[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 242 (Friday, December 16, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 91401-91416]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-28300]



Transportation Security Administration

49 CFR Chapter XII

[Docket No. TSA-2016-0002]
RIN 1652-AA56

Surface Transportation Vulnerability Assessments and Security 
Plans (VASP)

AGENCY: Transportation Security Administration, DHS.

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM).


SUMMARY: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is issuing 
this ANPRM to request public comments on several topics relevant to the 
development of surface transportation vulnerability assessment and 
security plan regulations mandated by the Implementing Recommendations 
of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (9/11 Act). Based on its regular 
interaction with stakeholders, TSA assumes many higher-risk railroads 
(freight and passenger), public transportation agencies, and over-the-
road buses (OTRBs) have implemented security programs with security 
measures similar to those identified by the 9/11 Act's regulatory 
requirements. In general, TSA is requesting information on three types 
of issues. First, existing practices, standards, tools, or other 
resources used or available for conducting vulnerability assessments 
and developing security plans. Second, information on existing security 
measures, including whether implemented voluntarily or in response to 
other regulatory requirements, and the potential impact of additional 
requirements on operations. Third, information on the scope/cost of 
current security systems and other measures used to provide security 
and mitigate vulnerabilities. This information is necessary for TSA to 
establish the current baseline, estimate cost of implementing the 
statutory mandate, and develop appropriate performance standards.
    While TSA will review and consider all comments submitted, TSA 
invites responses to a number of specific questions posed in the ANPRM. 
See the Comments Invited section under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION that 

DATES: Submit comments by February 14, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by the TSA docket number 
to this rulemaking, to the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS), a 
government-wide, electronic docket management system, using any one of 
the following methods:
    Electronically: You may submit comments through the Federal 
eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online 
instructions for submitting comments.
    Mail, In Person, or Fax: Address, hand-deliver, or fax your written 
comments to the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001; fax (202) 493-2251. The 
Department of Transportation (DOT), which maintains and processes TSA's 
official regulatory dockets, will scan the submission and post it to 
    See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for format and other information 
about comment submissions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Harry Schultz (TSA Office of Security 
Policy and Industry Engagement) or Traci Klemm (TSA Office of the Chief 
Counsel) at telephone (571) 227-3531 or email to 
[email protected].


Comments Invited

    TSA invites interested persons to participate in this rulemaking by 
submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments 
relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts 
that might result from this rulemaking action. See ADDRESSES above for 
information on where to submit comments.
    With each comment, please identify the docket number at the 
beginning of your comments. You may submit comments and material 
electronically, in person, by mail, or fax as provided under ADDRESSES, 
but please submit your comments and material by only one means. If you 
submit comments by mail or delivery, submit them in an unbound format, 
no larger than 8.5 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic 
    If you would like TSA to acknowledge receipt of comments submitted 
by mail, include with your comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard 
on which the docket number appears. TSA will stamp the date on the 
postcard and mail it to you.
    TSA will file all comments to our docket address, as well as items 
sent to the address or email under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, in 
the public docket, except for comments containing confidential 
information and sensitive security information (SSI).\1\ Should you 
wish your personally identifiable information redacted prior to filing 
in the docket, please so state. TSA will consider all comments that are 
in the docket on or before the closing date for

[[Page 91402]]

comments and will consider comments filed late to the extent 
practicable. The docket is available for public inspection before and 
after the comment closing date.

    \1\ ``Sensitive Security Information'' or ``SSI'' is information 
obtained or developed in the conduct of security activities, the 
disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of 
privacy, reveal trade secrets or privileged or confidential 
information, or be detrimental to the security of transportation. 
The protection of SSI is governed by 49 CFR part 1520.

Specific Questions

    In general, TSA seeks comments on the broad areas outlined within 
this ANPRM and approaches TSA can take to integrate existing 
requirements and voluntarily initiated programs to enhance security as 
intended by the statutory requirements this rulemaking will fulfill. 
TSA also seeks comments on how this rulemaking could be implemented to 
meet the requirements of the law in a manner that maximizes benefits 
without imposing excessive, unjustified, or unnecessary costs.
    Specific questions are included in this ANPRM immediately following 
the discussion of the relevant issues. TSA asks that commenters provide 
as much information as possible. In some areas, TSA requests very 
specific information. Whenever possible, please provide citations and 
copies of any relevant studies or reports on which you rely, as well as 
any additional data which supports your comment. It is also helpful to 
explain the basis and reasoning underlying your comment. TSA 
appreciates any information provided. While complete answers are 
preferable, TSA recognizes that providing detailed comments on every 
question could be burdensome and will consider all comments, regardless 
of whether the response is complete. Each commenting party should 
include the identifying number of the specific question(s) to which it 
is responding. To assist commenters, a fillable template with all of 
the questions in sequential order is included in the docket. Commenters 
can download the template, complete it, and then upload it to the 
docket or submit a hard copy as directed under ADDRESSES.
    TSA will use comments to make decisions regarding the content and 
direction of the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). TSA also 
requests additional comments and information not addressed by these 
questions that would promote an understanding of the implications of 
imposing a VASP regulatory requirement. TSA does not expect that every 
commenter will be able to answer every question. Please respond to 
those questions you feel able to answer or that address your particular 
    TSA encourages responses from all interested entities, not just the 
transportation sectors to which this rulemaking would apply. Each 
comment filed by a party, other than public transportation agencies, 
railroads, or OTRB companies, or their representatives, should explain 
the commenter's interest in this rulemaking and how their comments may 
assist in TSA's development of the regulation.

Handling of Confidential or Proprietary Information and SSI Submitted 
in Public Comments

    Do not submit comments that include trade secrets, confidential 
commercial or financial information, or SSI to the public regulatory 
docket. Please submit such comments separately from other comments on 
the rulemaking. Comments containing this type of information should be 
appropriately marked as containing such information and submitted by 
mail to the address listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
    TSA will not place comments containing SSI in the public docket and 
will handle them in accordance with applicable safeguards and 
restrictions on access. TSA will hold documents containing SSI, 
confidential business information, or trade secrets in a separate file 
to which the public does not have access, and place a note in the 
public docket explaining that commenters have submitted such documents. 
TSA may include a redacted version of the comment in the public docket. 
If an individual requests to examine or copy information that is not in 
the public docket, TSA will treat it as any other request under the 
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552) and the Department of 
Homeland Security's (DHS') FOIA regulation found in 6 CFR part 5.

Reviewing Comments in the Docket

    Please be aware that anyone is able to search the electronic form 
of all comments in any of our dockets by the name of the individual who 
submitted the comment (or signed the comment, if an association, 
business, labor union, etc., submitted the comment). You may review the 
applicable Privacy Act Statement published in the Federal Register on 
April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), and modified on January 17, 2008 (73 FR 
    You may review TSA's electronic public docket on the Internet at 
http://www.regulations.gov. In addition, DOT's Docket Management 
Facility provides a physical facility, staff, equipment, and assistance 
to the public. To obtain assistance or to review comments in TSA's 
public docket, you may visit this facility between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 
p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays, or call (202) 
366-9826. This docket operations facility is located in the West 
Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140 at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590.

Availability of Rulemaking Document

    You can get an electronic copy using the Internet by--
    (1) Searching the electronic FDMS Web page at http://www.regulations.gov; or
    (2) Accessing the Government Printing Office's Web page at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=FR to view 
the daily published Federal Register edition; or accessing the ``Search 
the Federal Register by Citation'' in the ``Related Resources'' column 
on the left, if you need to do a Simple or Advanced search for 
information, such as a type of document that crosses multiple agencies 
or dates.
    In addition, copies are available by writing or calling the 
individual in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. Make sure to 
identify the docket number of this rulemaking.

Abbreviations and Terms Used in This Document

17 SAIs--17 Security and Emergency Preparedness Action Items for 
Transit Agencies
AAR--Association of American Railroads
AMTRAK--National Railroad Passenger Corporation
ANPRM--Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
APTA--American Public Transportation Association
BASE--Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement
CSRs--Corporate Security Reviews
DOT--Department of Transportation
DHS--Department of Homeland Security
EXIS--Exercise Information System
FEMA--Federal Emergency Management Agency
FMCSA--Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
FRA--Federal Railroad Administration
FTA--Federal Transit Administration
HMR--Hazardous Materials Regulations
HSA--Homeland Security Act of 2002
HSAS--Homeland Security Advisory System
HSEEP--Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program
HTUA--High-Threat Urban Area
I-STEP--Intermodal Security Training and Exercise Program
NCIPP--National Critical Infrastructure Prioritization Program
NPRM--Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
NTAS--National Terrorism Advisory System
NY MTA--New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority
OMB--Office of Management and Budget
OTRB--Over-the-Road Bus
OAs--Oversight Agencies
PHMSA--Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
PPD--Presidential Policy Directive
PRA--Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

[[Page 91403]]

PTPR--Public Transportation and Passenger Railroads
RSSM--Rail Security-Sensitive Materials
RTAs--Rail Transit Agencies
SMARToolbox--Security Measures and Resources Toolbox
SSI--Sensitive Security Information
SSO--State Safety Oversight
STB--Surface Transportation Board
TSA--Transportation Security Administration
TSGP--Transit Security Grant Program
T-START--Transportation Security Template and Assessment Review 
TWIC--Transportation Worker Identification Credential
UASI--Urban Area Security Initiative
VASP--Vulnerability Assessments and Security Plans

