Larry Sloan Addresses Largest Security Gathering in Chemical Sector
Speech by Lawrence Sloan, President & CEO, SOCMA
2011 Chemical Sector Security Summit
JULY 6, 2011
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the fifth annual Chemical Sector Security Summit & Expo. I am pleased to share the stage with leaders from the Department of Homeland Security such as Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection Todd Keil, who I will introduce shortly, and our distinguished guest, Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute.
Every year, my colleagues and I have come before you to tout the educational importance of this summit and its shared value to industry and government alike – clearly, I don’t need to tell you about its merits. Your recurring presence -- since the very first conference five years ago -- and the need to annually increase our capacity for this event, speaks volumes. Today, I’m proud to say that we have nearly 700 people in attendance, which is our largest ever. You have made this summit arguably the single most important gathering place each year for security professionals in the chemical sector.
That said, there’s a lot that’s new to this year’s program. We have panels focusing on tactics, techniques and procedures of well-known terrorist groups and emerging threats. Additionally, you will get an inside look at DHS’ latest research and development activities, new and developing initiatives to enhance global supply chain security and lessons learned first-hand from the inspection process. This represents months of organization and planning by the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council, of which SOCMA is a member, and the Department of Homeland Security.
The Sector Council does vital work on the behalf of the chemical industry all throughout the year. This Summit is the yearly culmination of a lot of our behind the scenes efforts and brings together individual stakeholders from the chemical sector, academia, federal government, security industry, and others with a vested interest in chemical security. Everyone here understands the need to exchange threat and vulnerability information with one another and find ways to better protect our critical chemical infrastructure.
Since the need for comprehensive security regulations for the chemical industry was first identified, there has been unprecedented cooperation between the Sector Council and DHS in promoting compliance and improving upon the standards. With companies in the midst of making improvements to meet the requirements of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, and DHS beginning to conduct inspections, it is ever more important for us to cultivate and preserve this partnership.
The work we achieve here as a group and through regular Sector Council activities is ongoing and requires the involvement of everyone. Neither industry nor government alone can successfully safeguard our infrastructure, our employees and our communities -- only through effective collaboration can we ensure the continued efficacy of these standards.
It is equally important that we continue to collaborate with Congress, which has been paying significant attention to chemical security in the short 6 months of the 112th Congress.
With the approval of two separate 7-year CFATS extensions in their respective committees in the House of Representatives, and of a 3-year extension in the Senate, enactment of a long-term reauthorization of the program is closer than ever to becoming reality.
Not since the implementing language for CFATS was first approved in 2006 have we seen such strong bipartisan support for these standards. Committees in both the House and the Senate have recently and overwhelmingly voted in favor of continuing these standards for the long-term This is a significant endorsement that both DHS and industry are meeting the expectations that Congress set forth five years ago. Clearly this sends a message that additional regulations are neither warranted, nor necessary, at this time.
Despite the progress made so far this Congress, there are opportunities to improve upon implementation of the current standards. For example – there needs to be a concrete and viable personnel surety program for vetting employees that work at regulated sites; and an expedited review process for Site Security Plans as well as plans for any tier site submitted through the Alternate Security Program. I know DHS is aware of these needs and is working with us to address them.
What Members Are Saying…
“SOCMA has had an extraordinary impact on the success of our business. There is no doubt that without SOCMA we definitely would not be as successful as we are today. The organization is an invaluable resource. We don’t part with dues dollars lightly, but believe every dollar spent with SOCMA has provided immeasurable returns.”