Friday, March 6, 2009

House Hearing Week of March 9th

The House Homeland Security Committee has three hearings scheduled next week that may be of interest to the chemical security community. The Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee has two hearings that might be of interest. Cyber Security The Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology Hearing will hold a hearing on cybersecurity issues on Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 2pm EDT. It is entitled: “Reviewing the Federal Cybersecurity Mission” and it will provide an opportunity for the Committee to provide input into the 60-day NSC cybersecurity review. There is nothing in the currently available information indicating that the issue of control system security will be discussed, but it cannot be ruled out. Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection will look at the Mumbai attacks and their implications for infrastructure protection in a hearing to be conducted on March 11th at 2pm EDT. The hearing will be entitled: “The Mumbai Attacks: A Wake-Up Call for America’s Private Sector”. This hearing should have the most direct impact on planning for the protection of high-risk chemical facilities. Mexican Border Violence On Thursday, March 12th at 10am EDT the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism will look at the situation on the Mexican border in a hearing entitled: “Border Violence: An Examination of DHS Strategies and Resources”. Again, nothing indicates that chemical security issues will be specifically addressed, but, as I noted in a blog last December, there are substantial cross border shipments of hazardous materials that may be affected by this violence. The Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will look at the same issue on Tuesday, March 10th at 11:30am EDT. Interestingly there is no overlap in the witness lists for these two hearings, so there should be a broad cross section of agency views expressed between these two hearings. Rail Security Issues The Homeland Security Subcommittee will be holding a hearing on March 12th at 10am EDT that will be looking at railroad security issues. The hearing is entitled: “Securing the Nation’s Rail & Transit Systems”. Two of the witnesses will be representing large metropolitan (New York and Los Angeles) transit authorities, so it is not clear that there will be much discussion of freight rail security issues.

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