Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Full Committee Draft of FY 2015 DHS Spending Bill Published

Today the House Appropriations Committee published the Full Committee Draft of the bill to fund DHS for FY 2015. The bill is substantially the same as the one that was published a couple of weeks by the Homeland Security Subcommittee. It certainly contains the two CFATS provisions that I discussed earlier.

The Committee also published a draft of their Committee Report that would accompany the bill when it is reported to the Whole House. This contains a great deal more information that may be of interest to readers of this blog.


The report details the amount of money that would be provided to the Infrastructure Security Compliance Division to fund the CFATS program and the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program (ANSP), if/when those regulations actually get published. The Committee will be recommending $83.3 Million for ISCD. This is up from the $81.0 Million allotted for FY 2014, but down from the $87.0 Million requested by the Administration. There is no threat this year to withhold any of those funds.

There is a lengthy discussion about the CFATS program on pages 89 and 90 of the Committee Report. Included in that discussion is a backhanded compliment to recent program improvements overseen by Director Wulf:

“Since that time [the 2006 adoption of the §550 authorizing language], and in spite of ample appropriations provided by Congress, DHS has only recently begun to make considerable progress in carrying out its regulatory responsibilities under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program.”

The discussion goes on to explain the purpose of the $2.3Million year-to-year increase in funding enhance critical efforts related to compliance with CFATS, including:

• Developing an automated process for identification of CFATS outliers [non-reporting facilities];
• Addressing concerns raised by GAO regarding the risk-tiering methodology; and
• Fulfilling other requirements [almost certainly including the ANSP and SSP implementation].

There is an interesting discussion at the end of the CFATS section that I haven’t seen addressed by Congress before. It is a discussion about the techniques used to ‘seal’ [a device used to indicate that a load has not been tampered with since it was loaded] chemical containers in transit. The CFTATS discussion concludes by saying:

“The Committee is aware of concerns that storage and transit cargo containers used by the chemical industry may rely on outdated mechanical sealing technologies. The Committee encourages DHS to work with the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council to disseminate information about proven next generation sealing technologies to the chemical sector, including through the Chemical Sector Supply Chain Good Practices Guide [NOTE: this is a SOCMA link not a DHS link, I can’t find this on a DHS web site].”

This is addressed again during the discussion about the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). There they discuss the use of Reusable Electronic Conveyance Security (RECONS) solutions and recommend that DHS “consider piloting the use of commercially available RECONS that integrate physical security mechanisms with wireless tracking and security systems” (pg 117).

ICS Security

There is actually a brief discussion of control system security, termed ‘operational cybersecurity’. Again, as part of the S&T discussion, the Committee recommends S&T, “in collaboration with NPPD, establish operational cybersecurity research initiatives” (pg 116). There does not appear to be any additional funding for the exercise, however.

That lack of funding is in-line with the Committee’s planned reduction of NPPD’s cybersecurity spending by $46.7 Million from last year and an almost $1 Million less than requested by the Administration.

Markup Hearing

As I mentioned earlier the full Committee will meet tomorrow to markup this bill and I expect that it will be introduced later this week. The way that the House is moving on spending bills, I expect that this will reach the floor this month; well before the Summer Recess.

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