ILTA Attends CISA Chemical Security Summit 2020
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in collaboration with the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council, held its annual Chemical Security Summit online in December during a three-week period, meeting once a week in four-hour installments. The event covered a variety of topics across the issue of chemical security with presentations from officials and experts from multiple organizations and industries.
Topics ranged from broad to specific, with a general update on the state of chemical security in the nation and the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program on the first day. According to CISA’s Associate Director for Chemical Security Dave Wulf, the threat of chemical terrorism is at an all-time high and has only been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Security and facility personnel working from home or being out of commission due to the virus has proved a considerable challenge for the chemical storage industry, but the reauthorization of the CFATS program guarantees that the government and industry can continue to work together to safeguard the country.
Wulf highlighted the adapting regulatory needs and responsibilities of government and industry but was happy to report that the clean, three-year reauthorization of the CFATS program was brought about by strong stakeholder support provided by the likes of ILTA and its member companies. Looking forward, Wulf expects some changes to be proposed to the CFATS program in the hope of streamlining the inspection and reporting process, as well as the development of voluntary chemical security initiatives with an added incentives system to encourage participation.
A later session on security incidents and trends within the industry provided by a panel of industry experts and a CISA official discussed the broader threat environment facing chemical storage at this moment. An increasing number of attempted thefts or break-ins, as well as an increase in bad actor employee incidents, has been a cause of alarm.
However, collaborative working groups both internal to companies and industry groups such as ILTA have been pushing to bolster communication on a variety of issues and challenges, including along the lines of human resources, logistics, legal and security.
The panel also discussed the breakdown of the supply chain and the increasing difficulty of managing state and locality-specific regulations. The group concluded by stressing the importance of open communication across the industry and with all levels of government, all the while looking to consistently maintain worker health and safety.