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Background
    A. Surface Transportation
    B. TSA's Role and Responsibility
    C. The 9/11 Act
    D. Applicability
III. Rulemaking Context
    A. Grant Programs
    B. Intermodal Security Training and Exercise Program
    C. Department of Transportation Regulations
    1. Hazardous Material Regulations
    2. Transit Safety and Security
    3. Emergency Preparedness Plans
    D. 17 Security and Emergency Action Items
    E. Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement Program
    F. Transportation Security Template and Assessment Review 
    G. Security Measures and Resources Toolbox
    H. Terrorism Risk Analysis and Security Management Plan 
Developed by the Association of American Railroads
    I. Best Practices Developed by the American Public 
Transportation Association
    J. Security and Emergency Preparedness Plans
IV. Assessments
    A. General
    B. Assessments of Security Systems and Operations
    C. Identifying Performance Standards for Assessments of Security 
Systems and Operations
    D. Determination of Critical Assets and Infrastructure
    E. Identifying Performance Standards for Assessments of Critical 
Assets and Infrastructure
V. Security Plans
    A. Identifying Performance Standards for Security Plans
    B. Tools and Other Resources
    C. Risk-Reduction or Mitigation Measures
VI. Drills and Exercises
VII. Updates
VII. Accountable Executive
IX. Considerations for Small Owner/Operators
X. Estimating the Benefits and Costs of Requirements
XI. Next Steps and Public Participation

I. Introduction

    This ANPRM is part of a series of rulemakings applicable to public 
transportation and passenger railroads (PTPR) systems, freight 
railroads, and OTRBs to comply with requirements of the 9/11 Act.\2\ 
The 9/11 Act requires TSA to promulgate regulations involving: (1) 
Security training of frontline employees,\3\ (2) vulnerability 
assessments and security plans,\4\ and (3) employee vetting.\5\

    \2\ Public Law 110-53, 121 Stat. 266 (Aug. 3, 2007).
    \3\ Id. secs. 1408, 1517, and 1534. For a discussion regarding 
the applicability of the 9/11 Act to these proposed rules, see 
Section II of this ANPRM.
    \4\ 9/11 Act secs. 1405, 1512, and 1531. See also Section II of 
this ANPRM.
    \5\ 9/11 Act secs. 1411, 1520, and 1531(e)(2). See also Section 
II of this ANPRM.

    This ANPRM is limited to the requirements for VASP regulations. 
Through this ANPRM, TSA is seeking comments on: (1) Requirements for 
vulnerability assessments of security systems and operations and 
critical assets/infrastructure, (2) requirements for security plans, 
and (3) resources or other required programs that TSA should consider 
as relevant for meeting these requirements. Knowledgeable and 
constructive input from railroads, public transportation agencies, OTRB 
operators, their representative associations, labor unions, state and 
local governments, and the general public who rely on these systems is 
critical for developing a regulation with the proper balance between 
costs and benefits.
    By imposing VASP requirements on higher-risk railroads, public 
transportation agencies, and OTRBs, this rulemaking should establish a 
uniform base of vulnerability assessments and security plans for 
security systems and operations, as well as critical assets and/or 
infrastructure that these owner/operators may own or control.
    TSA believes the VASP regulations should consider current 
voluntarily implemented security measures and operational issues in 
establishing performance standards for compliance. To that end, TSA is 
seeking specific information to assist in developing effective 
regulatory policies, resources for implementation, and valid cost 
estimates. To provide context for the questions, this ANPRM is 
organized to include requests for comment immediately following 
discussions of the relevant issues.
    TSA is requesting public comment and data to assist in identifying 
the current baseline in order to determine the incremental cost of 
compliance with the assessment and planning elements required by the 9/
11 Act. In general, TSA is particularly interested in data from surface 
transportation owner/operators who currently have security plans 
specifically based on a vulnerability or similar assessment. For 
example, TSA needs data on the cost of conducting an assessment (if not 
conducted by TSA), cost of developing a security plan, and the types 
and cost of risk-reduction or mitigation measures. While TSA has 
gathered significant information in these areas as part of its ongoing 
rulemaking efforts, there are some areas where it would be helpful to 
validate cost elements and ensure our understanding of the existing 
baseline is current. The requests for comment seek information to close 
these information gaps.
    As discussed below, TSA is concerned about the impact of this 
regulation based on the diversity of surface transportation owner/
operators, which could include large (national) companies, publicly 
owned systems, and small businesses. While not required, TSA asks 
commenters to include information regarding the nature and size of the 
business. Information on the nature of the business operation of the 
person commenting will help TSA better understand and analyze the 
information provided. Failure to include this specific information will 
not preclude the agency's consideration of the information submitted.

II. Background

A. Surface Transportation

    The surface transportation rules required by the 9/11 Act must 
address a decentralized, diffuse, complex, and evolving terrorist 
threat in the context of an inherently open and diverse transportation 
system. The U.S. surface transportation network is immense, consisting 
of public transportation systems, passenger and freight railroads, 
highways, motor carrier operators, pipelines, and maritime facilities. 
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NY MTA) alone 
transports over 11 million passengers daily and represents just one of 
the more than 6,800 U.S. public transit agencies for which TSA has 
oversight, ranging from very small bus-only systems in rural areas to 
very large multi-modal systems in urban areas like the NY MTA. More 
than 500 individual freight railroads operate on nearly 140 thousand 
miles of track carrying essential goods. Eight million large capacity 
commercial trucks and almost 4 thousand commercial bus companies travel 
on the

[[Page 91404]]

4 million miles of roadway in the United States and on more than 600 
thousand highway bridges and through 350 tunnels greater than 300 feet 
in length. Surface transportation operators carry approximately 750 
million intercity bus passengers and 10 billion passenger trips on 
public transportation each year. Securing such diverse surface 
transportation systems in a society that depends upon the free movement 
of people and commerce is a complex undertaking that requires extensive 
collaboration with surface transportation operators.
    Unlike the aviation mode of transportation, direct responsibility 
to secure surface transportation systems falls primarily on the system 
owners and operators. In further contrast to aviation, surface 
transportation systems are, by nature, open systems. Surface 
transportation systems can be national and privately held companies, 
public transportation systems owned and operated by the government, or 
a family-owned business with two buses. Regardless of the size of the 
business, surface transportation owner/operators are in the best 
position to know their facilities and their operational challenges. As 
a whole, these owner/operators have spent billions of dollars of their 
own funds to secure critical infrastructure, provide uniformed law 
enforcement and specialty security teams, and conduct operational 
activities and deterrence efforts.
    Security and emergency response planning is not new to surface 
transportation owner/operators; they have been working under DOT \6\ 
and DHS \7\ regulations. Although DOT's regulations relate primarily to 
safety, many safety activities and programs also benefit security and 
help to reduce risk. In the surface environment, TSA has built upon 
these standards to improve security programs with minimal regulations.

    \6\ For example, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety 
Administration regulates the transportation of hazardous materials 
in commerce, including requirements for safety and security training 
and for security planning (49 CFR parts 171-180); the Federal 
Railroad Administration regulates passenger train emergency 
preparedness (49 CFR parts 200-299); and the Federal Transit 
Administration requires system safety programs for rail transit 
agencies (49 CFR part 659).
    \7\ For example, the Transportation Worker Identification 
Credential (TWIC) program is a TSA and U.S. Coast Guard initiative 
in the United States. For more information, see https://www.tsa.gov/for-industry/twic. A TWIC is required for workers who need access to 
secure areas of the nation's maritime facilities and vessels. TSA 
conducts a security threat assessment (background check) to 
determine a person's eligibility and issues the credential. U.S. 
citizens and immigrants in certain immigration categories may apply 
for the credential. Most mariners licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard 
also require a credential. See 49 CFR part 1572. The National 
Protection and Programs Directorate of DHS regulates the security of 
certain high-risk chemical facilities in the United States. See 6 
CFR part 27.

B. TSA's Role and Responsibility

    TSA is responsible for assessing security risks for any mode of 
transportation, developing appropriate security measures for dealing 
with those risks, and ensuring implementation of those measures.\8\ 
Assessments include analysis of intelligence information and on-site 
reviews of transportation systems and operations. TSA works 
collaboratively with its surface stakeholders to enhance information 
sharing and develop security measures and best practices appropriate 
for the operational environment. DHS provides funding to support 
information sharing and implementation of security measures. This 
funding supports information sharing and analysis centers (ISACs) that 
facilitate threat warning and incident reporting for railroads, public 
transportation systems, and over-the-road buses. In addition, TSA works 
with DHS to develop and implement a risk-based determination for 
allocation of Federal grant funds. Eligible surface transportation 
owner/operators can supplement their own investment in security, using 
this funding to identify and mitigate operational vulnerabilities.

    \8\ See 49 U.S.C. 114(d) and (f), codifying provisions of the 
Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), Public Law 107-71, 
115 Stat. 597 (Nov. 19, 2001). ATSA created TSA and made it the 
primary federal agency responsible to enhance security for all modes 
of transportation. Section 403(2) of the Homeland Security Act of 
2002 (HSA), Public Law 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135 (Nov. 25, 2002), 
transferred all functions related to transportation security, 
including those of the Secretary of Transportation and the Under 
Secretary of Transportation for Security related to TSA, to the 
Secretary of Homeland Security. Pursuant to DHS, ``Delegation to the 
Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration,'' 
Delegation Number 7060.2 (Nov. 5, 2003), the Secretary delegated to 
the Administrator, subject to the Secretary's guidance and control, 
the authority vested in the Secretary with respect to TSA, including 
that in sec. 403(2) of the HSA.

    TSA can also ensure implementation through promulgation of 
regulations.\9\ For example, the Rail Transportation Security 
regulation (published in 2008 and codified at 49 CFR part 1580) 
requires all rail systems (freight, passenger, and public 
transportation) to appoint rail security coordinators \10\ and report 
significant security concerns to TSA through the Transportation 
Security Operations Center (located at the ``Freedom Center'').\11\ In 
addition, freight railroads are required to report (upon request by 
TSA) the location and shipping information for rail cars containing 
certain hazardous materials and provide ``chain of custody'' to ensure 
security of those materials when transported through high-risk 

    \9\ 49 U.S.C. 114(l)(1).
    \10\ 49 CFR 1580.101 and 1580.201.
    \11\ 49 CFR 1580.105 and 1580.203.
    \12\ 49 CFR 1580.107.

