Monthly Archives: December 2015

Drone Legislation – Effective Immediately


Action:  Notify your FSOs and Plant Managers 

The Texas Legislature recently passed a bill designed to protect the state’s critical infrastructure from surveillance and attack by drones. House Bill 1481 prohibits the operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) over specific critical infrastructure facilities and makes it a criminal offense.

We have seen a dramatic increase in the popularity and use of drones; thousands were bought this year for Christmas presents and user groups are springing up globally. We are also seeing the problems they can facilitate – landing on the White House lawn, crashing into the stands at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, and interfering with commercial aircraft.

This new regulation defines a critical infrastructure facility as a facility that is completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier . . . obviously designed to exclude intruders, or where there is a sign or signs that indicate that entry is forbidden. Petroleum refineries, power generation plants and substations, chemical plants, water and wastewater treatment plants, natural gas processing plants, compressor stations, terminals and storage facilities, ports, and certain dams are specified.

The operator of the drone can be charged with a Class B or A misdemeanor if they operate the aircraft 400 feet or lower over a critical infrastructure facility, if the aircraft makes contact with the facility, or if the aircraft is close enough to interfere with the operation of the facility. The bill exempts law enforcement agencies or persons operating the aircraft for law enforcement agencies. Importantly, the bill does not apply to the owner or operator of the critical facility or a person working for the owner or operator of the facility as drones are increasingly and productively being used for plant and offshore facility inspections.

Also recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a regulation that requires persons who own drones over 0.55 pounds to register the drone online with the FAA. This requirement was effective December 21, 2015. Drone owners will have to pay a $5 registration fee for an unlimited number of aircraft for a three year registration. Each aircraft must be labeled with the registration number. This is easily done on a new FAA website. Failure to register an aircraft can result in civil and criminal penalties ranging from $27,500 to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.

FAA Drone Registration Website – CLICK HERE

Complete list and Texas bill  – CLICK HERE

For more information on operating drones legally, safely and responsibly, visit Know Before You Fly – CLICK HERE

Effective Now – New Requirements for CFATS Facilities – RBPS 12, Personnel Surety

Thursday, December 17, DHS announced and distributed new requirements for Personnel Surety compliance, a clarification and instructions on CFATS Risk Based Performance Standard 12 – Personnel Surety (basically background screening as it relates to federal terrorism databases).   This announcement is attached and went into effect last Friday.

This requirement applies to Tier One and Two High Risk facilities. Each Tier One and Two facility will receive individual letters from DHS giving more detailed requirements and setting individual facility deadlines for compliance, including implementation and amending Security Plans. Requirements for Tier Three and Four facilities will be announced at a later date.

The new requirement relates to RBPS 12(iv) – Measures designed to identify people with terrorist ties, and focuses on Affected Individuals, defined as “facility personnel and unescorted visitors with access to restricted areas or critical assets.”  For many of our clients this means almost all employees and contractors working in their plants.

Facilities may choose one of four options to comply or may propose a combination or alternative plan for compliance.

The four options (explained in detail in the instruction) are summarized below:

  • Option 1: DHS to Vet Affected Individuals
  • Option 2: Affected Individuals Who Possess Certain Credentials
  • Option 3: Electronic Verification of TWIC
  • Option 4: Visual Verification of Credentials

The requirement is well written and reasonably easy to understand.  However the devil is, as always, in the details, and there is a lot of detail.  The overriding questions chemical companies will ask are how do we implement these screening requirements for existing employees, what action will we take if existing employees fail the federal checks, and how do we comply with limited people and resources?  These questions and the options should to be discussed between Human Resources and Corporate Security.

We are preparing templates now to help facilitate this discussion and to provide suitable amendments for Site Security Plans.

Three Things We Should Do Immediately to Reduce the Incidents of Rage Killing and Terrorism

After more than twenty years of active professional analysis I am convinced that in the majority of rage killing and terrorist situations, someone, after the fact, came forward and said, “I knew this was going to happen.”  

Why are people so reluctant to report their concerns?  Is it fears of being wrong, being accused of discrimination, fear of defamation, or is it lack of confidence that employer or authorities will properly manage the situation?  And, recently the Director of the FBI spoke to congress about his agents overwhelming workload and the agency’s serious lack of resources.

Here are three steps that can be taken immediately by government, the media, and others to help:

1.  Legal protection from reprisal and lawsuit.

2.  A victim-focus in the media and law enforcement on-camera reports.

3.  A significant increase in resources to the FBI.

Protection from reprisal and lawsuit:

The most important thing that the government can immediately do is to pass specific legislation to liberate the reporting parties and people who evaluate these situations from threat of retaliation and lawsuit.  It will also help to strengthen mandatory reporting requirements for psychologist, doctors, and educators.  These congressional measures should provide whistleblower protections and protection from reprisal for reporting parties – parents, teachers, employers, counselors, law enforcement, even neighbors.

Focus on the Victims

Focus not on “Crime Scene Investigation” type, moment by moment news blitzes on the killers and police activities as the investigation moves forward.  Instead focus on the victims – their stories, the families, and the aftermath.  Encourage outrage at the perpetrator’s actions and overriding sympathy and support for the victims.  As a collective attitude, this may dissuade people being enticed into jihad, or the warped people looking for their moment of glory though the shedding of innocent blood.  Certainly, more of a victim focus will encourage more people who have seen something, or know something, to come forward and say something . . . Just recently in San Bernardino most of the immediate focus was on the terrorists themselves, which is recruiting fodder for ISIS; there was little focus on the victims as individuals and families.  Contrast that with the Paris coverage, where many weeks afterward, the media is still reporting on the victims and the public’s sympathy with the victims. 

Give the FBI the resources they need:

Take some of the billions of dollars wasted on overlapping federal law enforcement agencies and low priority programs and double the resources of the FBI.  The FBI, the Secret Service, various DHS directorates, the EPA, FERC, even the U. S. Coast Guard are all spending resources on overlapping law enforcement and, especially, cyber security efforts.  Overlap and silos, in the fight against terrorism, are wasting dollars and diluting the effectiveness of the efforts.  Give the money to the FBI.

Donald E. Greenwood, CEO, Don Greenwood & Associates, Inc., Risk Assessment and Security Management Consultants, Houston, Texas