US mulls strengthening chemical security
Recently, the Department of Homeland Security co-hosted the 8th Annual Chemical Sector Security Summit in Baltimore, Maryland with focused on strengthening chemical security and resilience across the country. Highlights from this year’s summit included a keynote address from National Protection and Programmes Directorate Under Secretary Suzanne Spaulding, who discussed the importance of having both a strong cyber and physical security plan in place. In addition, there was a status report on Executive on Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, a review of the Chemical Facility AntiTerrorism Standards (CFATS) programme, the importance of voluntary programs and resources, and congressional perspective on current and future legislation related to the chemical sector.
This year’s summit came at an important time when the US is beginning the transition to implementing the recommendations brought forward under the President’s executive order. The summit discussed areas where the US has taken critical steps in bringing together regulatory representatives and stakeholders with a vested interest in reducing the risks associated with the handling and storage of chemicals. The status report summarises progress, focusing on actions to date, findings and lessons learned, challenges, and short and long-term priority actions, and focus on five specific thematic areas: strengthen community planning and preparedness; enhance federal operational coordination; improve data management; modernise policies and regulation and incorporate stakeholder feedback and develop best practices.