Adm. Loy: Homeland security about balance, risk management
Former deputy secretary of Homeland Security Adm. James Loy
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The deadly bombings in London have raised concerns about the threat of terrorism against the world's transportation centers. In the United States, the focus was on aviation security after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Former deputy secretary of Homeland Security Adm. James Loy is urging the U.S. government balance this attention to all forms of transportation. Loy, also the first administrator for the Transportation Security Administration, joined CNN anchor Lou Dobbs from Washington Tuesday.
DOBBS: Transportation in this country, we've spent, what, $18 billion on air security. A commensurate amount obviously is not available for mass transit. What are we to do?
LOY: Well, I think the notion of balance, as you opined in the opening here, is the right word. [Homeland Security] Secretary [Michael] Chertoff in his announcements last week has refocused on transportation security as something that's extraordinarily important for his administration and his continuation of this administration in this new department. And the balance of transportation modes, whether it's mass transit, highways, rail, pipelines, ports, in addition to the focus that we've placed on aviation security, can be balanced both from a monetary standpoint, but also from a risk standpoint. We have to understand just what the threat is to these various modes, and then devise that algorithm that lets us balance the effort against all of them.
DOBBS: That algorithm, as you put it, does not include at this point border security to any meaningful degree. Why in the world is the Homeland Security Department -- I understand it is a large, it is a massive bureaucracy, with all sorts of charters -- but border security, it seems just a matter of common sense, should be a priority, the priority in point in fact, along with our ports, in homeland security. Why is it not?
LOY: Well, I think it's the competition of lots of number ones. The whole idea of aviation security, of course, in the immediate wake of 9/11 was the number one priority. But we all have our nightmare scenarios, whether it's about ports or border crossings, and this notion of a layered security approach to these various challenges are where we have to go. And again, last week, Secretary Chertoff was right on point in terms of focusing, that border security was one of those things that he has to deal in an integrated basis, as opposed to individual initiatives that have sort of been the cause so far.
DOBBS: Adm. Loy, when you, and I'm going to ask you this straight up, with your experience, your reputation for keenness of analysis and straightforwardness, what keeps you awake at night now as you assess homeland security and our vulnerabilities?
LOY: Well, I think it's all about the fact that we must now be in the risk management business. Risk at its root is about the likelihood of something happening times the consequences if it actually occurs. And for me, that drives you towards the consequence side of that equation.
And so WMD, nuclear, bio, chemical, and I always add cyber to that array of challenges because of its omnipresence across almost everything we do in life these days.
DOBBS: And it must -- it must disturb you as much as it does, I think, most Americans to think that this country, nearly four years after September 11, has to commit some sort of budgetary triage in order to carry out homeland security. Adm. Loy, we thank you for being here.
LOY: Thanks for having me on.
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