Last week Sen. Hoeven (R,SD) introduced S 3001, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2017. As is the case with this spending bill there is no specific language addressing cybersecurity and only one brief mention of chemical safety/security provisions in the bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee Report on the bill, however, contains numerous mentions of these topics
The one mention of chemical issues (okay just partially chemical issues) is found in §518. That section notes that funds appropriated for the establishment of the DHS Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives Office cannot be spent until Congress authorizes the establishment of the office (see HR 3875 that has been passed in the House). Apparently the Appropriations Committee feels that the bill will pass in the Senate. Section 518 also required DHS to prepare a report to Congress on how it intends to stand up the bill before any money is spent.
The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program is not mentioned by name in the Committee Report, but there is one mention of the Chemical Security Inspectors that make that program work and the funding level for the Infrastructure Security Compliance (the umbrella under which CFATS operates) is addressed.
The Committee Report notes (pg 29) that DHS is looking at how they support the dispersed inspection workforce for both CSI and the Protective Security Advisors program. Since these personnel are dispersed around the country DHS is looking at managing them on a regional basis instead of centrally out of Washington. The Report calls for the OIG to undertake a study of how DHS implements this change.
The funding level for ISCD has been set (pg 98) at $72.3 Million, about $6.3 Million less than requested and $6.0 Million less than last year. The cuts are justified based upon the slow hiring rate. Like last year, the Committee notes that there is no funding set for the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program, reflecting the lack of progress on that rulemaking. Recognizing the problems ISCD is having crafting a cost effective security program the Committee again “encourages NPPD to continue working with stakeholders that manufacture, sell, and transport explosive precursor chemicals to achieve the objectives of the ammonium nitrate rulemaking process taking into consideration the costs and benefits of any recommendations”.
The Committee Report starts off (pgs. 6-7) by noting that cybersecurity is #2 of the top three priorities that the Committee has set forth in crafting this bill. The Committee is recommending $1.8 Billion across DHS for cybersecurity spending; more than a 10% increase over the FY 2016 spending level. The bulk (2/3rds) of this money is going to the National Protection and Program Directorate that funds “programs specifically aimed at protecting civilian, Federal, and State networks”. This includes (pg 7):
• A 19% increase in US CERT funding to $117 Million;
• $281 Million for Federal Network Security; and
• $480 Million for Network Security Deployment (including Einstein)
• $13.9 Million for National Computer Forensics Institute (pgs. 90-1);
• Only $2.5 Million of the requested increase for ICS-CERT (pg 98);
Surface Transportation Security
Surface transportation security issues continue to get systematically overlooked by Congress. The Committee is increasing the funding for surface transportation security (pg 71) at TSA to $122 million. That includes all non-aviation modes of transportation and is a 10% increase in funding over FY 2016.
The report briefly mentions rail security (pg 110), but that is a misnomer. What is actually being discussed is the importance of grant funding for first responder training for rail accidents that include hazardous chemical (most specifically crude oil) spills. No specific funding is mentioned, but FEMA is required to prepare a report to Congress on the “unique needs of first responders related to hazardous materials transportation (including crude oil) and response to incidents”.
Coast Guard Security Issues
The Coast Guard is a big and expensive agency within DHS and gets plenty of mention. Chemical safety and security issues only get passing mention, however. The Committee report takes the CG to task for failing to publish their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Facility Security Officer Training; a rulemaking that is not even listed on the Spring 2016 Unified Agenda or Long Term Agenda for the Coast Guard. The Committee directs the CG to publish the NPRM next year.
This bill should make it to the floor of the Senate for consideration during the month of July. There is a very outside chance that the House could take up their version of the bill (it should be introduced next week) before the summer recess. It is unlikely, however, that the inevitable differences could be worked out in the two bills during the abbreviated fall schedule before the end of the physical year. I really expect that we will see a continuing resolution that will tide the spending over until after the election. What happens after the election is anyone’s guess at this point.