tv [untitled] April 28, 2012 2:00am-2:30am EDT
coming up, a house hearing on the security of chemical plants then a senate hearing on preventing medical research from being used by terrorists and the is that the veterans affairs committee looks at providing mental health services to veterans. last month, homeland security officials testified as a house hearing about a program that monitors chemical facilities. an internal memo recently detailed problems with the management and inspection process. rand beers testifies that u.s.
chemical facilities are are more secure since the creation of the program. this hearing of the house, homeland security committee just under two hours. >> that makes two of us and with the approval of the minority that we can start with the two on our side, we shall start. the committee and homeland security subcommittee on cybersecurity, infrastructure and protection technologies will come to order. the committee is meeting today to examine chemical facilities and terrorism standards program at the department of homeland security and before i start, i just want to mention that we would remind our guests today that demonstrations from the audience including the use of signs, placards and t-shirts as well as verbal outbursts are a violation of the rules of the house. the chair wishes to thank our
guests for cooperation and proper decorum. i would recognize myself for an opening statement. i wish to thank undersecretary beers, director anderson, deputy director wulf for cooperation and providing committee with a detailed brief iing on challeng facing the infrastructure security compliance division on february 7th. i was upset when i learned about the widespread mismanagement, training and recruiting failures in the compliance division, which we now are learning about more than five years after the program was authorized. some examples cited for 4200 plans submitted with no plans being finally approved. wo workers hired without appropriate skill levels. no adequate training program for chemical inspectors having been established. supervisors selected based on personal relationships rather
than leadership ability and experience. the leaked anderson memo also stated that the congressional mandate forced development of the cfats program at an impractical pace. being that the accelerated pace pushed by congress resulted in poor program implementation, inappropriate hirings and wasteful expenditure of funds. now congress directed the secretary in our 2007 appropriations bill to develop a regulatory framework within six months to address the security of u.s. chemical facilities. i believe that was a shorter period than in the bill we worked on in this subcommittee. however, this short timeline was an expression of congressional urgency and concern regarding the threat to our chemical facilities and i don't believe it really was a hard deadline, but none the less, we wish to urge upon the executive branch
our concern at that time and the hope that this would be exped e expedited. since that time, the homeland security department has conducted briefings where these problems were never mentioned. last year, i along with my colleagues on both sides, championed a long-term extension of the department's cfats authority. hr 910. this was also consistent with the request by the administration of a long-term extension and at that time, compliance problems were never referenced to us. to the contrary, the cfats program was often cited as a model for securing critical infrastructure. that was the hope for those of us that had any part in offering the legislation in the first instance. unfortunately, these program challenges were detailed in the anderson memo requested by you
mr. beers and then exposed by fox news. no one likes to be surprised, especially those of us in congress. we have enough of surprises, i guess, that we create for ourselves. mismanagement of this division was disturbing particularly to someone like those of us on this subcommittee who have been strong cfats advocates. so while the report was extremely disappointing, i want to emphasize that the cfats program has many phases and what appears to be failures contained or pointed out in the memo are in the compliance or final phase of the program. cfats has unquestionably improved the security of our chemical industry. identifying chemical of interest and establishing levels for those chemicals. it is also required high risk facilities to conduct vulnerability assessments, develop plans and adopt security
standards to mitigate identified vulnerabilities. the government has already spent hurrica hundreds of millions of dollar ons this program while our private sector has invested billions. i believe those are assets and investments that ought not to be waesed and my hope is that while the memo relates to failures in the compliance phase of the cfats program, that this is not used as -- or misread by people to believe that we have wasted money in the government and that the private sector has wasted money as they have dealt with cfats security improvements. rather, i believe, we have had a model of private-public partnership and i hope that this will be continued. i was pleased to see your quick
response response to these management failures by your listed items. what was missing in the action item list it appears is priorities and timelines. and so, without that, it seems to my priority and supervision, you end up hiring unequalled inspectors and paying them for jobs that don't exist. the anderson memo reveals the cfats program was victimized by mismanagement, but mismanagement's correctable. and knowing indicates the fail eyre yur of the underlying program and i believe that you shared that sentiment at least as evidenced by conversations we've had. you believe that the program is a worthy one. one that needs to be completed. that's why i assume the white house has supported the idea of extending the life of this program. i look forward to hearing your plans to reorganize this office so it can accomplish its
mission, ensuring plan, inspecting those facilities and ensuring they implement their risk base security measures outlined in their ssp and it is obvious mr. beers, that you're responsible for the management of the program as under the director, you're in charge of cfats, so adjustments of these management difficulties are under your watch and we will be very interested to hear how you are and intend to correct those failures. it is my belief there ought be no many surprises. we will conduct vigorous oversight of the infrastructure, security and compliance division action plan. this oversight will include
quarterly briefings on what action items and reforms have been implemented. i've included a more detailed report question and i ask it be made a part of the record. it is my pleasure to recognize the gentlelady from new york, mrs. clark, for our opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for calling this hearing on the chemical facilities antiterrorism standards program. the undersecretary's office provided us with a can feel mem ran confidential memorandum report from 2007, but was leaked to the news media and a summary article published in december. we had been provided with a rare look into the internal workings of a regulatory program experiencing drastic spasms.
