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Meridian Institute

National Critical Infrastructure Sector Coordination: Freight Rail Mode of the Transportation Sector

Related: Resilience

Sector Coordinating Councils (SCCs) have been established under the guidance of the US Department for Homeland Security as a way to reinforce a business sector’s resilience against terrorist attacks and other threats to the nation’s infrastructure. SCCs are self-organized by a sector’s owners and operators to facilitate communications and priority setting and to serve as a point of contact with the government on security and critical infrastructure protection. Government Coordinating Councils (GCCs) are the government counterpart entity comprising the agencies most involved with a particular sector. Meridian Institute provided process design and facilitation services to a number of SCCs as they got organized and began their work.


For this project, Meridian consulted with representatives of the Freight Rail sector to help them assess the value of organizing and developing a Freight Rail modal SCC within the national Transportation sector. Meridian interviewed a number of owners and operators from the industry to explore the possibility of building and/or expanding the existing Rail SCC and shaping the Rail Sector Annex of the Transportation Sector Specific Plan. The series of interviews and informal meetings with representatives of the industry led to a high-level meeting with representatives from the Association of American Railroads, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, and Federal Railroad Administration. This meeting addressed fundamental questions about the intent and process of a Freight Rail SCC and informed appropriate next steps before involving broader industry representation at an organizational meeting and evolving beyond Meridian’s involvement.

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