Discussion Questions: Discuss the complexities the U.S. faces when securing differing modes of transportation. How important is critical infrastructure protection maintenance in overall transportation security? 


1. For this week’s question we were asked to discuss the complexities the U.S. faces when securing differing modes of transportation.  As we know, our Transportation sector is critical to our National Security, and without this sector we would not be able to be as effective.  Tied within the transportation sector includes all the Emergency Services (i.e. police, medical, firefighters, etc.) transportation.  Without a proper and well-maintained means of transportation, it would be difficult for any kind of Emergency Services to respond accordingly to threats.  Identified within the DHS 2020 Biennial National Strategy are challenge’s the Transportation Sector faces which include: Uncertainty about Risks; Resources and Budget Constraints; Performance Assessments; Resiliency and System Recovery.  Additionally, physical security, weapon detection programs, cybersecurity, preventing terrorist travel, insider threats, and our preparedness are all complexities which we face which hinder our ability to securing different modes of transportation (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2020).  Besides the Emergency Services sector suffering, it was interesting to find out how long we have been trying to secure our air transportation (flying).  In 1931, Byron Rickards had his aircraft hijacked (Klenka, 2019).  Yes, this did not happen in the U.S., but this just goes to show us that this problem of trying to secure air transportation is worldwide.  Today, we still face these issues unfortunately.  Drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles still pose threats which hinder the daily lives of many.  We will we ever be able to live without these complexities.  I really don’t believe so. Lastly, our critical infrastructure protection maintenance is very important to our transportation security.  We must be able to grow and advance as well as our adversaries are.  I feel the key to staying on top is to be resilient.  We will face many challenges but have to know that together, we here in the United States can overcome anything because we are the worlds greatest nation!

2. “U.S. critical infrastructure protection (CIP) requires both the stipulation of security from internal and external perils and the rehabilitation of physically damaged critical infrastructure which may interrupt services” (Hemme, 2015, pg.3). The United States relies heavily on transportation to compete globally and to support and relieve a slow domestic economy. Individuals depend on transportation, not just to get to work to get to other essential factors in their lives, such as socializing, accessing hospitals, and other things. This extensive transportation system may be sufficient to accommodate today’s population and economy, even though extremely overcrowded locations make that contestable. However, preservation and development are essential to support an expected 20% increase in the population. The rancorous debate regarding shortfalls and taxes has prevented the federal government from addressing the investment required to enhance transportation system performance.  Transportation systems functions at capacity for definite periods of the day. Unanticipated effects, such as crashes or inclement and extreme weather, can significantly interrupt traffic and exacerbate congestion and procrastination. Drivers and motor carriers on metropolitan area highways, and travelers on intercity planes, trains, and buses encounter obstacles more routinely because the expansion of the system has stalled notwithstanding the ongoing increase in the population and the economy. A significant performance problem across all modes is the lack of training for natural and human-made disasters, as well as for severe weather events, which may become more prevalent with climate change. “Heavy storm “Sandy” flooded subways, airport runways, roads, marine terminals, and railroad tracks in New York and New Jersey, causing tens of billions of dollars losses economically and added environmental damages” (Transportation Research Board, 2013, pg. 6).  Tense additions in the U.S. domestic production of crude oil and gas have dangerous entanglements for national security, climate influences, and transportation. Transportation estimates for two-thirds of U.S. natural gas consumption and have pushed the market for petroleum imports, frequently from volatile parts of the world. A decline in imports will be beneficial for the economy, but the availability of fossil fuels for transportation systems will have meaningful climate repercussions as transportation demand continues to expand. Based on the American Society of Civil Engineers (2013) their 2013 Infrastructure Report Card gives the transportation sector a C+ (“mediocre”) for bridges, a D (“poor”) for roads, and a D (“poor”) for transit systems. “Nationwide, from the 1950s to 1970s, largest bridges were built through the Interstate Highway System and were built with inexpensive and easy-to-build material” (Lowy & Baker, 2013). Interstate Highway System bridges were expected to be built instantly and were intended to survive for about fifty to sixty years; nonetheless, most bridges are crossing their fifty-year expiration date, resulting in the potential for breakdown.

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