Three-Year CFATS Reauthorization Signed Just Before DHS Program Was Set to Expire

A day before it was set to expire, President Trump signed a three-year reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program.

The House passed the renewal this week and the Senate passed it earlier in the month.

Since the program’s inception, thousands of high-risk facilities have undergone CFATS authorization inspections, compliance inspections, and compliance assistance visits.

“As you have heard me say before, chemical security is national security,” said Brian Harrell, assistant director for infrastructure security at DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). “The CFATS program has matured over the years to what it is today — a relevant and streamlined program with the goal of making high-risk facilities more secure. Our inspectors, chemists, engineers, and HQs staff go to work every day knowing the threat is real and they have long maintained their focus on our national security mission.”

National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) President and CEO Eric R. Byer said after House passage of the bill that “since 2007, this program has been woven into the fabric of the chemical distribution industry, ensuring high-risk facilities work with DHS regulators to put measures in place that protect against potential acts of terrorism.”

“Over the years, NACD and its member companies have worked tirelessly not only to implement CFATS, but also to ensure it remains a fixture in the United States’ national security strategy,” Byer said. “The program has given chemical distributors the certainty needed to make important security investments at their facilities, which is both good for business and an important component in keeping our communities secure.”

Robert F. Helminiak, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates’ vice president of legal and government relations, called CFATS “integral to the specialty chemicals industry, and our members are both happy and relieved at its extension,”

“Reauthorization provides our industry with the certainty needed to make long-term facility security investments and enables DHS to continue running the CFATS program efficiently, ensuring it properly protects against security threats across the nation,” he said.

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Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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