C. The 9/11 Act

    The 9/11 Act includes numerous mandates related to surface 
transportation security. These requirements include development of 
security strategies, reporting on implementation, information sharing, 
civil penalties, Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams, 
security assessments, grant programs for security enhancements, a 
national security exercise program, background check programs, 
protection for employees reporting security violations, public outreach 
campaigns, and studies on particular hazards and threats.\13\

    \13\ See 9/11 Act, at Title XII (Transportation Security 
Planning and Information Sharing), Title XIII (Transportation 
Security Enhancements), Title XIV (Public Transportation Security), 
and Title XV (Surface Transportation Security).

    As previously noted, the 9/11 Act also mandates that TSA require 
VASP for higher-risk public transportation agencies, railroads, and 
OTRBs; security training of their frontline employees; and, employee 
background checks.\14\ TSA is addressing these requirements in three 
separate, but related, rulemakings.\15\ The docket for this ANPRM 
includes a table aligning the statutory provisions for VASP across the 
three modes (public transportation, railroads, and OTRBs).

    \14\ See 9/11 Act secs. 1405, 1512, and 1531 for VASP 
requirements; secs. 1408, 1517, and 1534 for employee security 
training requirements; and secs. 1411 and 1520 for employee vetting 
requirements. The statutory mandates for VASP in secs. 1512, and 
1531 also include a requirement to conduct security threat 
assessments of security coordinators.
    \15\ TSA published an NPRM to implement requirements related to 
employee security training, titled ``Security Training Programs for 
Surface Transportation Employees,'' published elsewhere in this 
issue of the Federal Register. TSA will address requirements for 
employee vetting in a separate NPRM. See Fall 2016 Unified Agenda, 
RIN 1652-AA69.

D. Applicability

    For purposes of this ANPRM, TSA is limiting the scope of its 
request for comments related to applicability. As previously noted, the 
VASP rulemaking is part of a series of rulemakings to implement 
requirements of the 9/11 Act. As the first of these rulemakings 
published by TSA, the Security Training NPRM provides the general 
structure, including proposed applicability and the framework for a 
regulatory program. TSA intends for the applicability proposed in the 
Security Training NPRM to apply generally to the three

[[Page 91405]]

related rulemakings.\16\ In other words, the higher-risk PTPR, freight 
railroad, and OTRB owner/operators required to have a security-training 
program (surface owner/operators) would also be required to conduct 
vulnerability assessments, implement security plans, and implement 
requirements for employee vetting (security threat assessments).

    \16\ The Security Training NPRM incorporates all of requirements 
in current 49 CFR part 1580. The rail operations subject to the 
requirements in current part 1580 is broader than the proposed 
applicability for rail operations in the Security Training NPRM. To 
the extent an owner/operator must comply with requirements in 
current part 1580, applicability proposed in the Security Training 
NPRM would not affect that obligation. For example, if a railroad is 
required to have a security coordinator under current part 1580, but 
is not within the scope of proposed applicability for security 
training, they must still have a security coordinator. TSA 
anticipates capturing this additional security coordinator 
population in the related rulemaking for vetting requirements, 
consistent with the 9/11 Act's requirement to conduct security 
threat assessments of all security coordinators. See 9/11 Act secs. 
1512(e)(2) and 1531(e)(2).

    Consistent with the proposed applicability for the Security 
Training NPRM, TSA assumes the VASP requirements would apply to--
     Class 1 railroads (as assigned by regulations of the 
Surface Transportation Board (STB) (49 CFR part 1201; General 
Instructions 1-1);
     Railroads transporting rail security-sensitive materials 
(RSSM) \17\ in a high-threat urban area (HTUA);

    \17\ See definition in proposed 49 CFR 1580.3 of the Security 
Training NPRM, which is consistent with the definition in current 49 
CFR 1580.100(b).

     Railroads hosting higher-risk rail operations (including 
freight railroads and the intercity or commuter systems);
     PTPR systems identified as higher-risk operating in one of 
the following eight regions (geographically consistent with 
designations under the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)): San 
Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles/Long Beach and Anaheim/Santa Ana areas, 
National Capital Region and Baltimore areas, Atlanta area, Chicago 
area, Boston area, New York City and Jersey City/Newark areas, and 
Philadelphia area;
     Amtrak (the Security Training NPRM includes a list of 
systems); and
     OTRB owner/operators providing fixed-route service to, 
through, or from one of the following areas (geographically consistent 
with designations under the UASI): Anaheim/Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa 
Ana areas, San Diego area, San Francisco Bay area, National Capital 
Region, Boston area, New York City/Jersey City/Newark area, 
Philadelphia area/Southern New Jersey area, Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington 
area, Chicago area, and Houston area.
    As TSA has included a full discussion of the proposed and 
alternative applicability options in the Security Training NPRM, as 
well as an opportunity to comment, that discussion is not duplicated as 
part of this ANPRM. Later in this ANPRM, however, a specific request 
for comments is included for the impact on small businesses. TSA will 
consider all comments received on this ANPRM.

III. Rulemaking Context

    The baseline of security for surface transportation has been 
substantially enhanced since the 9/11 Act was enacted through programs 
(including some required by the 9/11 Act), and the cooperative and 
collaborative relationship between TSA and the surface transportation 
industry. These relationships have led to enhanced security through 
development of best practices, sharing of information (both reporting 
of security-related incidents by the industry, intelligence sharing by 
the government, and other efforts such as the ISACs), and security 
programs and measures to strengthen and enhance the security of surface 
transportation networks.
    The VASP regulations will be part of this broad and sustained 
effort to develop and maintain an enhanced security baseline for 
surface transportation as well as strengthening the security of 
nationally significant critical assets. Understanding the scope of 
these efforts is essential to this rulemaking as the 9/11 Act 
specifically authorizes TSA to recognize existing procedures, 
protocols, and standards that can be used to meet all or part of the 
regulatory requirements for assessments and planning.\18\ Additional 
information on a few of these programs is provided below.

    \18\ See 9/11 Act secs. 1405(i), 1512(j), and 1531(i).

A. Grant Programs

    The 9/11 Act authorized funding for surface security enhancements 
specifically for PTPR, freight railroads, and OTRB owner/operators.\19\ 
To the extent funds are appropriated for this purpose, TSA provides the 
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with subject matter 
expertise, assisting in the development of risk determinations, review 
of investment justifications, and other aspects of the surface 
transportation security grant programs. These grants support surface 
transportation risk-reduction or mitigation measures by applying 
Federal funding to critical security projects. Between fiscal years 
(FYs) 2006 and 2016, DHS awarded more than $2.4 billion in 
transportation security grant funding to freight railroad carriers and 
operators, OTRB operators, the trucking community, and public mass 
transit owners and operators, including Amtrak, and their dedicated law 
enforcement providers. Congress appropriated $100 million in FY 2016, 
from which DHS awarded $87 million for mass transit, $10 million for 
passenger rail, and $3 million for motor coach security grants.

    \19\ See 9/11 Act secs. 1406(a)(2) (public transportation 
security assistance), 1513(a)(2) (railroads), 1514(b) (Amtrak), and 
1532(f)(1) (OTRBs).

    TSA assumes surface transportation owner/operators will incorporate 
security measures and other security enhancements funded by these grant 
programs into security programs complying with the regulatory 
requirements mandated by the 9/11 Act. This assumption recognizes 
requirements in the authorizing statutes for these grant programs, 
which all prioritized funding for meeting 9/11 Act requirements for 
security training, assessments, and planning.

B. Intermodal Security Training and Exercise Program

    The 9/11 Act also required development of a security exercise 
program to ``assess[ ] and improv[e] the capabilities'' of surface 
modes ``to prevent, prepare for, mitigate against, respond to, and 
recover from acts of terrorism.'' \20\ TSA implemented this requirement 
through the Intermodal Security Training and Exercise Program (I-STEP). 
I-STEP brings public and private sector partners together to exercise, 
train, share information, and address transportation security issues to 
protect travelers, commerce, and infrastructure. Through the program, 
TSA facilitates modal and intermodal exercises and workshops throughout 
the country. The program also provides training support to help modal 
operators meet their training objectives. The Exercise Information 
System (EXIS) is an online tool developed by TSA, which leverages the 
concept of I-STEP in support of all operators, but particularly those 
operators that may be less competitive for I-STEP exercises because 
they are lower risk systems.

    \20\ See 9/11 Act secs. 1407, 1516 and 1533. See also sec. 114 
of the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006 (SAFE 
Port Act), Public Law 109-347, 120 Stat. 1884, 1896-97 (Oct. 13, 

C. Department of Transportation Regulations

1. Hazardous Material Regulations
    DOT modes also have regulatory programs that may be relevant to

[[Page 91406]]

meeting VASP requirements. For example, every freight railroad 
transporting at least one of the hazardous materials that trigger 
applicability under 49 CFR part 172 (known as the Hazardous Materials 
Regulations (HMR)) is required to have and adhere to a security plan. 
While the security plan requirements of the HMR may not be identical to 
the requirements in the 9/11 Act, TSA anticipates that freight railroad 
owner/operators may be able to use plans developed and implemented 
under the HMR to satisfy a portion of TSA's VASP regulations.
2. Transit Safety and Security
    The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has responsibility for 
managing State oversight for rail transit agencies (RTAs). Under 49 CFR 
part 659, State Oversight Agencies (SOAs) must require the rail transit 
agencies to develop and implement a written system safety program plan 
and system security plan that complies with requirements in 49 CFR part 
    Part 659 requires SOAs to approve and annually review the rail 
transit agency system safety and security plans. Moreover, the SOAs 
must require covered agencies to develop and document a process for the 
performance of ongoing internal safety and security reviews as part of 
their plans. Finally, the SOAs themselves must conduct on-site reviews 
of system safety program plan and system security plan implementation.
    The FTA has announced its intent to rescind part 659.\21\ On March 
16, 2016, the FTA published a safety-focused final rule, adding part 
674 to their regulations to supersede part 659.\22\ The safety 
requirements of part 674 took effect April 15, 2016. The FTA has stated 
its intent to rescind the security requirements in part 659 no later 
than April 15, 2019,\23\ noting TSA's responsibility for rulemakings 
related to security of public transportation.\24\ It also noted that 
RTAs may continue to implement measures to secure their operations and 
assets, but it is no longer the requirement of the SOAs to oversee 
those measures.\25\

    \21\ See 81 FR 14230 (Mar. 16, 2016) (adding part 674 to title 
49 of the CFR).
    \22\ Id.
    \23\ Id.
    \24\ Id. at 14233.
    \25\ Id.