the cfats issues before us today are greater than just the leaked internal memorandum. the department established cfats in 2007 and received $442 million since then in proepuated funds to implement both the cfats and immoan yum nitrate problems. establishment of a regulatory framework and has annually engaged stakeholders in an annual security summit. the memorandum contains information that raises questions about the content received in those presentations. the information memorandum states that millions of dollars of training contracts have resulted in no compliance inspector training. the information technology systems are insufficient to meet
iscv needs and that regional and headquarter locations invested in unneeded capabilities. the information memorandum identifies a series of institutional flaws such as a lack of a system for tracking the usage of consumable supplies, pay grades not aligning with job requirements and weak leadership providing the appearance of favorites, cronyism and retribution. and here's what's really disturbing. the fact that dhs raised none of those points. instead, presenting the appearance of an ongoing regulatory program. while the undersecretary has testified he was not aware of the scope of the problems until 2011, the senior iscd official in charge would seemingly have poeszed detailed information not able to the undersecretary.
additionally, conditioning has required reports and briefings on facets of the cfats program, none of which reported the challenges iscd was experiencing. it is our job to attempt to identify the root causes of the challenges experienced by iscd in order to avoid similar problems in other agencies and attempt to identify how prior funds were spent and how we should attempt to identify the officials responsible for the failures in iscd performance. mr. chairman, besides the fact find thag we need to do rkts there's a bigger question of authorization. it seems only reasonable to me that in light of these leaked memorandums, this, excuse me, this leaked memorandum and the host of problems it outlines for
cfats program, it would behoove congress to think again about giving the program an extended authorization without further committee guidance. as you know, i offered to amendments limiting the seven-year authorization proposed in hr 901 and i think it looks pretty good today. last, congress, we brought in all the stakeholders to craft legislation to fully authorize the program. it was a major undertaking. we brought in industry and labor and everyone else who had a concern about this issue. that's a kind of guidance and authorization that troubled program needs. what i do know is that the front line workers in every government program, whether it is to be law enforcement, management or regulatory programs are the heart of the service to the american people. to protect us, they make sure
things are secure and they interact with business and industry and citizens every day. these are the important workers in your program and i am very keen to hear the testimony today of david wright who represents the inspectors, the lead workers. we need their vus on the problems if we are to solve these challenges. mr. chairman, i hope we are going to hear some of the answers we need today and i yield back the balance of my time. >> opening stams may be submitted for the record. we are pleased to have three distinguished witnesses. rand beers, the undersecretary department of homeland security.
a position he's held since june of 2009. in this role, he's tasked to reduce risk and collaborate with governments, the private sector, international bodies to prevent, respond to and mitigate threats from act of terrorism and natural disaster and other events. penny anderson serves as -- office of infrastructure protection. responsible for leading the implementation of dhs regulatory authority for the high risk facilities as well as supporting national level critical infrastructure risk management, prepardness and protection programs. before joining nppd, mrs. a anderson served as a transportation secretary of administration for west michigan from november 2007 to july 2011
and she was the primary point of coordination and oversight transportation security matters in west michigan including implementation of all tsa security compliance programs in that region. mr. david wulf joined the department of homeland security in july of 2011 as the deputy director of the infrastructure security compliance division. within the office of infrastructure protection. he leads the national implementation of the chemical facility antiterrorism standards program to assess high risk chemical facilities, promote collaborative security planning and ensure that covered facilities meet risk based performance standards. mr. wulf also manages the efforts to implement a regulatory regime for immonium nitrate projects.
