Category Archives: CFATS

3 Tips for a Successful USCG Inspection

Many companies aren’t prepared when they receive a letter from the U.S. Coast Guard notifying them of an upcoming facility security inspection. You might have documents that are out of date, or you may be missing the necessary forms. If left unchecked, you could be forced to waste time and money in enforcing corrective actions. When it comes to advising our clients to be prepared, these are the top three tips we give them for a successful USCG Inspection.

Review Your Documents

When you receive a notice from the USCG about an upcoming inspection, this is always a good time to review your FSP and required documents to make sure that you have everything in order. Also, this is a good time to verify that you have conducted the required quarterly drills, annual exercise, and annual audit of the FSP.

Training Moment

Training is very important for facility personnel and this is a good opportunity to make sure all your training is up to date and to have a general discussion regarding security of the facility. The training can focus on topics that will most likely be covered during the inspection; including TWIC, screening, security personnel (who is the FSO, Alt. FSO?), MARSEC security measures, etc.

Organize

One thing that we recommend and develop for majority of our clients is to have a single security plan binder with all relevant documents and forms. This is a perfect, centralized place to store and secure all the forms and documents that the USCG will want to review during the inspection. We have had great success with these binders for all of our regulated clients; MTSA, CFATS, TSA, DOT, etc. As we tell our clients, it is best to get the inspectors the requested material in a timely fashion and get the inspection over with as quickly as possible.

Recently one of our clients had a US Coast Guard inspection that they passed without any issues, “We went through our MARSEC book while the USCG was here and we were complimented on how all the files for MARSEC were in one book and not in different locations.  We didn’t spend much time with it, because everything was in the binder that they had questions about. “

Let us know if we can help you prepare for USCG Security Inspection and develop a security binder for you and help you succeed with your inspections.

CFATS Quarterly Update

Recently DHS released their Fall Quarterly Update providing more detail on the implementation of the CFATS program.

CFATS Update

As of September 1, 2017, CFATS covers 3,478 facilities. DHS has completed more than 2,700 Compliance Inspections (to read more about Compliance Inspections, click here). Since launching CSAT 2.0 a year ago, DHS has received more than 25,000 CSAT Top Screens. DHS is continuing to issue tiering letters to facilities as their Top Screens are received and reviewed.

You can read more about CSAT 2.0 here.

SVA/SSP Questions

One topic discussed in the update in the new questions that facilities will need to answer when submitting a new or revised SVA/SSP.

When submitting the SSP, the new questions facilities will need to address include:

  • Q3.10.050 Personnel Presence
  • Q3.10.400 through Q3.10.420 Inventory Controls
  • Q3.40.400 through Q3.40.430 Cyber Control and Business Systems
  • Q3.50.320 Personnel Surety, Types of Affected Individuals
  • Q3.50.710 Recordkeeping Affirmation

In addition to these new SSP question, facilities are asked to select whether a certain detection and delay security measure applies to perimeter and/or critical assets. The following SSP questions should be reviewed to ensure the location(s) are correctly associated with the security measures applied:

  • Q3.10.070 Mobile Patrols
  • Q3.10.120 Intrusion Detection Systems
  • Q3.10.180 through Q3.10.230 Intrusion Detection Sensors
  • Q3.10.290 and Q3.10.310 Closed Circuit Television
  • Q3.20.030 through Q3.20.160 Perimeter Security
  • Q3.20.430 and Q3.20.440 Access Control Systems
  • Q3.20.560 Anti-Vehicle Measures

Personnel Surety Program (PSP)

Tier 1 and Tier 2 facilities will see questions that address RBPS 12(iv), screening for terrorist ties. Questions Q3.50.330 through Q3.50.550 allow facilities to identify the option(s) chosen and measure(s) used to implement those options for compliance with RBPS 12(iv). To read more about those options, click here.

Additionally, DHS is going to integrate the Personnel Surety Program into the CSAT 2.0 Portal. This should make it much easier and provide better functionality for the user.

Chiefs of Regulatory Compliance

DHS also announced in this update that they have hired Chiefs of Regulatory Compliance (CRCs) for majority of their Regional Offices. CRCs will serve as the lead DHS representatives administering the CFATS regulation and serving as advisors to the Office of Infrastructure Protection Regional Directors.

