Friday, July 19, 2013

July 2013 CFATS Fact Sheet

This afternoon the CFATS folks posted the link to the latest updated monthly CFATS Fact Sheet on their web site. Most of the fact sheet is boilerplate, but the fact box on the right side of page shows the current CFATS statistics which is really what everyone is looking for. The table below shows the latest four months of data from the worksheet.

April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
Facilities currently covered by CFATS
Removed, reduced or modified COI holdings
Facility Assistance Visits
SSP Authorized
SSP Approved

Continuing Progress – Program Data

The numbers show a continuing increase in the number of SSPs that have been authorized and approved. Unfortunately, the numbers seem to indicate that the authorization rate has declined while the approval rate has held steady. The May-June period showed 89 authorizations while the June-July period showed only 67. The same time periods for the approval data shows 40 and 41 approvals respectively.

The first half of July does provide some legitimate excuses for not completing as many site visits. The 4th of July holiday falling on a Thursday almost certainly means that two days were not available in that week for regulatory visits. The next week had an additional two days taken out of the middle by the Chemical Sector Security Summit; I would like to think that at least the Area Commanders were participating at that activity.

There is one area that shows a significant increased rate of change in the same period; the decrease in the number of facilities that are no longer covered by the CFATS program. The change in May-June was 20 and June-July showed 33 fewer. At least I am assuming that it is a good thing, representing conscious decisions by management to reduce or eliminate the chemicals of interest (COI) held on site. Of course, it could be a negative statistic if it were due chemical companies going out of business. Or it could be essentially a meaningless number if facilities were making changes like going from 20% ammonia solutions to 19% ammonia solutions to avoid CFATS coverage. I really suspect that it is some sort of blend of the three.

What’s in the Words

ISCD is not spending a lot of time in preparing the written portion of the Fact Sheet, nor would I if this were my document to produce. In fact, the only new information in this month’s Fact Sheet is:

“As part of its outreach effort, DHS participated in the annual Chemical Sector Security Summit in July 2013, where CFATS personnel participated in various sessions. The Summit engaged both the public and private sectors to share industry best practices, conduct informational discussions, solicit feedback, and provide stakeholders and regulators the opportunity to discuss innovative approaches to further collaborate on strengthening chemical safety and security.”

While it might have been nice to include more information about the CSSS this is just a one page document with a limited amount of space. The limit to that space can be seen in the fact that the final sentence of the Fact Sheet was truncated. It reads:

“If DHS makes a final determination that a facility is high-risk, the facility must submit a Site Security Plan for DHS approval or an Alternative Security Program that includes security measures to meet applicable risk-“

The missing end of the sentence should probably read: “based performance standards”

Where is it at

I knew where to find the updated fact sheet at because an official at DHS notified me of the location. Normally I check the DHS Critical Infrastructure – Chemical Security web site, but that still has the link to the June 2013 document. The other location where I have found these links before was on the CFATS Knowledge Center, but that still shows the link for the April fact sheet. Fortunately for readers of this blog, DHS told me where to find the current fact sheet.

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