There has been a lot of attention lately on TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams. With that attention comes a fair amount of misinformation.
We wanted to take this opportunity to set the record straight: TSA has not expanded the scope of VIPR teams.
Following the 2004 Madrid train bombings which killed 191 people and wounded 1,800 more, TSA developed the VIPR program to help out law enforcement when needed. Since then, the teams have been deployed at the request of local, state, and federal law enforcement to support their efforts and enhance the security presence during specific alert periods or major high-profile events.
The exact makeup of VIPR teams is determined jointly with local authorities and program stakeholders and can include Federal Air Marshals (FAMs), Transportation Security Officers (TSOs), Behavior Detection Officers (BDOs), TSA certified explosive detection canine teams, Transportation Security Inspectors (TSIs), Transportation Security Specialists – Explosives (TSSEs), security and explosive screening technology and radiological/nuclear detection capabilities all working together to safeguard the traveling public.
In today’s environment of evolving threats, deploying VIPR teams provides an effective and visible deterrent to anyone planning an attack, especially against high-profile and highly visible targets.
TSA's mission, supported by the United States Federal Air Marshal Service, has been and remains to protect the nation’s transportation network. VIPR teams are an important part of TSA’s multi-layered approach to keeping the traveling public safe.
Here are a few past blog posts regarding the VIPR program.
- Screening of Passengers at Savannah Amtrak Station
- Myth Buster: TSA Not Setting Up Checkpoints On Tennessee Highways
- No Drones Here
- The Bombing of Moscow's Domodedovo Airport
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