Tuesday, April 9, 2013

CFATS PSP – Facility Analysis


This is part of a continuing series of blog posts about the CFATS Personnel Surety Program that was described in a 60-day information collection request (ICR) notice in Friday’s Federal Register. This post will look at the facility analysis used to calculate the regulatory burden caused by this ICR. The earlier posts in the series are listed below.


This ICR notice provides a relatively detailed look at the facilities that are included in the CFATS program; providing information that has been difficult to obtain because of the Department’s security concerns.

Categorizing Facilities

The Department has established four general descriptive categories of high-risk chemical facilities based upon the types of DHS chemicals of interest (COI) they have on site and the size of the facility. Three of the categories describe facilities where the primary security concern is based upon the possession of release hazard COI and the fourth describes facilities where theft/diversion of COI is the major security challenge.

ISCD divides the release COI facilities, ‘loss of containment’ is the term used in the notice, into three groups based upon the size of the facility:

Group A includes open facilities with 100 or more employees;
Group B includes open facilities with 99 or fewer employee; and
Group C facilities are enclosed facilities.

Table 4 in the notice provides a breakdown of the number of facilities in each category. I have provided a summary of that data in a slightly more readable format below.


Tier 1
Tier 2
Tier 3
Tier 4
Total
Group A
4
8
22
72
106
Group B
6
16
33
190
245
Group C
10
15
66
13
104
T/D
93
400
935
1683
3111
Total
113
439
1056
1958
3566
Table 1: Number of Facilities
What is very interesting is that theft/diversion facilities clearly predominate in every tier, with only a total of 455 facilities where a catastrophic on-site chemical release is the primary security challenge. The notice addresses points out that:

“In the original 2007 CFATS Regulatory Assessment, conducted prior to implementation of the CFATS Program, the Department assumed that 38 percent of all high-risk chemical facilities would be regulated due to the risk that one or more chemicals could be subject to theft or diversion for purposes of creating an explosion or producing an improvised explosive device. However, the 2012 CFATS Personnel Surety Program Analysis found that 87 percent of all currently regulated CFATS high-risk chemical facilities are regulated due to the risk that a chemical could be subject to theft or diversion for purposes of creating an explosion or producing an improvised explosive device.”

Unfortunately, that description fails to take into account that some of the COI where theft/diversion is the primary security hazard are not used to make explosive devices, but rather chemical weapons. It probably doesn’t affect any of the numbers, but it provides some misleading information.

Number of Employees

DHS makes an attempt to estimate the number of employees and resident contractors working at these facilities. This initial estimate is based upon 2007 CFATS program estimates plus some recommendations for changes included in the comments from the earlier ICR submission. The table below summarizes the data from Table 9 in the notice which provides the estimate for the average number of full time employees/contractors at a facility in the category, plus 20% for turnover (they are using this number to estimate the number of people that will undergo a personnel surety check).


Tier 1
Tier 2
Tier 3
Tier 4
Group A
3050
2176
3799
2207
Group B
50
49
68
200
Group C
201
418
409
265
T/D
46
46
46
46
Table 2: Update of 2007 CFATS personnel estimate

Looking at the numbers in the table above there seems to be some obvious problems with the models used to come up with these estimates. The variation in employee numbers from Tier to Tier within the same category is hard to explain when there is no variation in the numbers for threat/diversion facilities. With such a wide variance for data that is supposed to represent an average suggests that the standard variation within the data set is quite large. And, oh yes, the Group B definition was facilities with less than 99 employees; how did Tier 4 Group B get an average 200 employees and contractors?

One of the alternatives that ISCD mentions in the ICR notice is using data submitted by the facilities in their Top Screen submission. Table 3 below is a summary of that data reported in Table 10 in the notice. It includes the average Top Screen personnel numbers and an ACC estimate of the number of visitors to facilities (not by Tier) that will be given unescorted access requiring vetting.


Tier 1
Tier 2
Tier 3
Tier 4
ACC Visitors
Group A
719
267
713
884
1746
Group B
43
36
39
20
437
Group C
360
587
225
211
437
T/D
783
499
279
234
73
Table 3: CFATS Top Screen Personnel Data plus ACC visitor estimates

Using the data from Table 3, and plant numbers from Table 1 ISCD estimates that they would have to process 1,806,966 personnel surety screenings in the first year of the program and a three year average processing of 864,678 per year if ISCD were going to require all four tiers to participate in the personnel screening program. Since initially only Tier 1 and Tier 2 facilities will participate the numbers are reduced to 412,647 in the first year and average 191,845 per year.

1 comment:

Rachel Matteson said...

I wonder what's the relevance of these data. It is imperative to state the purpose for which these data are obtained to be able to properly evaluate results.
- RockyMountainLabs.com

 
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