2015 Chemical Sector Security Summit & Expo Recap

Co-Funded by DHS and SOCMA

July 21–23, 2015
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Alexandria, VA

Contact: SOCMA at meetings@socma.com

View 2015 Photos

DHS Assistant Secretary Caitlin DurkovichWith the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Authorization and Accountability Act granting a four-year extension to the program, the 9th Annual Chemical Sector Security Summit & Expo focused heavily on the tremendous progress made in implementing CFATS during the past year and movement by various governmental agencies on the President’s Executive Order on Chemical Facility Safety and Security.

Nearly 600 people registered for this year's Security Summit, which is co-funded annually by SOCMA and the Department of Homeland Security. SOCMA President Larry Sloan welcomed everyone to Day 1 of the Summit and shared brief opening remarks. View Sloan's full remarks here.

DHS Director David Wulf, who oversees the agency’s Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD) within the Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP), told attendees the CFATS program is “hitting its stride.” Almost 2,500 site inspections have been completed and nearly 2,000 Site Security Plans (SSPs) approved. With this current progress, less than 15 percent of final tier facilities need to be inspected at this time. The U.S. Government Accountability Office’s prior projection that it would take nine years to complete the inspection and approval work on CFATS has now been reduced to just one year, he said.

Both Wulf and DHS Assistant Secretary Caitlin Durkovich credit the success of CFATS to strong relationships the agency has built with organizations like SOCMA, which have worked with DHS and provided feedback to improve the program. “Broad support for long-term #CFATS authorization is a testament to the progress the program has made,” Wulf said.

DHS is also very close to approving the personnel surety information request, and the agency continues to work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other organizations to carry out the President’s Executive Order on Chemical Facility Safety and Security. Wulf says much of the work on the Executive Order is now being done at the regional level with the development of standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Amy Pope, Deputy Homeland Security Advisor and Deputy Assistant to the President, stressed the importance of collaboration and information sharing to implement the President’s Executive Order during her keynote address on Day 1 of the Chemical Sector Security Summit. She told attendees that part of implementing the EO includes establishing working groups in all 10 federal regions. And, Pope encouraged everyone to participate in any way possible to improve safety and security in our nation.

Specialty chemical manufacturers can breathe a sigh of relief regarding inherently safer technology (IST). Agencies across the board said they don't see a mandate coming on IST at this time. However, they said it could be considered in Process Safety Management (PSM) rulemaking.

Sharing a DHS update on Day 2 of the Summit, Durkovich said the U.S. threat environment is elevated and dynamic, and the threat environment is less predictable. The Battlefield is now here at home, and it is incumbent that we work together to make sure we can mitigate the threat. “Chemical security a shared commitment,” Durkovich said, “and we must remain vigilant and report suspicious activity no matter how small.”

The Security Summit included a variety of panels and breakout sessions on issues ranging from Unmanned Aircraft Systems, to International Trends and Global Partners in Chemical Security, to Cyber Risk Management and Safeguarding Chemical Infrastructure, and Incident Management: The Role of Social Media Messaging, among others.

The Security Summit kicked off on Tuesday, July 21, with a series of workshops geared toward new and emerging security professionals.

A networking reception sponsored by SOCMA member G4S was held at the end of Day 1, and SOCMA members were also treated to a networking dinner at Virtue Feed and Grain in historic Old Town Alexandria on July 21.

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