    The security measures that RTAs have implemented because of 
requirements under part 659 may be similar to what TSA proposes within 
the parameters set by the 9/11 Act. As with freight rail, TSA 
anticipates that PTPR owner/operators may be able to use plans 
developed and implemented under these DOT regulatory requirements to 
satisfy a portion of TSA's VASP regulations.
3. Emergency Preparedness Plans
    The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) safety standards require 
emergency preparedness plans by railroads connected with the operation 
of passenger trains (including freight carriers hosting passenger rail 
operations). Under 49 CFR part 239, these railroads must implement 
emergency preparedness plans that include: Communication measures 
(including notification to on-board crewmembers and passengers about 
the nature of the emergency and control center personnel of outside 
emergency responders and adjacent rail modes of transportation); 
passenger evacuation in emergency situations; employee training and 
qualification; joint operations; tunnel safety; liaison with emergency 
responders; on-board emergency equipment; and, passenger safety 
information. In the Security Training NPRM, TSA proposes to allow 
training required by 49 CFR 239.101(a)(2) to be combined with other 
training in order to partially or fully meet requirements under Sec.  
1580.115(f) or Sec.  1582.115(f) of that NPRM.\26\ TSA expects that 
portions of the emergency response plans developed under part 239 could 
be equally relevant for satisfying some of the VASP requirements.

    \26\ Titled ``Security Training Programs for Surface 
Transportation Employees,'' published elsewhere in this issue of the 
Federal Register.

D. 17 Security and Emergency Action Items

    Following the events of September 11, 2001, FTA developed security 
and emergency preparedness resources and provided technical assistance 
to transit agencies across the United States, including the ``Top 20 
Security and Emergency Preparedness Action Items for Transit Agencies'' 
(published in 2003). In 2006, FTA and TSA collaborated to update and 
consolidate the FTA list into 17 Security and Emergency Preparedness 
Action Items for Transit Agencies (17 SAIs).
    In 2012, FTA and TSA revised the 17 SAIs to ensure alignment with 
changes TSA was implementing in its assessment program. These changes 
added cyber-security as a topic, replaced the color-coded Homeland 
Security Advisory System (HSAS) with the National Terrorism Advisory 
System (NTAS), and revised and highlighted the priorities of risk 
management and risk information gathering and analysis. All changes 
reflected consultation with the industry through TSA's Mass Transit 
Sector Coordinating Council, chaired by the American Public 
Transportation Association (APTA).
    The 17 SAIs reflect the high-level priority topics included in a 
security and emergency preparedness program, appropriately scaled to 
risk environment and operations. Table 1 identifies the current 17 

      Table 1--17 Security and Emergency Preparedness Action Items
Management and Accountability..........  1. Establish written system
                                          security programs (SSPs) and
                                          emergency management
                                          operations/response plans.
                                         2. Define roles and
                                          responsibilities for security
                                          and emergency preparedness.
                                         3. Ensure that operations and
                                          maintenance supervisors,
                                          forepersons, and managers are
                                          held accountable for security
                                          issues under their control.
                                         4. Coordinate security and
                                          emergency operations/response
                                          plan(s) with local and
                                          regional agencies.
Security and Emergency Response          5. Establish and maintain a
 Training.                                security and emergency
                                          training program.
National Terrorism Advisory System       6. Establish plans and
 (NTAS).                                  protocols to respond to the
                                          NTAS alert levels.
Public Awareness.......................  7. Implement and reinforce a
                                          public security and emergency
                                          awareness program.
Risk Management and Information Sharing  8. Establish and use a risk
                                          management process.
Risk Information Collection and Sharing  9. Establish and use an
                                          information sharing process
                                          for threat and intelligence
Drills and Exercises...................  10. Conduct tabletop exercises
                                          and functional drills.

[[Page 91407]]

Cybersecurity..........................  11. Develop a comprehensive
                                          cyber-security strategy.
Facility Security, Access Controls, and  12. Control access to security
 Background Investigations.               critical facilities with
                                          identification (ID) badges for
                                          all visitors, employees, and
                                         13. Conduct physical security
                                         14. Conduct background
                                          investigations of employees
                                          and contractors.
Document Control.......................  15. Control access to documents
                                          of security critical systems
                                          and facilities.
                                         16. Process for handling and
                                          access to SSI.
Security Program Audits................  17. Establish and conduct
                                          security program audits.

E. Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement Program

    In 2006, TSA established the BASE program, through which TSA 
inspectors conduct a thorough security assessment of public 
transportation agencies, passenger railroads, bus companies, and 
trucking companies. To conduct an assessment, inspectors ask a series 
of questions to develop a ``snapshot'' of current security measures 
(questions are slightly different for each mode). Within the relevant 
SAI categories, TSA applies numerical values to the level of 
implementation of an effective security measure. Final SAI scores 
quantify the entity's comprehensive transportation security posture.
    TSA collaborates with owner/operators to develop options that could 
help mitigate a security-related vulnerability relative to the industry 
standard and identifies resources that TSA or other areas of the 
Federal government can provide to support raising the security 
baseline. The results of these assessments inform TSA policies and 
development of best practices to align such policy and program 
priorities with industry-wide security weaknesses. For example, during 
the interaction with owner/operators as part of a BASE assessment, TSA 
obtains information about whether specific measures for addressing 
identified issues are feasible within the specific-type of operation. 
TSA uses this information to develop alternative tools to enhance 
security. As TSA identifies industry-wide security weaknesses, the 
information informs priorities, policies, and programs. For example, 
TSA has used BASE statistics to recommend funding priorities to FEMA in 
an effort to ensure allocation priorities are consistent with 
identified industry-wide security weaknesses in light of current risks. 
In 2007, TSA's review of the industry-wide scores in the training 
category of the BASE assessments indicated deficiencies. Based on this 
information, DHS prioritized frontline employee training within the 
Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP).
    In FY 2011, TSA's review of BASE scores and discussions with 
industry revealed deficiencies at nationally critical infrastructure 
assets that were not being addressed at all, or as quickly as they 
could be. TSA worked with FEMA to overhaul the TSGP framework to 
prioritize these assets (``Top Transit Asset List'') for funding 
through a wholly competitive process.\27\ DHS subsequently awarded over 
$565 million to protect critical infrastructure assets. This funding 
resulted in increased preventive security for over 80 percent of 
nationally critical infrastructure assets.

    \27\ See FEMA, ``FY 2012 Transit Security Grant Program,'' 
available at https://www.fema.gov/fy-2012-transit-security-grant-program.

    In addition, as an initial requirement for grant eligibility, 
applicants must validate they have an updated security plan based on a 
security assessment, such as the BASE. They then must align all 
requests for funding (investment justifications) with items identified 
in the security assessment or security plan.
    In FY 2015, TSA Inspectors completed 92 BASE assessments on mass 
transit and passenger rail agencies, of which 13 resulted in Gold 
Standard Awards for those entities achieving overall excellence in 
security program management. In 2012, TSA expanded the BASE program to 
the highway and motor carrier \28\ mode and has since conducted over 
400 reviews of highway and motor carrier operators, with 98 reviews 
conducted in FY 2015. On average, TSA conducts approximately 150 
reviews on mass transit and highway and motor carrier operators each 
year, with numerous reviews in various stages of completion for FY 

    \28\ See 77 FR 31632 (May 29, 2012) (60-day notice for 
Information Collection Request (ICR) for more information on 
expanding the BASE to highway and motor carrier transportation).

F. Transportation Security Template and Assessment Review Toolkit

    The Transportation Security Template and Assessment Review Toolkit 
(T-START) is a resource created by TSA to assist owner/operators in 
developing effective security practices and in the construction of a 
security plan. The current version of T-START incorporates the BASE 
assessment for the highway mode. It is available for small companies, 
political subdivisions, or governmental entities having ownership or 
control over large systems (such as school buses), and large companies 
with national coverage. T-START currently includes five modules that 
walk the owner/operator's representative through the process of 
understanding security management and risk, a tool for conducting 
assessments, identification of risk-reduction, or mitigation options 
through awareness of industry ``best practices'' and other options 
developed by TSA, and a template for developing a security plan, the 
final crucial step toward an effective security program. T-START is 
currently scoped to address highway transportation security issues.

G. Security Measures and Resources Toolbox

    The Security Measures and Resources Toolbox (SMARToolbox) is a 
resource to help surface transportation professionals identify relevant 
insights, security measures, and smart practices to increase their 
security baseline. The SMARToolbox is not a set of standards, rules, or 
regulations; rather, it is a compilation of smart security practices 
developed by industry, for industry across all modes of surface 
transportation. The heart of the SMARToolbox is a searchable, 
modifiable database of security measures identified by surface 
transportation professionals as valuable to their organization's 
operations. The SMARToolbox aligns security measures with category 
filters to allow for various searches by, among other things, mode, 
threat scenario, and core capability. TSA intends this database to be a 
resource for the industry to assess the value of implementing various 
security measures into transportation systems. To augment the 
usefulness of the security measures database, the SMARToolbox also 
offers resources designed to facilitate implementation of the measures 
(for example, implementation checklists and self-assessment functions).

