Monday, November 17, 2008

DHS CSAT FAQ Page Update – 11-14-08

Last week DHS updated two questions on the CSAT FAQ page. They dealt with Tiering and Top Screen Navigation and Troubleshooting. The two questions were:
1363: I have completed the Top-Screen and submitted it to DHS, but I discovered that I need to make some changes to the information I submitted. How can I do this? 1606: I recently received an e-mail telling me there is a CSAT letter available for me to access and print. How do I go about accessing this letter?
The answers to both of these questions provided some interesting information so we will review both answers in some depth. Top Screen Revision The answer to this question is very similar to the answer provided to FAQ # 1406, but there is a slight difference in the wording of the question. FAQ #1406 reads “If have already submitted a Top Screen and later determine that I need to re-submit, what do I do?” Now I may be reading more into the difference in wording than DHS intended, but FAQ #1363 seems to address correcting an error in the submission while #1406 deals with a material change in the facility status. If I am correct in my interpretation, this marks a subtle change in DHS policy. The CSAT web page has always maintained that once “a Top-Screen has been completed and submitted, it cannot be recalled and edited”. The apparent reason for this is that once a Top Screen is submitted it automatically begins the internal evaluation process that leads to the preliminary determination of whether a facility is a high-risk facility and its preliminary tier level. Trying to catch this evaluation in process and change any of the data would be impractical at best. I doubt that DHS has made any substantial changes in the evaluation process. What I do think has probably happened is that the Top Screen submission rate has slowed enough (to the ‘normal’ maintenance rate) that DHS no longer fears that multiple submissions to correct relatively minor errors will clog up the system. DHS would still prefer that facilities adequately check their Top Screen for errors before submission, so there would be not announcement of a change in policy. Practically speaking, I suspect that both the original and changed submission will still both go through the evaluation process. There is a remote possibility that a changed submission submitted quickly enough might result in the status notification for the initial submission being caught before it is transmitted to the facility. What is more likely is that a notification letter/email for both submissions would probably be sent to the facility. Since a facility would have no way of knowing which submission the notification letter would refer to, it must assume that any letter received is the ‘correct’ status and act accordingly. CSAT Notification Letters DHS will send the Submitter an email notifying the facility that the CSAT notification letter is available on-line. A submitter might not be able to access this letter on the CSAT system for a couple of reasons, both dealing with the Chemical-Terrorism Vulnerability Information (CVI) training status of the Submitter. Completion of the on-line CVI training is not required to access the Top Screen submission tool on CSAT. This is because it is expected that a significant majority of facilities submitting a Top Screen will not be judged to be a high-risk facility. Facilities that are not at high-risk for a terrorist attack are not subject to the CVI rules, so the training is not necessary. Facilities that receive a high-risk facility notification letter are covered facilities under the CFATS regulations, so they must comply with the CVI requirements. The notification letter is one of the documents that is automatically considered CVI and thus requires protection. So before the Submitter can access the letter, the CVI training must be completed and the training status associated with the Submitter’s User Name.

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