Phil Byrd, vice chairman of the American Trucking Associations, told a congressional subcommittee on Thursday, May 31, that efforts to secure the nation’s transportation system should be deployed based on specific and credible intelligence.
“ATA has followed with some interest TSA’s efforts to establish higher visibility operations in surface transportation,” Byrd said of the Transportation Security Administration’s Visible Intermodal Preparedness and Response program, which recently conducted security exercises in Georgia and Tennessee. “ATA supports such operations as long as they are based on intelligence or specific risks that require increased vigilance and security on our highways.”
Byrd, president of Charleston, S.C.-based Bulldog Hiway Express, said TSA officials informed the trucking industry that the presence of VIPR teams at highway facilities such as weigh stations was not due to any specific threat or intelligence. “Deploying VIPR resources for such a purpose seems contrary to TSA’s objective of employing risk-based intelligence-driven operations to prevent terrorist attacks and reduce vulnerabilities,” Byrd said.
Byrd said the committee should request the results of these exercises so the public and policymakers can judge their effectiveness. “ATA fully agrees with TSA’s approach for deploying agency resources,” he said.