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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) late last week proposed requiring terrorism awareness training for workers at freight railroads and public transit agencies.Published Dec. 16 in the Federal Register, the proposal would require owners and operators of "higher-risk" railroads and transit agencies to train employees performing security-sensitive duties about terrorist-related threats and incidents.In particular, rail operators would use a curriculum that addresses preparedness for terrorist threats, as well as how to observe, assess and respond to these threats, according to the TSA's proposed rulemaking."Security awareness training is an important and effective tool to enhance an employee's ability to detect and deter attacks by terrorists or others — particularly those with malicious intent to target surface transportation or use vehicles as delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction," TSA officials said in the Federal Register. Well-trained employees can serve as "security force-multipliers," TSA officials added, noting that those workers' familiarity with the facilities and operating environments for their specific transportation systems makes them effective at recognizing potential threats.Recent events indicate that surface transportation systems are at risk of terrorist attacks, according to the TSA. For example, a lone gunman in August 2015 attempted a mass shooting aboard a high-speed train in France before being subdued by passengers.
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