[[Page 91408]]

H. Terrorism Risk Analysis and Security Management Plan Developed by 
the Association of American Railroads

    As an industry, the railroads have undertaken efforts to enhance 
the security and resiliency of the freight rail transportation system. 
In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the railroad industry 
worked closely with local, State, and Federal officials and used their 
own police forces; the railroads increased inspections and patrols, 
restricted access to key facilities, briefly suspended freight traffic 
in the New York City area, and changed certain operational practices as 
anti-terrorist measures.
    The Association of American Railroads (AAR) developed the Railroad 
Risk Analysis and Security Plan (AAR Plan) in April 2003 in response to 
the terrorist attacks, and as a proactive measure in collaboration with 
DHS to address perceived security vulnerabilities within the freight 
rail system. TSA anticipates that freight railroad owner/operators who 
have participated in this AAR initiative would use the results of those 
security assessments to expedite their compliance with the proposed 
requirements in the VASP regulations.
    The AAR created five critical action teams, each for a specific 
area of concern within the rail industry.\29\ The critical action teams 
examined and prioritized all railroad assets, vulnerabilities, and 
threats, and identified countermeasures. As part of the AAR Plan, the 
industry developed four threat-based alert levels, laying out 
progressively higher levels of action for the industry to implement in 
the event of certain security situations.

    \29\ These action teams focus on critical security issues for 
railroad systems, including hazardous materials, information 
technology, communications, and military movements.

    The AAR Plan provides an overall framework for industry-wide 
security measures while leaving the actual implementation up to each 
individual railroad carrier. Carriers used the plan as a guidance 
document to create security management plans for their respective 
company addressing their unique security concerns. The industry sees 
the AAR Plan as a living document reflecting changes in risk. As 
appropriate based on a continuous risk assessment process, they update 
and revise the plan.

I. Best Practices Developed by the American Public Transportation 

    APTA has instituted a Standards Development Program. Four working 
groups within the program have developed security oriented recommended 
practices for use by public transit agencies. The four working groups 
are focused on the following issues:

 Control and Communications Security;
 Emergency Management;
 Enterprise Cybersecurity; and
 Infrastructure & Systems Security.

    Through these working groups, APTA has published white papers and 
recommended practices.\30\

    \30\ More information on these standards can be found at http://www.apta.com/resources/standards/Pages/default.aspx.

J. Security and Emergency Preparedness Plans

    Both the commercial bus industry and public transportation agencies 
have created documents, which they named ``Security and Emergency 
Preparedness Plans (SEPP).'' Commercial OTRB companies created and 
distributed the OTRB SEPP in 2005. This document contained a proposed 
security assessment matrix and a template for creation of a company-
wide security plan. TSA used the SEPP as the foundation for the T-
START, discussed in section III.F.
    In 2008, APTA released a SEPP with recommended security practices 
for public transit agencies and guidance for the creation of agency 
security assessments and protective plans. Both of these resources 
optimize--within the constraints of time, cost, and operational 
effectiveness--the protection of employees and passengers.
    The SEPP meets several objectives: (1) Achieving a level of 
security performance and emergency readiness that meets or exceeds the 
needs of similarly-sized operations; (2) increasing and strengthening a 
company's involvement in safety and security; (3) developing and 
implementing an assessment program focused on improving physical 
security and emergency response; (4) expanding security awareness and 
emergency management training for employees, volunteers, first 
responders, and contractors, and (5) enhancing security and emergency 
preparedness coordination with applicable local, State, and Federal 

IV. Assessments

A. General

    The 9/11 Act's requirements for ``vulnerability assessments'' 
address both operations and assets. As shown in Diagram A, conducting 
such an assessment is a two-step process: (1) Assessments of security 
systems and operations and (2) assessments of critical assets.

[[Page 91409]]


    TSA understands that submitting information about weaknesses in 
security systems/operations and critical asset protection may raise 
concerns regarding the public availability of the information. Under 
TSA's regulations for SSI,\31\ all vulnerability assessments 
``directed, created, held, funded, or approved by'' TSA are SSI.\32\ 
Similar provisions apply to security programs or contingency plans 
``issued, established, required, received, or approved'' by TSA.\33\ 
Generally, access to SSI is strictly limited to those persons with a 
need to know, as defined in 49 CFR 1520.11, and to those persons to 
whom TSA grants specific access authorization under 49 CFR 1520.15. 
Pursuant to statute,\34\ there is limited access to specific SSI in 
Federal district court proceedings to civil litigants who do not 
otherwise have a need to know under part 1520. This requirement only 
affects TSA's application of its non-disclosure policy in civil 
proceedings in Federal district court; it does not affect TSA 
administrative, State, or other Federal proceedings.

    \31\ See 49 CFR part 1520.
    \32\ Id. at 1520.5(b)(5).
    \33\ Id. at 1520.5(b)(1).
    \34\ See Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 
2007, Public Law 109-295, sec. 525(d), 120 Stat. 1355 (Oct. 4, 
2006). Section 525 is uncodified, but Congress has reenacted the 
provisions in sec. 525(d) in each subsequent Department of Homeland 
Security Appropriations Act. Currently, the provision can be found 
at Public Law 114-113, div. F, sec. 510(a), 129 Stat. 2242, 2513 
(Dec. 18, 2015, continued to December 9, 2016), by the Continuing 
Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and 
Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, and Zika Response and 
Preparedness Act, Public Law 114-223, sec. 101(6) (Sept. 30, 2016).

B. Assessments of Security Systems and Operations

    A vulnerability assessment of security systems and operations is 
the foundation for an effective security program, including 
understanding the threat, identification of risk-reduction or 
mitigation measures, resource allocation decisions, employee training, 
drills and/or exercises to test preparedness and planning, and 
reassessments to determine areas for change or improvement. As noted in 
Diagram B, assessment is part of a cyclical process.

[[Page 91410]]


    Collecting and analyzing information on deficiencies and weaknesses 
is a critical first step in managing and mitigating risks as it enables 
surface owner/operators to detect and manage security vulnerabilities. 
As assessment results, current intelligence/threat and other relevant 
information, and after-action reports of drills/exercises is fed into 
the planning cycle, surface owner/operators can better direct resources 
towards effective risk management.

C. Identifying Performance Standards for Assessments of Security 
Systems and Operations

    TSA considers the BASE to be an important resource for developing 
the VASP regulations. The scope of the BASE program is fundamentally 
consistent with the 9/11 Act's requirements for assessments of security 
systems and operations.\35\ Using the categories identified in Table 1 
for the 17 SAIs, Table 2 crosswalks the categories for the 17 SAIs with 
the 9/11 Act's requirements for security assessments. In addition, the 
program and the assessment questions are familiar to many of the owner/
operators who may be subject to these regulations.\36\

    \35\ The current PTPR BASE is based on the 17 SAIs developed 
jointly by FTA and TSA. The highway BASE has 20 SAIs. In the past, 
TSA conducted Corporate Security Reviews (CSRs) for freight 
railroads, which were similar to the BASE. The CSR had fewer items. 
While the numbers may vary, the issues are generally the same (with 
the exception of some issues unique to a particular mode). 
Therefore, for purposes of this ANPRM, TSA will use 17 SAIs as a 
generic term for all of them.
    \36\ TSA is providing an appropriately detailed sample of 
questions in the docket for this rulemaking for commenters who are 
not familiar with the BASE.

 Table 2--Crosswalk Between 9/11 Act Assessment Requirements and 17 SAIs
          9/11 Act requirement                   17 SAIs category
Identification and evaluation of         Risk Management and Information
 emergency response planning and other    Sharing.
 vulnerabilities related to passenger/
 cargo security.
Identify weaknesses in emergency         Management and Accountability.
 response planning related to passenger/ National Terrorism Advisory
 cargo security.                          System (NTAS).
                                         Public Awareness Risk
                                          Information Collection and
Identify weaknesses in employee          Security and Emergency Response
 training and emergency response          Training.
 planning.                               Drills and Exercises.
Identification of weaknesses in the      Cybersecurity.
 security of programmable electronic
 devices, computers, or other automated
 systems; alarms, cameras, and other
 protection systems; and communication
 systems and utilities needed for
 security purposes.

[[Page 91411]]

Identification of vulnerabilities to     Facility Security, Access
 critical assets and infrastructure and   Controls, and Background
 weaknesses in physical security.         Investigations.

