Saturday, June 1, 2013

Where to Put the Fences

There is an interesting story about chemical facility security over at A small chemical facility (most of a city block in size) is trying to get permission from the local government to fence off a portion of a dead-end street as part of the site security plan. It is not clear if this is a CFATS facility or simply a facility that has been advised by the local DHS Protective Security Advisor, but ‘national security officials’ have advised the expansion of the facility fence line.

A quick look at the facility from the air (via Bing’s Birds Eye®) clearly shows the problem. The facility is in an older portion of the city’s industrial core where most of the facility perimeter consists of building walls. There is little room to allow for the standard deter, detect and delay security program preferred by CFATS.

The facility is a collection of security problems because it dates back to before the beginning of the age of terrorism. Bulk storage tanks are in clear view of a public road, well within range of even improvised grenade launchers. And the bulk unloading station clearly sits outside of the facility perimeter. Vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) can be parked directly next to the walls of just about very production building on the site. And there appears to be easy access to a significant portion of the facility perimeter, including the tank farm, from the river.

On the plus side this facility is located in an industrial area so the incidental casualties of a successful attack would be limited and not very photogenic. The company appears to be fairly small and is involved in manufacturing a relatively non-controversial product (fingernail polish), so unless they are users of one of the big-name animal testing services, they are unlikely to be a specific target of one of the 'standard' terrorist groups.

Still, the security problems that are readily visible here are not uncommon among a substantial number of small chemical manufacturing facilities across the country. Depending on the chemicals used at the facility, the extent of the off-site consequences of a successful attack can be quite extensive. And there is not a whole lot that facility owners can do to expand their security perimeter to provide for early detection to allow response forces time to react to an incursion.

Follow-Up 06-15-13

A news report this week indicated that the chemical facility's request was rejected by the local city council in a narrow vote. While all of the Council agreed that closing the street would increase security at the site, the opponents to the resolution were concerned about the fact that the company was not going to be paying for the land involved. Posted 7:00 am CDT 6-15-13

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */