Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Quarterly, July 2019

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Volume 5, Issue 2

CFATS Reauthorization Update

Long-term reauthorization for the CFATS program continues to be a priority for the Department. The 15-month extension of authority passed by Congress, and signed into law by the President in January 2019, reflects the importance of this anti-terrorism program. Since inception, CFATS has fundamentally enhanced chemical security across the U.S. As part of the reauthorization process, on June 4, 2019, Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security Brian Harrell and key industry stakeholders participated in a roundtable discussion before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) on reforming the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program.


In his testimony, AD Harrell emphasized the progress the CFATS program has made in bringing the nation’s chemical security standards to a higher level and the importance of passing a long-term CFATS reauthorization to ensure that this progress continues. Congress’ support for a CFATS reauthorization is critical because it provides stability and regulatory certainty for stakeholders to continue making investments in their security. It also allows the Department to continue improving the efficiency of the program’s core functions to meet today’s dynamic risk landscape.

Watch the HSGAC roundtable: Sensibly Reforming the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program.

Personnel Surety Program (PSP) to be Rolled Out to All CFATS Facilities


Screening individuals with access to restricted areas and critical assets for terrorist ties at all high-risk chemical facilities is a vital component at the core of CFATS. On May 23, 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)’s Information Collection Request (ICR), which authorizes the Agency to implement PSP at all high-risk facilities (to include Tier 3 and Tier 4 facilities). All CFATS-tiered facilities will be required to include measures that satisfy RBPS 12(iv)–screening for terrorist ties–in their Site Security Plan (SSP) or Alternative Security Program (ASP).

This month CISA will publish an implementation notice in the Federal Register that will describe how we plan to roll-out the program to the nearly 3,000 facilities in Tiers 3 and 4. We anticipate a multi-year phased approach that incorporates lessons learned from implementing PSP at facilities in Tiers 1 and 2. This approach will also allow us to assist facilities with the process of submitting information, and to not overburden any one company.

This implementation closes a critical gap in national security and fulfills CFATS’ regulatory and statutory obligation to address insider threat in the nation’s highest risk chemical facilities. An updated PSP fact sheet and PSP Sample Supplement will be provided to assist facilities in updating their SSP. This supplement can also be used by facilities electing to submit an ASP.

Note: There will be several sessions on this topic at the upcoming Chemical Sector Security Summit being held in New Orleans, July 16-18, 2019. (See below for registration information). Additionally, facilities may direct questions or request assistance by contacting the CFATS Helpdesk at 1-866-323-2957or emailing

Both resources will be posted on the PSP website.

CFATS Program Statistics

To date, DHS has received over 93,000 Top-Screen submissions from over 41,000 unique facilities. Of these, the CFATS program currently covers 3,326 facilities. Additionally, the program has completed 4,023 Authorization Inspections, 4,985 Compliance Inspections, and 5,538 Compliance Assistance Visits since the program's inception. 

CFATS monthly updates and more can be found at 

If you have any questions about the numbers reported, please contact CFATS@HQ.DHS.GOV.


CFATS Resources are Being Rebranded

As part of CISA's rebranding efforts to give products a consistent look and feel, all CFATS resources are currently being updated. CFATS resources that have been updated include:

  • CFATS-general factsheets (e.g., Authorization Inspection, CFATS Process, Tiering, etc.)
  • CFATS RBPS fact sheets

Please visit the CFATS Resources page to view these resources, and check back for more updated and new outreach materials you can download and print.

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Top-Screen Resubmission Applies to Your facility


Have you checked to see when your facility last completed an updated or revised Top-Screen survey? DHS requires Tier 1 and Tier 2 covered chemical facilities to submit an updated Top-Screen every two years since the previous Top-Screen submission, and Tier 3 and Tier 4 covered chemical facilities to submit an updated Top-Screen every three years.

To assist facilities in keeping track of this requirement, DHS sends reminder letters through the Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT) portal when it’s time to submit an updated Top-Screen. When a facility logs into CSAT, the Top-Screen will be open and waiting for completion. Facilities have 60 days to complete the Top-Screen once they’ve been notified to do so by the CSAT notification letter.

Please keep in mind that if your covered facility makes material modifications to its operations or site at any time, your facility is required to complete and submit a revised Top-Screen within 60 days of the material modification. As a best practice and to ensure efficient reporting processes, facilities are encouraged to predict and report the highest expected quantity of COI and all variations of concentration and packaging they anticipate possessing at a given time over the lifecycle of their operations. By taking this approach, facilities will not need to resubmit a Top-Screen when the COI quantity or concentration is reduced through normal operations.

Please visit for additional information, or read the
new FAQ (FAQ 1793) on the CFATS Knowledge Management Center.

Register for the 2019 Chemical Sector Security Summit

Registration is open for the 12th iteration of the Chemical Sector Security Summit to be held July 16-18 in
New Orleans, Louisiana. This is a unique networking and educational forum for representatives across the chemical and interconnected sectors—including communications, energy, transportation, and water—to learn, share perspectives, and engage.

REGISTER here and to view agenda/venue information. There is no fee to attend this event. Use the hashtag #ChemSummit on social media to help spread the word.

Learn more about this highly anticipated three-day event here.

We hope to see you at this signature event for securing chemicals and the chemical infrastructure in a dynamic threat environment.


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Upcoming Explosive Precursor Chemical Stakeholder Engagements


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is hosting a series of Explosive Precursor Chemical Stakeholder Engagements. With five engagements already completed in May and June, the Department is planning to hold five more engagements (one in-person and four webinars) with stakeholders to discuss ways to reduce the threat of improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in the United States (the topic of a DHS-sponsored study by the National Academy of Sciences).

