Hungerbeeler discusses security with national panel

Friday, December 7, 2001

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A national panel headed by Missouri Transportation Director Henry Hungerbeeler has begun work assessing terrorist threats to the nation's transportation system.

Hungerbeeler, a retired Air Force colonel with counterterrorism experience, led discussions of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' Task Force on Transportation Security in Texas earlier this week.

The panel reviewed security and emergency plans related to bridges, tunnels and other critical transportation facilities.

"Our nation's transportation network is vast and complex, and must be accessible to the public in order to do its job well," Hungerbeeler said Thursday. "But our panel has some great insights about potential vulnerabilities that currently exist and what can be done about them."

Goals outlined

The group outlined goals for legislation to improve transportation security and national defense mobilization and reviewed transportation responses to the Sept. 11 attacks in Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Virginia

The task force consists of representatives from nine states, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Department of Defense and the National Emergency Management Agency. The states are Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Dean Carlson, president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said the group's work is a critical part of anti-terrrorism activities.

"Some of the nation's foremost experts on transportation security are members of this group, so I expect we'll see some substantial improvements in safe travel as a result of their work," Carlson said.

Hungerbeeler, who retired after a 30-year military career, trained and led the security force that protects Air Force One and commanded top-secret counterterrorist operations.

He also advised the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf War, commanded special forces on classified missions and flew and supervised combat missions in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

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