States and its transportation networks is “a new kind of threat compared to what we’ve faced in the past and it’s constantly changing.”
Speaking at the Homeland Defense Training Conference sponsored by Homeland Defense Journal magazine last week, Blank laid out a disturbing analysis of what transportation providers face as they try to beef up security measures for their facilities and fleets.
“International terrorism is not a new threat but it is very different in the 21st century,” he explained. “Terrorists today have no flag, no country, no president, and especially no remorse. Their only goals are to spread fear and create mass destruction. That means we don’t know where or when the next strike will be – only that there will be one.”
While TSA has largely focused on improving passenger airline security, it is now turning more attention to air cargo security, including the formation of a national transportation worker identification program.
“We are trying to create an ID system that will cover those who drive and handle freight in the U.S. – pilots, cargo handlers, truck drivers, train engineers – to verify that those people are who they say they are,” Blank said. “But we want to do this in a way – as with all of our other security efforts – that doesn’t encumber the transportation industry to the point where it shuts down.”