Explosive precursor chemicals are used by adversaries in attacks worldwide, and are subject to voluntary and/or regulatory controls in the European Union, Canada, and various other nations. Industry and stakeholder expertise and insights are important to the Department as it begins engaging with Congress on the path forward to enhance the security of these chemicals at the point of sale.

Businesses that manufacture, buy, or sell explosive precursor chemicals who could be affected by—or that might otherwise have perspectives on—prospective approaches to address security issues related to a variety of explosive precursor chemicals should attend these meetings.

Register to attend a DHS Explosive Precursor Stakeholder Engagement.


In-person engagement — July 10, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

  • National Highway Institute Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (1310 N. Courthouse Road, Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22201)
  • Register at

Webinar — July 9, 9:30 am to 11:30 am EST

Webinar (West Coast) — July 11, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm EST

Planning is underway for additional webinars. Please email to receive updates on the dates/registration.

**Note: While DHS is currently required by statute to conduct rulemaking regarding security controls on sales of ammonium nitrate (AN), the purpose of these meetings is not to solicit further comments for consideration in the AN rulemaking. DHS would like to encourage attendees to focus their feedback and discussion on the expanded precursor chemical universe, and on their thoughts and ideas regarding voluntary and/or regulatory approaches to addressing the security issues associated with these chemicals. Additionally, these meetings are in no way intended to garner support for, or opposition to, any legislation that may ultimately be considered by Congress.**

Reducing Risks to the Supply Chain

CFATS RBPS 5 - Shipping, Receipt, and Storage


Resilient supply chains—whether for cyber systems or physical products—are crucial to national security. While businesses often think of supply chain risk with a focus on how a broken supply line can impact their logistics-related activities and bottom line, companies that manufacture, procure, or supply chemicals to others have a critical role in supply chain risk management.

It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that hazardous chemicals do not fall into the hands of bad actors. Unfortunately, incidents of supply chain exploitation involving chemicals are not rare. For example, recently, an agricultural products supplier in Washington received a call requesting the shipment of a container of pelletized fertilizer across the country to Florida. Recognizing the order from across the country as suspicious, and having been trained in how to respond, the facility refused the order and reported the incident to the state fusion center. Employee vigilance at the company may very well have prevented a serious security threat.

One of the CFATS security standards, Risk-Based Performance Standards (RBPS) 5—which covers shipping, receipt, and storage—is geared specifically toward reducing exploitation of supply chain vulnerabilities. RBPS 5 includes the implementing “product stewardship”—a product-centered approach encouraging manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to share responsibility for preventing potential theft and misuse of hazardous materials—such as chemicals of interest (COI). While CFATS does not prescribe specific security measures, several elements of product stewardship include strict vehicle identification and entry authorization, shipping and control procedures that are subject to a testing program to confirm reliability, identification checks for customer pickup, and procedures for handling an unknown carrier.


Another key element of “product stewardship” is the “know your customer” program, where customers meet established criteria to buy COI. The “know your customer” program reduces the potential misuse of chemicals through implementing proper vetting of a customer’s identity, business location, financial status, and chemical end use.

Additionally, CFATS requires facilities to track COI at covered facilities using various inventory control systems and databases. Advanced systems can rapidly detect when COI has been removed and add a level of security to onsite COI, while offering financial benefits by limiting business interruptions and loss of sales due to inventory shortages. This is where RBPS 8—which focuses on the security of cyber systems—also plays a critical role in securing the supply chain.

To reinforce your efforts to enhance supply chain security:

  1. Train your personnel in inventory management, vehicle identification, and other elements of product stewardship
  2. Develop partnerships with local law enforcement and others within your industry
  3. Report suspicious activity to your local authorities via the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative: Visit, and to the National Infrastructure Coordinating Center (NICC):
    Call 1-202-282-9201 or email
  4. Implement a “know your customer” program

Supply chain integrity affects us all, and securing it is a priority for the CFATS program and CISA. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that hazardous chemicals do not fall into the hands of bad actors.

Notice of Availability of Redacted ANSP Technical Assessments Report

On June 3, 2019, CISA published a Notice of Availability of the Sandia National Laboratory’s (SNL) Redacted Ammonium Nitrate Security Program Technical Assessments Report in the Federal Register (84 FR 25495).

This notice solicits comments on the report, its application to the proposed definition of ammonium nitrate as part of the ANSP rulemaking (76 FR 46907), the scientific methodology and test plans SNL employed, technical data generated by SNL and test results, and the factors affecting detonability thresholds.

CISA believes that the release of the redacted SNL report—which documents technical research, testing, and findings related to the feasibility of weaponizing commercially available products containing ammonium nitrate—will provide important information to those who manufacture, store, process, or engage in other transactions involving ammonium nitrate. Some portions of the report have been redacted to protect information that is law enforcement sensitive, or could reasonably be expected to harm national security and/or endanger individuals’ lives or physical safety because it could allow adversaries to develop effective, optimized improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and homemade explosives (HMEs).

Comments that will provide the most assistance to CISA will refer to a specific section, appendix, figure, and/or table of the technical report, explain the reason for the comment, and include other information or authority that supports the comment.

The redacted SNL report can be accessed in the Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate Program docket (DHS-2008-0076).

Comments will be accepted through September 3, 2019.

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Request for Assistance

Contact the CFATS Help Desk for timely support Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM EST at
866-323-2957 or email

Request a CFATS presentation or a Compliance Assistance Visit: 

Contact the DHS Chemical Security Inspector in your area by emailing

Web Resources


CFATS Process:

CSAT SSP Revisions & Tips:

Chemical Security:

CFATS Knowledge Center is a repository of FAQs, latest news, and resources: