At one time transportation texts were pretty much limited to covering such issues as capability, capacity, access, modal selection, rate structures, and variable- and fixed-cost structures. Transportation security matters, if addressed at all, were relegated to the topic of protecting especially valuable cargoes from potential theft. However, security issues have been present ever since improved transportation began. Whether due to acts of war, criminal activity, or terrorist events, transportation modes have always been convenient targets with economic as well as publicity value. Note, too, that transportation systems are susceptible to natural as well as humancaused threats given the severity of such recent events as the northeast power outage of 2003, Hurricane Katrina’s impact on the US Gulf Coast, and the Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami of March 2012.
In recent times the range of possibilities as well as the severity of threats to transportation infrastructure, vehicles, cargoes, and passengers has substantially increased. We have indeed witnessed not only damage to transportation assets and theft of cargo, but tainting of product, using transportation as a weapon, and creating significant economic harm to a nation or a region.
Divided into three sections, Edwards and Goodrich have endeavored to provide a grounding in safety, security, and emergency management; a mode-by-mode discussion titled Mulitmodal Surface Transportation Security: Threats and Strategies ; and a final section that seeks to bring everything together with the intent to foster holistic thinking on the subject. [End Page 297] Clearly, this book is intended as a text, but there may be two ways to consider its utility: one is as an introduction of security concepts to students of transportation and supply chain management; the other to provide a grounding in transportation to students of homeland security. Either way it fills the need of providing, per its title, an introduction .
Section 2, representing better than half of the book, contains separate chapters addressing individual modes and giving the reader a primer on its development, an explanation of its principal components, and a basic taxonomy of potential threats. The real value, where the book does live up to its title, can be found in the second half of each of these chapters where one finds an assortment of security strategies and several case studies that are intended for fostering classroom discussion. However, there are inherent weaknesses in that the strategies are all focused on human-caused threats and contain not even minimal treatment for securing transportation from natural ones. Moreover, the case studies fall considerably short in that they not only lack robust detail useful for course assignments, but are also so brief that they would better be termed vignettes . There is also the problem that this section has the word “surface” in its title, but includes a chapter on air cargo operations security. Finally, given that the authors’ articulated intent was to provide an introduction to transportation security, there is no chapter on passenger aviation, a mode that is probably the highest-profile example of all. It probably deserves its own chapter that can be further bifurcated into general and scheduled activities. This gap is inconsistent with the treatment of maritime transportation that includes cruise ships, ferries, and cargo ships, of which container service is an important component.
The third section consists of a single chapter, “Transportation Security, Supply Chain, and Critical Infrastructure.” With the promise for providing a holistic vision that combines modes, passenger, and freight transportation, as well as natural and human-caused threats, this chapter needs to further underscore not only the interconnectedness of the transportation system per se, but also how it is woven into the fabric of all supply chains. Here the authors would do well to provide additional context to those homeland security students by explaining that supply chains are repetitive activities of source, make, deliver that transcend organizational boundaries and that transportation must be thought of as the “glue” that binds them together. In a world where economic interdependence is the rule rather...