Region CRCs:

  • Region 1 (VT, RI, ME, NH, CT, MA) – Charles Colley charles.colley@hq.dhs.gov
  • Region 2 (VI, PR, NJ, NY) – John Dean john.dean@hq.dhs.gov
  • Region 3 (DC, DE, WV, MD, VA, PA) – Don Keen donald.keen@hq.dhs.gov
  • Region 4 (MS, SC, AL, KY, FL, NC, TN, GA) – Cheryl Louck cheryl.louck@hq.dhs.gov
  • Region 5 (MN, WI, IN, MI, IL, OH) – Kathy Young kathryn.young@hq.dhs.gov
  • Region 6 (NM, OK, LA, AR, TX) – Steve Shedd steven.shedd@hq.dhs.gov
  • Region 7 (NE, KS, IA, MO) – Dave Martak david.martak@hq.dhs.gov
  • Region 8 (WY, ND, SD, MT, UT, CO) – Jim Williams james.williams@hq.dhs.gov
  • Region 9 (MP, GU, HI, NV, AZ, CA) – Marcie Stone marcie.stone@hq.dhs.gov
  • Region 10 (AK, ID, OR, WA) – Marc Glasser marc.glasser@hq.dhs.gov

Feel free to contact us if more information or support is needed.

Chemical Sector Security Summit

For the first time after 10 years, the annual Chemical Sector Security Summit will be held outside the D.C. area in Houston, Texas. The summit is scheduled to take place in July 2017.

This year’s Summit will feature vital chemical security information for 2017 and beyond, while bringing together industry owners and operators, key government officials, first responders, and law enforcement to engage in face-to-face discussions and share the latest in security best practices.

Summit registration will open in spring 2017, along with updates on the venue, agenda, and speakers.

For more information, click here.

CFATS Quarterly Update

On April 4, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began issuing tiering notifications to Chemical Facility Anti- Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulated facilities based on the results of DHS’s new enhanced risk-tiering methodology.

To date, approximately 12,000 updated Top-Screens have been received from the 27,000 facilities that previously reported holdings of chemicals of interest (COI) at or above the screening threshold quantity.

DHS has sent out over 10,000 tiering determination letters to facilities that have submitted new Top-Screens. Tiering letters are being prioritized based on when DHS received the facility Top-Screen, upcoming compliance inspection schedules, and to consider workload for submitters that have a high number of covered facilities with changes.

Over the next 18 months we will continue to notify facilities of the requirement to submit new Top-Screens and issue tiering decisions on a rolling basis.

I’ve Received a Tiering Letter, Now What?

As facilities receive tiering letters, their next steps will depend on their results.

Facilities new to the CFATS program will be required to submit security plans. If a current facility receives a revised tiering assessment, it does not necessarily mean that it will be required to submit a Site Security Plan (SSP)/Alternative Security Program (ASP).

Facilities should review their tiering letter along with their approved SSP/ASP to determine whether it meets the security measures associated with all the chemicals of interest (COI), specific security issues (Theft/Diversion, Release, or Sabotage), and tiers in the letter. If not, an SSP/ASP update may be required.

Examples of situations in which a facility will need to update its SSP may include:

  • Facilities that add a newly tiered COI, which is located in a new asset area not currently addressed in the SSP/ASP;
  • Facilities that increase in tier and do not have sufficient security measures to account for the higher tier;
  • Facilities with an added security concern from a current COI that lacks sufficient security measures to account for the new security concern.

For example, if a facility possesses chlorine tiered for “theft/diversion” but now must also account for chlorine as a “release” concern, the existing SSP/ASP would need to be revised to include security measures to address risks associated with release COI.

DHS will assess facilities on a case-by-case basis to ensure security measures are appropriate to their level of risk.

DHS Tiering Methodology

Today, the Infrastructure Security Compliance Division of DHS hosted a webinar on their new tiering methodology for CFATS facilities.

The presenters stated that the increases and decreases of theft/diversion and release-toxic chemicals of interest (COI) is due to improvements and implementation modeling data available to DHS. Facilities that possess Triethanolamine and MDEA, for example, will most likely be increased to Tier Two for theft/diversion chemical weapon precursor due to the implementation of the new modeling tools.

DHS began sending out letters to facilities earlier this month based on the new tiering methodology. Facilities are instructed to review their SSP/ASP to ensure that the existing security measures are sufficient for the tier level. If a facility determines that they need to resubmit their SSP/ASP, the facility has 30 days from the date of the letter to update the Security Vulnerability Assessment and Security Plan. Note: This deadline is not mentioned in the letters that our clients have received.

 During Compliance Inspections, inspectors will verify that the security measures are appropriate to address all tiers, security issues and COI.

Feel free to contact us if more information or support is needed.

DHS Reinstates Top Screen Requirements

On October 1, 2016, DHS has reinstated the requirement to submit Top Screens using CSAT 2.0.

Starting today, October 4, 2016, DHS will begin notifying facilities that they have to submit a new Top Screen. However, facilities may choose to proactively resubmit a Top Screen prior to receiving notification from DHS.