    While the questions used for a BASE assessment do not establish or 
identify performance standards, they could be the starting point for 
developing appropriate performance standards. For example, the 9/11 Act 
requires an assessment of strengths and weaknesses in emergency 
response planning. Currently, the BASE includes the following ``yes'' 
or ``no'' questions relevant to this requirement:
     Does the plan address personnel security, facility 
security, vehicle security, and Threat/Vulnerability Management?
     Does the plan include methods to identify and actively 
monitor the goals and objectives for the security program?
     Does the plan include a written policy statement that 
endorses and adopts the policies and procedures of the plan? Does top 
management, such as the agency's chief executive, approve and sign the 
     Does the plan address protection and response for critical 
     Does the plan clearly identify responsibilities (or 
reference other documents establishing procedures) for the management 
of security incidents by the operations control center (or dispatch 
center) or other formal process?
     Does the plan clearly identify (or reference other 
documents establishing) plans, procedures, or protocols for responding 
to security events with external agencies (such as law enforcement, 
local EMA, fire departments, etc.)?
     Has the owner/operator partnered with local law 
enforcement/first responders to develop active shooter procedures or 
     Does the security plan contain or reference other 
documents that establish procedures or protocols for responding to 
active shooter events?
     Does the security plan contain or reference other 
documents that establish protocols addressing specific threats from: 
(1) Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), and (2) Weapons of Mass 
Destruction (chemical, biological, radiological hazards)?
     Does the security plan integrate visible, random security 
measures, based on employee-type, to introduce unpredictability into 
security activities for deterrent effect?
     Does the security plan require consideration of security 
before implementation of extensions, major projects, new vehicles and 
equipment procurement, and other capital projects?
     Does the security plan include or reference other 
documents adopting Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design 
(CPTED) or similar security-focused preventive principles as part of 
the agency's engineering practices?
     Does the security plan require an annual review?
     Does the owner/operator produce periodic reports reviewing 
its progress in meeting its security plan goals and objectives?
     Has the company conducted, and documented, an annual 
review of the security plan within the preceding 12 months?
     Does the security plan outline a process for securing 
review for updates and necessary approval of updates to the security 
    Beginning with these ``yes'' or ``no'' questions, TSA could develop 
qualitative standards to help a surface owner/operator determine 
whether its security measure is weak, adequate, or strong based on how 
effective it is. Answers to those questions would help the surface 
owner/operator identify weaknesses in its security measures and inform 
development and prioritization of risk-reduction measures.
    For surface owner/operators that have conducted vulnerability 
assessments of security systems/operations, TSA seeks comment on the 
following questions:
    1. Have you conducted a vulnerability assessment of your security 
system/operations within the last three (3) years?
    2. If yes, did TSA conduct the assessment as part of the BASE 
program? If not TSA, did an independent auditor or company employees 
conduct the audit? How long did it to take to perform this assessment? 
How many individuals were involved in conducting the assessments 
(please provide information on the time and personnel costs for those 
essential to the assessment process, such as man-hours, permanent 
employees or contractor cost, etc.)?
    3. How frequently do you update assessments of security systems/
operations? Do you have internal or other requirements to update 
assessments? Are these requirements based on a schedule or changes to 
operations, assets and infrastructure, or threat information? How much 
time do these updates take?
    4. Was the assessment of security systems/operations site-specific, 
system-wide, or both?
    5. What resources or tools did you use for conducting your 
    6. What features of those resources or tools were most useful?
    7. If the evaluation assesses operational security processes, such 
as training and operations, what methodologies or criteria are used to 
evaluate these processes?
    8. What types of questions or other criteria were used to help 
identify strengths and weaknesses? Which of these were most relevant to 
your operations?
    9. Do you use the results of the assessment for developing security 
plans, or emergency response plans, continuity of operations plans, 
etc.? Please describe how the assessment is used.
    10. Was the assessment conducted in order to meet other Federal 
requirements (such as grant eligibility) or other standards? If so, 
please provide a description or source for those requirements or 
    11. How can other required assessments addressing security systems/
operations be used to satisfy TSA's regulatory requirements? For 
example, how relevant are FRA emergency preparedness requirements, 
PHMSA security plan requirements, and FTA's requirements? What 
standards should TSA use to determine if those plans meet TSA's 
    12. How could TSA ensure a surface owner/operator is in compliance 
with other agency requirements if it permits those measures to satisfy 
the requirements of TSA's regulation?
    13. What barriers and/or challenges to conducting this assessment 
did you encounter?

D. Determination of Critical Assets and Infrastructure

    As previously noted, the 9/11 Act requires a vulnerability 
assessment of critical assets/infrastructure. The statute does not 
provide criteria for determining whether an asset is

[[Page 91412]]

``critical.'' \37\ Depending on the criteria, TSA could either require 
surface owner/operators to self-determine critical assets/
infrastructure or inform surface owner/operators of a TSA-determination 
of criticality. The different approaches have significant impacts on 
the cost/benefits of vulnerability assessments, as well as the scope of 
required risk-reduction measures implemented as part of a security 

    \37\ The 9/11 Act includes a list of critical asset types to be 
considered, as appropriate, but does not describe the criteria that 
would make them ``critical.'' See 9/11 Act secs. 1405(a)(3)(A), 
1512(d)(1)(A), and 1531(d)(1)(A).

    Self-determination of critical assets would require surface owner/
operators to determine whether an asset is critical. Such a process 
would likely require owner/operators to first identify all of their 
assets (at least in the categories identified by the 9/11 Act) then use 
TSA-provided criteria to determine if any of those assets are critical. 
TSA would need to provide a tool or other measures to ensure consistent 
application of the criteria across all regulated parties.
    A self-determination approach to criticality is likely to capture 
assets that may be critical from a business perspective, but not 
necessarily critical from the perspective of national security. This is 
a significant cost issue as identification of critical assets carries 
with it the regulatory burden to conduct a vulnerability assessment of 
the asset and implement appropriate risk-reduction measures to address 
any identified vulnerabilities, even if the asset is not critical from 
a national security perspective.
    To address this concern, TSA could limit the requirement to 
``nationally critical assets and infrastructure'' as determined by TSA. 
This determination would begin with a definition of national 
criticality. While there have been many efforts to define critical 
infrastructure and refine lists of critical assets in order to apply 
the appropriate protective measures since the terrorist attacks of 9/
11. TSA finds the definition in Uniting and Strengthening America by 
Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct 
Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001 \38\ has particular resonance 
as it was developed within the context of protecting assets from 
terrorist attack:

    \38\ Public Law 107-56, 115 Stat. 272 (Oct. 26, 2001).

In this section, the term ``critical infrastructure'' means systems 
and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United 
States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets 
would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic 
security, national public health or safety, or any combination of 
those matters.\39\

    \39\ Id. at sec. 1016(e) (codified at 42 U.S.C. 5195c(e)).

This definition was adopted by reference in the Homeland Security Act 
of 2002 \40\ and is used for the definition of ``critical 
infrastructure'' in the Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on 
``Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience'' (PPD-21, issued 
Feb. 12, 2013) which replaces Homeland Security Presidential Directive 

    \40\ Public Law 107-296, sec. 2(4), 116 Stat. 2135, 2140 (Nov. 
25, 2002) (codified at 6 U.S.C. 101(4)).

    Within the scope of such a definition, TSA would need to consider 
the criteria necessary for identifying nationally critical assets. For 
purposes of identifying a list of ``nationally significant surface 
critical infrastructure,'' TSA has developed similar criteria in 
consultation with intelligence analysts and the industry. Such criteria 
consider location of the asset and the direct consequences of an act 
that incapacitates or destroys the asset.
    Other possible criteria for consideration include those developed 
under the National Critical Infrastructure Prioritization Program 
(NCIPP). Identification and prioritization of critical infrastructure 
for purposes of the NCIPP consider the destruction or disruption of 
infrastructure that could have catastrophic national or regional 
consequences. This determination provides the foundation for 
infrastructure protection and risk reduction programs and activities 
executed by DHS and its public and private sector partners. Table 3 
provides the considerations for Level 1 and Level 2 under the NCIPP.

                        Table 3--NCIPP Categories
                                                         Level 2 (all
                                     Level 1 (all      sectors excluding
             Impact                    sectors)         agriculture and
Casualties......................  Greater than 5000   Greater than 2500
                                   prompt fatalities.  prompt
Economic Consequences...........  Greater than $75    Greater than $25
                                   billion in first    billion in first
                                   year.               year.
Mass evacuations................  Prolonged absence   Prolonged absence
                                   of greater than 3   of greater than 1
                                   months.             month.
Security capabilities...........      Severe degradation of Nation's
                                       national security capabilities
                                     including intelligence and defense
                                     functions, but excluding military

    For purposes of this rulemaking, surface owner/operators would only 
be notified if they owned or controlled an asset identified by TSA as 
nationally significant. For example, surface owner/operators may not 
own or have any operational control over the stations, terminals, or 
bridges they use for their operations.\41\

    \41\ Notwithstanding its authority to regulate all aspects of 
the transportation system, there are no current plans to apply the 
requirements to entities not identified as surface owner/operators 
in the Security Training NPRM.

    But TSA also recognizes that lack of ownership or control does not 
obviate the need to consider security. Operations of a surface owner/
operator may rely on transportation infrastructure at risk based on its 
iconic significance. That risk could also apply to those who use it. 
While the surface owner/operator may not be able to reduce the risk for 
the asset, it can take measures to reduce the risk for its system when 
using that asset.
    TSA seeks comments on the following questions:
    14. Should TSA use other standards to determine criticality? If so, 
please provide alternative standards.
    15. If alternative standards were provided in response to Question 
14, what types of assets or infrastructure would be determined as 
critical using the alternative standards? Answers containing SSI should 
be submitted according to the directions under SUPPLEMENTARY 
    16. Would the alternative standards provided in response to 
Question 14 result in a criticality designation for any or all of the 
assets and infrastructure identified in secs. 1512(d)(1)(A) and 
1531(d)(1(A) of the 9/11 Act? See docket for this rulemaking for a 
table that aligns

[[Page 91413]]

the 9/11 Act's requirements across the three modes.
    17. If TSA were to adopt a broader list of assets and 
infrastructure--such as all of those identified in secs. 1512(d)(1)(A) 
or 1531(d)(1)(A) of the 9/11 Act--are some inappropriate for inclusion 
because the cost associated with assessments and planning would result 
in a corresponding benefit to surface transportation security? Are 
there some that are rarely, if ever, under the ownership or control of 
the owner/operators that would be subject to the rule's requirements?
    18. What type of information and technical assistance would you 
need from TSA to facilitate conducting a vulnerability assessment?
    For entities currently conducting self-determinations of critical 
assets and infrastructure, TSA seeks comments on the following 
    19. How do you make the determination of criticality? For example, 
should TSA use criteria such as traffic volume (such as ton-miles over 
or through, passenger trains, daily ridership, and/or number of 
shipments) or some other criteria associated with network criticality?
    20. What is the cost of this process (how many hours, permanent 
employee or contractor, are required, etc.)?
    21. Do you use the determination of criticality for development of 
general continuity of operations plans?

