Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) Police and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) hosted a homeland security tabletop exercise focusing on the state's public transportation transit infrastructure.
Approximately 60 attendees representing 27 federal, state and local agencies focused on strengthening coordination among agencies to address intelligence sharing on potential targets of the transportation infrastructure throughout Maryland and the northeast corridor. Officials also discussed how sharing existing threat intelligence from failed or thwarted attacks can assist law enforcement in protecting mass transit. The specialized training exercise took place at the MTA police headquarters in Baltimore, MD.
"This tabletop exercise demonstrates how the MTA is continuing to prepare for any possible contingency," said MTA Administrator Ralign T. Wells. "By bringing together our transit police and many leaders and experts from across the public transportation spectrum, this exercise represents a significant step and one of the many precautionary strategies that Maryland is undertaking to boost our ability to successfully respond to any threat."
Tabletop exercises provide an informal method of simulating a crisis and facilitates group problem solving. This exercise focused on the decision-making, interagency coordination, and communication to the public that would be critical in the response to any threat to the area's mass transit system.
"The MTA Police Force is very pleased to have this opportunity to partner with the TSA and demonstrate the cohesive partnerships between the federal, state and local agencies and the private stakeholders in the region's transportation and transit infrastructure," MTA Chief of Police John Gavrilis. "These well established positive working relationships are key to effectively managing emergencies such as depicted in the tabletop exercise."
The MTA has participated in and hosted exercises since 2008. The agency has an extensive history of participation with federal, state and local tabletop, functional and full-field exercises annually to improve intelligence sharing, prevention, response, and or recovery from simulated emergency situations or terrorist incidents.