Saturday, June 5, 2010

DHS Incident Reporting

I was looking through various web pages via the DHS Chemical Security web page yesterday (I try to check it every week day) when I noticed the link on the left side of the page to the DHS Report Incidents web page. Now I am sure that I’ve checked that page before, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here. So, now seems like a good time. The page provides a one-stop shop for links for reporting a wide variety of incidents in which DHS might be interested. The incident categories (links) are:
Terrorist Activity (to the FBI) Immigration/Customs (to ICE) Cyber Security (to DHS-CERT) Emergencies in Federal Building (to FPS)
Interestingly, since I got to this page via the Chemical Security page, there is nothing here about reporting potential terror attacks on chemical facilities. Nor is there a reporting provision for transportation related attacks or maritime related attacks. This is unusual since DHS is specifically tasked with regulating security in these three areas and there are established reporting procedures for all three programs; odd. Now, I have noted on a number of occasions that DHS does have a CFATS reporting procedure buried in its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) web page. Question 1620 is “How do I report a possible security concern involving the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulation at your facility or another facility?” The response is relatively short but certainly useful:
“If you would like to report a possible security concern involving the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulation at your facility or another facility, you may contact the CFATS Chemical Facility Security Tip Line at 877-FYI 4 DHS (877 394-4347) You are welcome to report these concerns on the voicemail anonymously, or, if you would like a return call, please leave your name and number. If you are calling to report a potential security incident that has already occurred, please call the National Infrastructure Coordination Center at 202-282-9201. If you have a security emergency or terrorist incident, please hang up and call the FBI or 911 immediately.”
I really do believe that this Tip Line should receive a little more prominent place in the DHS web site. This Report Incidents web page would be a better place as would the Chemical Security web page. Actually though, even listing this on these two pages could be less than totally accessible. What DHS probably needs to consider doing is to come up with a comprehensive emergency contact web page and prominently display a link to that page on each and every web page on the DHS site. That way any one wishing to contact one of the DHS security programs in an emergency could get one-click access to point of contact (POC) information from any DHS web site, including the generic Actually, the POC information shouldn’t even be limited to just DHS security programs. A truly effective homeland security emergency contact page would include POC information for every Federal Government security program.

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