Tuesday, October 25, 2016

TSA Publishes 60-Day ICR Renewal Notice

Yesterday the DHS Transportation Security Administration (TSA) published a 60-day information collection request (ICR) renewal notice in the Federal Register (80 FR 73126-73127) to support the TSA’s Transportation Worker’s Identification Credential (TWIC) application and security assessment program. The request includes changes in the burden estimate and description of the affected individuals covered by the ICR.

Burden Estimate

The notice provides the numbers that will be included in the renewal that will be submitted to the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) after the public notice process is complete. There is no comparison provided with the currently approved ICR. The table below provides that comparison.

Burden Hours
Burden Cost

There is no specific explanation in the notice for the changes in the burden hours or burden cost. When no explanation (or even identification) of a change is made it is extremely difficult for the public to comment on the appropriateness (of either the magnitude or the necessity) of that change.

Other Changes

The notice changes the description of the information collection requirement. The new description now specifically mentions the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program:

“Also, individuals in the field of transportation who are required to undergo a security threat assessment in certain other programs, such as the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism (CFATS) program, may apply for a TWIC® and the associated security threat assessment to satisfy CFATS requirements.”

This addition reflects the recent notice the TSA’s description of the term ‘field of transportation’ that I have previously discussed. This had been alluded to in the justification memo that TSA submitted in supporting the currently approved ICR:

“There are also some worker populations in the non-maritime environment who may be authorized/required by TSA to obtain a TWIC given the nature of their work and required access to controlled areas/facilities.  These individuals would be required to complete the same enrollment process as the TWIC-maritime population.”

It will be interesting to see what estimates (if any) TSA provides for the number of CFATS related TWIC submissions. Again without TSA providing an explanation of how this change reflects the burden estimate, it is difficult to comment on this change in the burden.

The notice also briefly notes the following changes in the ICR:

• To expand enrollment options and the potential use of biographic and biometric (e.g., fingerprints, iris scans, and/or photo) information;
• To remove the requirement to collect information about the Extended Expiration Date (EED) TWIC; and
• To revise the fee collection for the TWIC® Program in light of changes to the fee the FBI charges for fingerprint processing (reduction of $2.75 per TWIC submission).

There is no explanation of how these changes will affect the burden estimates. TSA is not alone in their failure to provide detailed explanations for how changes in an ICR will affect the burden estimate; many (most) of the ICR notices that I review also do a poor job of explaining what they are doing. It makes providing effective comments on such notices very difficult. I do not really think that the agencies are trying to avoid having to respond to comments. It is just simpler to create short, boiler-plate ICR notices. And most of the public does not pay attention to ICR notices in any case.

Public Comments

The TSA is soliciting public comments on this ICR. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.Regulations.gov; Docket # TSA-2006-24191). I will be submitting a copy of this blog post as comment.

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