Category Archives: Inspections

Preparing for a CFATS Compliance Inspection

Many companies aren’t prepared when they receive a letter from the DHS Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD) notifying them of an upcoming facility Compliance Inspection (CI). You might have documents that are out of date, or you may be missing the necessary forms.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 CFATS Compliance Inspection.

Review Your Documents

When you receive a notice from DHS about an upcoming inspection, this is always a good time to review your security plan 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 drills and/or exercises, and an annual audit of the security plan.

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 access control, monitoring, screening, security personnel (who is the FSO, Alt. FSO?), NTAS 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 inspectors will want to review during the inspection. We have had great success with these binders for all of our regulated clients; CFATS, MTSA, 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 Compliance Inspection that they passed without any issues, “We went through our security plan book while the inspector was here and we were complimented on how all the files 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 your CFATS Compliance Inspection and develop a security binder for you and help you succeed with your inspections.

To read about what to expect from a CFATS CI, click here.

TSA Begins Issuing New TWIC Cards

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began issuing the new TWIC NexGen cards on July 10, 2018. The new cards incorporate enhanced security features (click here to read more).

Details about the new TWIC NexGen card:

  • Current TWIC card holders do not need to replace a valid TWIC card with the new TWIC card design.
  • Regulated entities that require TWIC for access will accept and recognize both the current and new TWIC designs until the card’s expiration.
  • The new card design is compatible with qualified TWIC readers.
  • To deter alteration of the card’s expiration date, the new card includes a color-coded expiration date box that will update on an annual basis.
  • The fee for the newly re-designed TWIC card remains unchanged ($125.25) and the credential is valid for five years.

Click here to read more about the TWIC NexGen cards.

Click here for a TWIC NexGen Authentication Guide

New Coast Guard Facility Inspection Form

Effective immediately, USCG facility inspectors are going to start using a new form for facility inspections. The new form, CG-835F, replaces CG-Form 835, “Vessel/Facility Inspection Requirements”. CG-835F is specifically formatted for facility inspections. There are no major changes to the new form or the information collected during the inspection.

Facility owners and operators may start seeing Coast Guard facility inspectors using the new form immediately, but some inspectors may still use the older CG-835 form during the transition.

Click here for a link to the new CG-385F form.

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.

Changes in USCG Leadership Indicate Strong Continued Interest in Port Security

  • Rear Adm. Paul Thomas moves from Prevention Policy to command of the Eighth District – New Orleans.
  • Rear Adm. John Nadeau assumes position as assistant commandant for Prevention Policy.

Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, in an article posted in Maritime Commons, stated:

This week marks my last as assistant commandant for prevention policy. I assume command of the Coast Guard’s Eighth District in mid-August. It has been a distinct privilege to lead and represent the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard who are dedicated to ensure our national security and economic prosperity by ensuring the safety, security and environmental soundness of our Marine Transportation System globally . . .Thank you for your professional and productive relationship with the U.S. Coast Guard.

About Rear Admiral Nadeau, Thomas stated:

I am pleased to introduce Rear Adm. John Nadeau as the new assistant commandant for prevention policy effective today. His most recent assignment was as assistant commandant for capability, where he was responsible for identifying and sourcing new and extended capabilities, competencies, and capacity to meet mission requirements. Prior to that, he served as commanding officer of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Center where he led the review and approval of plans for the design, construction, alteration, and repair of U.S. and foreign flag commercial vessels subject to U.S. laws, regulations, and international standards. Rear Adm. Nadeau’s other assignments cover the full spectrum of marine safety and inspections and span the bulk of his nearly three decades long career: chief of inspections, senior investigating officer, MSU commanding officer, captain of the port and federal on scene coordinator, Officer In Charge, Marine Inspection, and chief of the Office of Design and Engineering Standards.

In summary: Prevention Policy is assumed by a strong advocate for robust port security with a background in marine safety and inspection, and the command of District Eight is assumed by the former assistant commandant for prevention policy.  These moves indicate a strong continued interest in port security programs.

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.

Get Ready Now for 2017 Port Security Grants

It is not too soon to start the registration processes.

The Administration has budgeted $93 million for port security grant awards in 2017.
It is not too soon to begin the application process. Typically, the schedule goes like this:

  • Mid-February the Grant Program is announced, Instructions are posted, and the application period begins. The 2016 application period began on February 17.
  • Late April – the application period closes. In 2016 the application deadline was April 25th.

However, before a facility can upload a grant application they must:

  • Obtain and/or verify the DUNS number for the specific facility and business unit involved. Your legal or tax department may be able to help with this.
  • Register in the government’s System for Award Management (SAM.gov).  FEMA states, “It may take 4 weeks or more after the submission of a SAM registration before the registration becomes active in SAM.gov, then an additional 24 hours for Grants.gov to recognize the information.”
  • Once the SAM’s registration is complete, register and set up an account in a second government web-portal, Grants.gov.  Receive an account log in and password.
  • Once the Grants.gov registration is complete and approved, use that account to set up a third registration in a third government web portal, NDGrants.gov (the site to specifically upload “non-disaster” grants.  All application documentation will be uploaded through NDGrants.gov.  This is also the portal wherein the FEMA officials will communicate with the applicant.

Is it worth doing? Absolutely YES!

Don Greenwood & Associates Inc. has an excellent track record in applying for and winning grants for our clients. In 2016, we developed and submitted several grant applications for a total of $3 million in awards.

Of special interest to DHS in 2016 were applications that included funds for cyber security protections, as well as the fundamentals – access control, gates, TWIC readers, etc.

Let’s get started. Before we can develop an application we need to discuss your facility, what is needed, and whether or not your needs meet the grant priorities. Successful grant writing is more an art than a science. Give us a call at 832-717-4404 or email don@greenwoodsecurity.com.

The Security Guard Audit

A few weeks ago, USCG officers arrived at a regulated facility, and observed the main gate security officer not inspecting and validating TWIC cards, and not conducting vehicle inspections as required in the Facility Security Plan. For a moment, the USCG considered shutting down the facility. Recently the USCG also released a list on common MTSA Facility Violations.

We are often retained to conduct brief audits and training moments with entry guards. It works like this: one of us arrives at the entry point and observes security checking in and admitting people to the facility. Then we check in ourselves and spend a few moments with security management to relay our findings. Within moments, we return to the security post, explain that we just conducted an audit and spend a few moments renewing their training. These moments are powerful training tools that will not soon be forgotten. Ken Blanchard, the author of The One Minute Manager, said that supervisors should make every encounter with their staff a learning moment:

  • Catch them doing something wrong, quickly reprimand and then take a moment to retrain.
  • Catch them doing something right, quickly praise and let them know what they did so well.
  • Or, just stop by for a one minute reminder on a procedure or conduct that is important.

Penetration audits can give some indication of how well personnel are performing, but the real value comes from the training that results.

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.