E. Identifying Performance Standards for Assessments of Critical Assets 
and Infrastructure

    While there are many ways to complete an intelligence driven, risk-
based vulnerability assessment for critical assets, they all rely on 
some form of subjective ranking system to identify and evaluate 
specified strengths and weaknesses. For example, a surface owner/
operator could prioritize the threats relative to the asset as highly 
likely, somewhat likely, possible, unlikely, or improbable. Such owner/
operator could then rate vulnerabilities (perhaps on a scale from very 
low to high), based on subjective decisions regarding how easy it would 
be to exploit that vulnerability given current operations. The owner/
operator could also rate the consequence based on the type of threat. 
Combining all three ratings into an overall risk score helps identify 
the greatest risks in order to focus energies and limited resources on 
related vulnerabilities.
    TSA is seeking information on appropriate resources that can inform 
development of performance standards for vulnerability assessments. 
Known resources include DHS tools, such as the framework of the 
Integrated Rapid Visual Screening (IRVS); issues addressed in questions 
related to asset protection that are part of a BASE assessment; and 
standards developed by the American Public Transportation Association 
    For surface owner/operators that have conducted vulnerability 
assessments of critical assets and infrastructure, TSA seeks comments 
on the following questions:
    22. Did you perform the vulnerability assessment on specific 
assets? If so, what assets? What criteria did you use to determine 
which assets to assess?
    23. How long did it to take to perform this assessment? How many 
individuals were involved in conducting the assessments? Please provide 
information on the time and personnel costs for those essential to the 
assessment process, such as man-hours, permanent employees or 
contractor cost, etc.
    24. Do you use the results of the vulnerability assessment for 
developing security plans, or emergency response plans, continuity of 
operations plans, etc.? Please describe how the assessment is used.
    25. How frequently do you update vulnerability assessments? Do you 
have internal or other requirements to update assessments? Are these 
requirements based on a schedule or changes to operations, assets and 
infrastructure, or threat information?
    26. Did you perform the vulnerability assessment in order to meet 
other Federal requirements (such as grant eligibility) or other 
standards? If so, please provide a description or source for those 
requirements or standards.
    27. How can other required assessments be used to satisfy TSA's 
regulatory requirements? For example, how relevant are FRA emergency 
preparedness requirements or other DOT-modal requirements? What 
standards should TSA use to determine if that assessment meets TSA's 
    28. How could TSA ensure a surface owner/operator is complying with 
other regulatory requirements if it permits actions taken under those 
requirements to satisfy a TSA regulation? For example, if a passenger 
railroad is required to develop and implement emergency evacuation 
planning under 49 CFR part 239 and wants to use that planning to 
satisfy a requirement that may be in the final VASP rule, how would TSA 
know whether the railroad is, in fact, complying with requirements 
imposed by the FRA? The fact that the FRA has not penalized an owner/
operator for non-compliance is not a guarantee that the owner/operator 
is complying with the FRA requirements.
    29. What barriers and/or challenges to conducting this assessment 
did you encounter?

V. Security Plans

    Regulations imposing security plan requirements have a direct 
impact on operations. Thus, any rulemaking effort must recognize that 
measures beneficial to security may have a negative impact on 
operations. The purpose of this ANPRM is to solicit the input and data 
necessary for TSA to develop a proposed rule that ensures the level of 
security intended by the 9/11 Act without having an unintended impact 
on operations.

A. Identifying Performance Standards for Security Plans

    For purposes of this ANPRM, TSA has grouped the 9/11 Act's specific 
requirements for security plans into the following categories:

     Results of security and vulnerability assessments and list 
of capital and operational improvements necessary to address identified 
     Specific procedures to be implemented or used to prevent 
and detect unauthorized access to restricted areas designated by the 
     Identification of measures to be implemented in response 
to emergencies or periods of heightened security, including--
    [cir] A coordinated response plan that establishes procedures for 
appropriate interaction with State, local, and tribal law enforcement 
agencies, emergency responders, and Federal officials in order to 
coordinate security measures and plans for response in the event of a 
terrorist threat, attack, or other transportation security-related 
    [cir] Specific procedures to be implemented or used by the owner/
operator in response to a terrorist attack, including evacuation and 
communication plans that include individuals with disabilities; and
    [cir] Additional measures to be adopted to address weaknesses in 
incident management identified during reviews, drills, or exercises 
testing emergency response.
     Identification of any redundant and backup systems that 
the owner/operator will use to ensure the continuity of operations of 
critical assets and infrastructure in the event of a terrorist attack 
or other transportation security-related incident.
    As previously noted in Table 2, there is a correlation between the 
17 SAIs and the 9/11 Act's requirements. As with the security 
assessment (covering security

[[Page 91414]]

systems and operations), the quantitative questions used in the BASE 
could be used as a starting point for developing qualitative 
performance standards for security plans.
    For surface owner/operators that have security plans, TSA seeks 
comments on the following questions:
    30. Does your security plan address the issues discussed at the 
beginning of this section?
    31. Is your security plan site-specific, system or corporate-wide, 
or both?
    32. Did you use a vulnerability or similar assessment (BASE or 
other) to develop a security plan? If not BASE, please describe the 
assessment. If so, what is the process for incorporating the results 
into your planning process and development of risk-reduction or 
mitigation measures (or investment justifications for grant purposes)? 
What levels of management are involved in reviewing the results of the 
assessment and making decisions regarding security planning related to 
those results?
    33. How long did it to take to develop the security plan? How many 
individuals were involved in the planning process? Please provide 
information on the time and personnel costs for those essential to the 
planning process, including man-hours, permanent employee and/or 
contractor cost, etc.
    34. How frequently do you update your security plan? Do you have 
internal requirements to update plans based on a schedule or changes to 
operations, assets and infrastructure, or threat information?
    35. Does your security plan exist in order to meet other Federal 
requirements (such as grant eligibility) or other standards? If so, 
please provide a description or source for those requirements or 
    36. How can other required plans be used to satisfy TSA regulatory 
requirements? For example, how relevant are FRA emergency preparedness 
requirements, PHMSA security plan requirements, and FTA's requirements? 
What standards should TSA use to determine if those plans meet TSA's 
    37. How could TSA ensure a surface owner/operator is in compliance 
with other agency requirements if it permits those measures to satisfy 
the requirements of TSA's regulation?
    38. What barriers or challenges to developing and implementing a 
security plan did you encounter?

B. Tools and Other Resources

    TSA is considering modifying T-START to provide a resource to 
owner/operators subject to the VASP regulations. As discussed in 
section III.F of this ANPRM, T-START currently includes several modules 
that cover the assessment and planning cycle for the highway mode. The 
revised T-START would include modules consistent with requirements TSA 
incorporates into a final VASP rule and be applicable to PTPR and 
freight railroads, with modules that are relevant to the specific type 
of operation. TSA would provide this tool at no cost to surface owner/
operators. For those not within the scope of applicability, T-START 
would provide guidance to them for conducting assessments and 
developing plans.\42\

    \42\ The 9/11 Act requires TSA to provide guidance to owner/
operators not within the high-risk tier. See 9/11 Act secs. 
1512(b)(1) and 1531(b)(1).

    TSA seeks comments on the following questions:
    39. Have you used T-START to conduct assessments or develop a 
security plan?
    40. What features of T-START or other resources or tools were most 
    41. Did the availability of T-START or other similar resources 
reduce the time necessary to conduct assessments or develop security 
plans? If so, please provide an estimate of the savings in time and 
    42. What other types of information, tools, and/or technical 
assistance could TSA provide to facilitate compliance with the VASP 
regulation? If you identified barriers or challenges in conducting 
vulnerability assessments or developing/implementing security plans in 
response to questions 13, 29, and/or 38, please provide specific 
suggestions on how TSA could provide information, tools, or other 
technical assistance in overcoming those barriers and/or challenges.
    43. If you have not used T-START, please describe the programs, 
tools, or resources you have used.
    44. Are there assessment/planning tools or resources that TSA 
should consider as relevant for developing the VASP proposed rule? If 
so, please provide names and sources.

C. Risk-Reduction or Mitigation Measures

    As previously noted, the 9/11 Act specifies that security plans 
must include results of security and vulnerability assessments and list 
of capital and operational improvements necessary to address identified 
    TSA seeks comments on the following questions:
    45. What security measures have owner/operators implemented to 
address weaknesses in either security of systems/operations or security 
of critical assets relevant to the requirements of the 9/11 Act (for 
example, measures to strengthen security of systems/operations and 

     Table 4--List of Possible Risk-Reduction or Mitigation Measures
Cameras (please provide information on   Speakers (public address
 the brand, model, requirement, etc.).    systems or emergency
                                          communication systems).
Employee background checks.............  Access control (such as Jersey
                                          barriers, automated gates,
Lighting...............................  Dedicated law enforcement or
                                          other security personnel.
ID card reader/badging systems.........  Signage.
Screening technologies (such as metal    Intrusion detection systems.
 detectors, random baggage checks,
Canine teams...........................  Other (specify measure).

    46. What data can you provide on the cost of purchase, 
implementation, and on-going maintenance of these measures, as 
appropriate? If possible, for each of the types of possible risk-
reduction or mitigation measures identified in Table 4, please provide 
information on--
    (a) Whether the company has installed this type of measure;
    (b) How does the company use this measure (is it used randomly, in 
specific locations based on risk, or system-wide); and
    (c) What are the costs associated with implementing this measure 
(purchase cost, installation, on-going maintenance, replacement, 
monitoring, etc.)?
    47. Do your security measures include provisions for adding 
contracted security services in the event of elevated alert levels?
    48. For those that have implemented security measures, can you 
provide data regarding implementation schedules (time between 
identification of the need, commitment to addressing it as part of 
planning, and actual full implementation or installation)?
    49. What data sources are available for identifying industry 
standards relevant to implementation of risk-reduction or mitigation 

[[Page 91415]]

VI. Drills and Exercises

    The 9/11 Act includes ``[l]ive situational training exercises . . 
.'' as a program element of the Security Training NPRM.\43\ TSA decided 
not to include this requirement in the Security Training NPRM because 
it is inconsistent with the DHS methodology for exercises. The Homeland 
Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP)--an exercise support 
program that focuses on the need to test planning and preparedness--
focuses on the need to test effectiveness of the overall plan. By 
testing planning and preparedness, the drills and/or exercises reveal 
any weaknesses in training. Furthermore, the HSEEP does not require 
every exercise to be full-scale, live, and situational in order to be 
an effective test of the security plan. Many resources and methods are 
available to test the effectiveness of the plan and the preparedness of 
the organization and its employees to implement it other than full-
scale, live, situational exercises. These range from seminars and 
workshops to basic or advanced tabletop exercises.