Facilities are given 60 days to submit a new Top Screen.

To read more about CSAT 2.0, click here.

CSAT 2.0 Update: Changes Coming in October

DHS has released an update to the upcoming launch of Chemical Security Assessment Tool 2.0 (CSAT 2.0). They state that in the coming months, DHS will be reaching out directly to facilities believed to maintain Chemicals of Interest (COI) at or above the threshold quantities. These facilities will be required to submit new Top Screens to DHS using the new CSAT 2.0 online tool.

What does this mean for you and your facility?

DHS suspended the requirement to submit Top Screens and Security Vulnerability Assessments (SVA) on July 20, 2016 to prepare for the launch of CSAT 2.0.

After the transition to CSAT 2.0 and the improved risk tiering methodology in October 2016, DHS will begin to individually notify “chemical facilities of interest” to resubmit a new Top Screen using CSAT 2.0. They state that chemical facilities of interest include facilities that were previously determined not to be high-risk. The letters will be issued through CSAT 2.0 to each facility’s designated CFATS Authorizer and Submitter in a phased manner over the course of several months.

DHS states that CSAT 2.0 will improve the integration between the CSAT SVA and Site Security Plan (SSP) surveys, streamlining the compliance process and reducing the burden associated with completing these surveys.

Next Steps

 DHS will replace the current CSAT surveys with the revised surveys this fall.

  • On October 1, 2016, DHS will reinstate the Top-Screen and SVA submission requirements.
  • DHS will individually notify facilities in a phased manner to resubmit their Top-Screens using the new tool.

Training on CSAT 2.0

DHS will be hosting several webinars and presentations at several cities around the country to demonstrate the new tool.

Webinars:

In-Person Demonstrations:

  • In September, DHS will post session dates, times, and locations

The Penetration Audit – A Powerful Training Tool

Picture a large manufacturing facility with a robust security infrastructure: access controlled gates and entry doors, security guards on post and roving, monitoring with CCTV cameras, and perimeter intrusion alarms. Here all employees have participated in security awareness briefings. Management decided to test their employee’s response to intrusion by conducting a Penetration Audit, and the results were disappointing. On the flip side however, the after action review with the employees was in itself a powerful training tool.

A consultant was hired who during the daytime climbed over the fence wearing street cloths and carrying a backpack and a clipboard. He wandered through various buildings and processing areas. As he walked he encountered more than a dozen employees. Many greeted him with a nod. Two employees stopped him and said that fire resistant attire (FRC) was required. The consultant said his FRC gear and hardhat were in the backpack and he would go change into them. One employee showed him the location of a change room for that purpose but did not stay with him.

No one asked what he was doing, who he was, and no one reported him to Security. The positive benefit came when management met with employees for an after-action review. One can bet that in the future strangers on site in this facility will be challenged and reported to security. One can also ask how different the outcome of the audit would have been if it were pre-announced.

Years ago, the security department at Apple hired a smart PI to test security. His mission was to get into the many facilities without screening by the lobby security guards, then leave out the same lobby obviously carrying a large box. On his first audit run nine of ten security officers failed to stop him. He was a glib talker wearing a suit and his demeanor intimidated most of the guards. Again, no one reported him to security management. As a Security Manager, I always preferred to pre-announce penetration audits and did so for the second run of the audit in a different set of buildings. This time, the auditor found the guard force tuned up and 90% of the guards did the job right, stopping the man, asking for ID, and escorting him out of the building.

The results of penetration audits can be surprising to management whether pass or fail. The value of these exercises as training moments that become imbedded in their long-term conduct is significant; either way – surprise audits or pre-announced penetration tests.

CFATS Update

According to DHS, approximately 2,500 security plans have been approved as of April 15. DHS also states that at their current rate, the Department will have inspected and approved all submitted security plans within the next four months.

The CFATS program is moving forward with the implementation of the Personnel Surety Program, enhancements and updates to the Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT), conducting Compliance Inspections (CI) (to read more about What to Expect During a CI, click here), and improving their methodology on risk-tiering for facilities.

CFATS Personnel Surety Program (PSP) Update

 The Department released a Notice of Implementation on December 18, 2015 informing the public of their intention to implement the PSP. The program has been implemented in a phased manner, with Tier 1 and 2 facilities first then Tier 3 and 4 facilities later this year or in 2017. DHS will contact facilities on an individual basis to begin implementation of the Personnel Surety Program. Facilities should wait until they are contact by DHS before making any modifications to their security plans.

The first Compliance Inspection that included PSP implementation was conducted January 28, 2016 and the first updated security plan was approved on March 4, 2016.

To read more about the PSP, click here.

New Requirements for CFATS Facilities

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

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 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 (attached) 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.