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Respond to Michael:

The node of transportation that I believe is vulnerable is the surface transportation node. Willis Towers Watson, an international risk management firm, has stated, “the biggest threat facing today’s transportation executives is cyber vulnerability” (Dwyer, 2018). Rail transport throughout the United States relies increasingly on a firm cyber connection to be able to track and monitor trains across the country. Maintenance and replacement of the rail infrastructure is not able to keep up with the demand of container shipments from the nation’s ports to warehouses throughout the country. “More than 500 individual freight railroads carrying essential goods operate on nearly 140,000 miles of track” (TSA, 2018).

Due to online ecommerce increases, the surface transportation node is being hard pressed to keep up with the demand of supply chain requirements. “US logistics costs rose 11.4% to reach $1.64 trillion, or 8% of gross domestic product (GDP)” (Banker, 2019). Some of he reasons for this cost increase is the lack of over-the-road or long-haul truckers, lack of adequate warehousing and increased warehousing costs associated with demand, and the decrease in driver hours due to regulations, as well as the deteriorating road infrastructure.

Transportation companies are attempting to minimize the issue of a lack of drivers by hiring more and raising driver’s pay, however more vehicles on the roadway equates to more congestion, which again lends to shipping being late or congested. Brick and mortar companies unable to compete with the technology of automated trucking will find themselves being slowly pushed out of business by not having the necessary capital to continue conducting the required business. Automated trucking will begin to assist traditional drivers in bypassing the regulations requiring drive / rest times, but the congestion will continue to increase as well on the roads in America, especially in the already congested major cities. The American Trucking Association “projects a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers by 2022” ((Dwyer, 2018).

The deterioration of the nation’s road infrastructure is of major concern to the ground transportation node. Approximately 25% of the bridges in the United States require replacement or a major renovation due to the number of vehicles and weights that were not anticipated four decades ago with a country that had only half of the population it currently has. The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) stated, “more than 47,000 bridges in the United States are in crucial need of repairs” (CNN, 2019).

Forbes lists a number of solutions that will enable the ground transportation node to become more resilient as the supply chain becomes more robust due to demands of the consumers. Automation in the transportation, ordering and warehousing will assist in fulfilling the logistics, while limiting the amount of man-hours needed to complete the necessary logistics. “Man travel is among the most unproductive, time-consuming tasks within a warehouse” (Singh, 2016). Automation brings with it a need for companies to ensure their cyber defenses are updated regularly to ensure hackers are not able to create a backlog due to Ransomware. As the nation continues to move into a more automated process for ground transportation, there is a clear threat to commerce, logistics and personal travel. Cyber systems continue to play an ever-increasing threat to the resilience of the transportation system, and coupled with the continued lack of repair of the physical infrastructure, there is a definite vulnerability to the surface transportation node that can be exploited to cause damage to the country’s economy.


Banker, S. (2019). Top takeaways from the state of logistics report 2019. Forbes. Retrieved from…

Dwyer, K. (2018). 6 Critical and emerging risks in transportation. Risk and Insurance. Retrieved from

Lou, M. and Griggs, B. (2019). At our current pace it’ll take 80 years to repair all the structurally deficient bridges in the US, a report finds. CNN. Retrieved from…

Pekoske, D. (2018). Surface transportation security: Addressing current and emerging threats. Transportation Security Administration. Retrieved from…