    \43\ See secs. 1408(c)(7) (public transportation), 1517(c)(8) 
(freight rail), and 1534(c)(8) (OTRB).

    TSA is also concerned that a requirement to conduct live, 
situational exercises would impose a regulatory burden that owner/
operators could not meet because they do not control all of the 
resources necessary for a live situational exercise, such as first 
responders, medical support, and other local and State government 
    TSA seeks comments on the following questions:
    50. To what extent do you have access to EXIS or other resources 
for conducting drills and/or exercises?
    51. Have you participated in an I-STEP exercise?
    52. Have you used EXIS as a resource for conducting drills and/or 
    53. If not through I-STEP or EXIS, how often do you conduct or 
participate in drills and/or exercises, what job positions participate, 
and what are the costs (development, implementation, after-action 
analysis, and reports)?
    54. Based upon your experience with drills and exercises, are they 
an adequate method for assessing effectiveness of employee training, or 
are additional assessment tools needed for assessments?
    55. Based on your experience, what are the most effective types of 
drills and/or exercises for testing preparedness, including identifying 
weaknesses in training?
    56. Do you regularly use ``after action reports'' to modify 
security measures and procedures or make other operational or capital 
changes to improve security?

VII. Updates

    The 9/11 Act specifies that owner/operators must update assessments 
and security plans on a regular basis. For public transportation, the 
9/11 Act stipulates annual updates, including updates to assessments, 
improvement priorities, and security plans as appropriate. Eligibility 
for funding under the TSGP requires: (1) An assessment within three 
years before the request for funding, and (2) all requests for funding 
must be consistent with addressing vulnerabilities identified in that 
assessment. For railroads and OTRB owner/operators, the 9/11 Act 
requires updates to the assessment no later than three years after 
initial approval of the assessments or plans required in the regulation 
and at least once every five years after that date.
    In a provision applicable to all aspects of the regulatory security 
program, the Security Training NPRM proposes requiring surface owner/
operators to request amendments to their programs (training, 
assessment, or planning) whenever there are changes to their 
operations, measures, training, or staffing. TSA would also be able to 
require updates if, for example, new threat information indicates the 
necessity of review and modification of security measures. TSA also 
anticipates the necessity for updates if there are significant changes 
to operations or assets, such as expanding operations, changes to 
routes, or modifications to hazardous materials designated as high-risk 
for transport.
    TSA requests comments on the following questions:
    57. How often do surface owner/operators update their assessments 
(either security systems/operations or critical assets)? Please include 
in your response information on the time and personnel costs for those 
essential to the updating process, such as man-hours, permanent 
employees or contractor cost, etc.
    58. How frequently do these updates of assessments require changes 
to emergency response, safety, or security plans? If there are changes 
required, what types of changes do you typically make?
    59. Are these updates required by other Federal or State 
regulations? If so, please provide a citation and any other relevant 
information regarding the requirement.

VIII. Accountable Executive

    Every transportation system, whether plane, train, or bus, must 
make decisions for budgeting, allocating funds, and planning for the 
future. Recognizing the diversity of business organization and 
ownership represented by the scope of this rulemaking, TSA anticipates 
that the need to identify a decision-maker who has responsibility over 
the process for approving assessments and plans within the context of 
making decisions regarding organization, operations, and allocation of 
resources. This ``accountable executive,'' and any relevant boards or 
equivalent entities with which this individual may work, needs to have 
awareness of the risks (threats, vulnerabilities, and potential 
consequences) relevant to its security systems/operations and critical 
assets. Having responsibility to approve assessments submitted to TSA 
ensures this information can be used as part of informed, deliberate, 
and transparent decisions regarding the commitments made in the 
security plan.
    Based on a review of how the term ``accountable executive'' is 
defined within various business contexts, TSA anticipates defining the 
term as a person responsible for implementation and security-related 
decisions, including allocation of corporate resources related to 
security. The ``accountable executive'' should be a single, 
identifiable person who has ultimate responsibility for the owner/
operator's compliance with the security plan requirements, including 
obtaining written validation that the plan has been reviewed and 
approved by senior management (board of directors or equivalent 
entity). TSA also expects that this person will serve as the primary 
point of contact for TSA during the review and approval process of the 
security plan.
    TSA seeks comment on the following questions:
    60. Should the ``accountable executive'' be a chief executive 
officer or equivalent rather than an executive designated for this 
    61. For entities within the applicability proposed in the Security 
Training NPRM, do you have an accountable executive? What level is this 
person within the corporate structure? What other responsibilities does 
this person have? Do you have some other process for ensuring senior 
management is made aware of the results of the assessment, approves its 
transmittal to TSA, and approves the security plan?

[[Page 91416]]

IX. Considerations for Small Owner/Operators

    While TSA recognizes the administrative burden on small owner/
operators,\44\ the statute requires TSA to apply the requirements based 
on risk, not size of the operations. As a result, small PTPR systems 
that feed into larger systems covered by the applicability could be 
required to conduct assessments, develop a security plan, and implement 
related security measures. Similarly, the requirements could affect 
small OTRB owner/operators.

    \44\ The Small Business Administration (SBA) sets a threshold of 
$15.0 million in annual receipts for bus systems and mixed-mode 
transit systems, and 1,500 employees for short line railroads. See 
13 CFR 121.201.

    TSA anticipates that owner/operators of larger systems or fleets 
would develop an organization-wide approach for their assessments and 
plans, addressing different perspectives of operations, safety, 
planning, engineering, budget, and information technology along with 
the need to enhance and sustain security. TSA is considering whether 
owner/operators of smaller systems or operations would need to take a 
simpler approach in developing an assessment and plan and implementing 
security measures. If so, the regulation would need to consider owner/
operators of smaller systems or operations could use information that 
is already largely on-hand or readily available to meet the same 
performance standards applied to larger companies.
    TSA seeks comments on the following questions:
    62. As TSA has determined that the higher-risk is associated with 
where the transportation occurs, not size of the company providing the 
transportation, what options are there for minimizing the burden on 
small owner/operators without reducing the intended security benefit?
    63. How should the VASP requirements apply to owner/operators who 
rely on the security of an asset or infrastructure owned by a third 
    64. What are the barriers for surface owner/operators with a 
smaller scope of operation--other than costs--to develop and implement 
a more comprehensive security program or plan with specific security 
measures, training, and assets?
    65. How can TSA ensure consistent application of the standards or 
performance criteria of its rulemaking in light of the dynamic 
population to which the requirements would apply--large, small, 
publicly owned, small budgets, large tax-based budgets, etc.?

X. Estimating the Benefits and Cost of Requirements

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to propose or 
adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits 
justify its costs, tailor a regulation to impose the least burden on 
society consistent with obtaining the regulatory objectives, and in 
choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select those 
approaches that maximize net benefits.
    Consistent with the requirements in these executive orders, TSA 
seeks comment on the following questions:
    66. For those who are already conducting vulnerability assessments 
and developing/implementing security plans, what are the security 
benefits? What would be the security benefits of a consistent, national 
standard for VASP?
    67. TSA seeks information from the public in order to assist it in 
assessing the cost of alternative regulatory approaches for 
implementing the VASP regulations. For example, for commenters who 
suggest that TSA consider adopting certain security performance 
criteria or objective standards for measuring the security of assets 
and infrastructure or security systems/operations, what information do 
you have to assist TSA in assessing the incremental cost of adopting 
your suggestion? TSA is interested in information to assist it in 
assessing the full cost of the suggestion, such as the cost for owner/
operators to collect and assess information and the cost to take action 
based on the information.
    68. Likewise, TSA seeks information from the public to assist TSA 
in assessing the potential benefits of alternative regulatory 
approaches for implementing the VASP regulations. For example, for 
commenters who suggest that TSA consider adopting certain security 
performance criteria or objective standards for measuring the security 
of assets and infrastructure or security systems/operations, what 
information do you have to assist TSA in assessing the incremental 
benefit \45\ from adopting your suggestion?

    \45\ When requesting the assessment of an incremental benefit, 
TSA is referring to the additional benefits of the alternative the 
commenter is proposing compared to what TSA is proposing and 
compared to not taking any action at all.

    69. What resources (for example, people, Web sites, organizations, 
companies) could be useful if TSA has difficulty obtaining accurate and 
timely data on public transportation systems, railroads, or OTRB modes 
necessary for developing a valid estimate of potential costs for 
compliance with a proposed VASP regulation? TSA specifically seeks data 
on employee wages, cost of equipment, and population data on companies 
within an industry or transportation mode.

XI. Next Steps and Public Participation

    This ANPRM seeks input from the public on these topics to ensure 
that the NPRM to follow addresses all relevant information, provides 
the explanations necessary to understand the proposed requirements, and 
appropriately estimates costs. It is important that freight railroad, 
PTPR, and OTRB owner/operators, other organizations, as well as 
interested members of the public potentially affected by a final rule, 
take this opportunity to share thoughts, concerns, ideas, and general 
comments on the topics presented.
    After TSA reviews the comments collected through this ANPRM, TSA 
will prepare and publish an NPRM that reflects TSA's analysis of the 
statutory requirements and relevant issues, as well as comments 
received from the public through this ANPRM. Once TSA publishes the 
NPRM, stakeholders and the public will have another opportunity to 
provide comments that TSA will take into consideration before issuing a 
final rule.

    Dated: November 18, 2016.
Huban A. Gowadia,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2016-28300 Filed 12-15-16; 8:45 am]