serving among other rules as chief bureau of affairs and national explosives training and research. thank you all for being here. your full, written testimony will be made a part of the record. we would ask you for a summary of five minutes. we'll start from my left to right with secretary beers first. >> thank you, chairman and ranking member clark. it's a pleasure to be here today to discuss the department's efforts to regulate security under the chemical facilities antiterrorism standards act. alongside me today as you indicated are penny anderson and david wulf. they manage cfats program and
are also the authors of the internal assessment, which i will discuss shortly. here with me today to discuss questions you might have about the original content of that assessment. as you are aware, the department's current stat choir authority to implement cfats as amended was recently extended through october 4, 2012. i strongly believe that the cfats program is a program we need and i am confidence it has made america safer and would welcome the opportunity to continue to work with this committee and congress to further improve this vital national security program. since cfats inception, we've issued the basic rule, jointly conducted two surveys with industries that have a substantial enough plotty of
these chemicals determined to be high risk. after receiving the initial submissions of more than 40,000 facilities potentially under the program, we've narrowed the number to approximately 4500. in that process, 1600 facilities completely removed their chemicals of interest and more than 700 facilities have reduced their holdings of chemicals of interest to levels resulting in at the facilities are no longer being considered high risk. these actions, many of which mppd believed were the choice of the facilities after the passage of section 550 have helped reduce the number of high risk chemical facilities located throughout the nation and have correspondingly made the nation nor secure. the department has done much work over the past few years to establish and implement the unprecedented regulatory program, but cfats clearly has challenges that still need to be
addressed. in recognition of this, upon the arrival of the program's new director and deputy director this past summer, i asked them to provide for my consideration their views on the successes and challenges of the program. candid, honest assessments and critiques are valuable tools in evaluating progress and determining where improvements are needed. further more in a an unprecedented program like cfats, such corrections can be expected and ongoing decisions will need to be made. in late 2011, a detailed report was hand delivered to me in november. it is important to note that in addition to the referenced challenges, the report also purr posed for my consideration, a charted path to addressing these challenges. specifically, the action plan with detailed recommendations for addressing the issues identified are those that we have shared with the committee
and since my receipt of a report, we now have nearly 100 action items contained in this plan and each has been assigned to a member of the program's senior leadership team for action and we've already seen progress on many of these items. . for accountability, planning and tracking purposes, the members of the leadership team have been asked to provide milestones in a schedule for completion in east of the tasks assigned and the program's acting chief of staff will monitor progress. in addition, program leadership meets weekly with my principal deputy under secretary suzanne spolding and provides updates. i'm happy to report that we have made tangible progress in addressing some of the challenges of this report. one issue identified is the completion of sight security plans and we have reviewed those and i think a consistent,
reasonable and timely fashion. we have an interim review process allowing the department to authorize tier one facility plans in a more effective and timely manner. using this approach, iscd has been able to more than quad roop l the number authorized plans. specifically as of january, we have 55 ssps that have been authorized and expect to complete all the security plan authorization to notified facilities in the coming months ahead. iscd expects to begin issuing authorizations by 2012. while this is underway, we are working on a more efficient and long-term approach to reviews for tiers two, three and four. the department takes its reasonability seriously for the cfats program and the nation's
security and we are moving forward quickly and streenlgically to address the challenges before us. again, we believe that cfats is making the nation safer and we are dedicated to its success. whether he will make the necessary course kreks to improve the program. thank you, sir and madam and all the members for holding this important meeting and i am happy to respond to any of the questions that you might have. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary, and now, mrs. anderson. >> thank you, the particularly appreciate the opportunity to provide some concepts for this internal memorandum and as we're all aware, that is what this was. it was not an investigative report. it was an internal memorandum to
my leadership expressing our observations about what we thought our priorities should be. what our challenges are and most importantly, about the way forward and because it was written in that context and meant in that way, it didn't provide the context that would have been necessary for external readers of the program. and again, i think that the opportunity in that regard to provide some context. i would last like to say that while i viewed the challenges identified within that memorandum as not insignificant, i also did not view them as insurmountable. i think a lot of good work has been done by a lot of really good, hard working people and that we can make the corrections necessary to keep us on the right track and moves down the road and i again look forward to discussing with you that way forward. thank you, sir. >> thank you. the chair now recognizes mr. wulf to testify. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
i don't want to reiterate the remarks of the undersecretary and director anderson, but i very much appreciate the opportunity to be here today both director anderson and i arrived at iscd about eight months ago and i just cannot say enough about how excited i was to join the team at the department and nppd and specifically, within our division. it is a really filled with just a huge number of talented and committed individuals who are just completely dedicated to moving the cfats and program forward. as director anderson mentioned, our report did identify a number of significant challenges, in no way are those insurmountable. we're looking forward to continuing to work with our
industry stakeholders as well as stakeholders within the union to move the program forward and looking forward to answering questions about the program today. thank you so much. >> all right. we'll have first round of questions, five minutes apiece. i'll recognize myself for the purpose of asking questions. if i were to take the testimony you gave now, i would think everything is hunky dori, we're moving ahead. i would hope that would be a case, but in the memo, you outlined some serious problems. if you were to make an overarching statement about the nature of the problems, what would it be? mrs. anderson?
>> thank you, sir, for that question. an overarching statement about the challenges. i think that many of the challenges that we're facing are challenges that are not uncommon to a new program standing up in a government environment, standing up very quickly. the -- statement you often hear is building airplane while flying it. what we are doing, i think, is moving in the right direction. i think that a lot of the work that has done is important. it has provided a sound basis for the program technically. and that the vast majority of the challenges are not programatic, but more ad in nature. >> one of the first things you mentioned in the memo is at the beginning of the cfats program, the specific requirements resulted in extraordinary pressure to develop
implementation of the program at an impractical pace. what do you mean by that? congress oftentimes urges the executive branch to get moving on something. this is important. you know, we always use the expression, it's not rocket science. i mean, this does involve science and does involve chemicals, chemistry, et cetera, but what's the cause of this extraordinary pressure and is it really an excuse for what you found? >> mr. chairman, i wasn't here when the program stood up and it's difficult for me to speak who was in people's minds, people who, who, are not here to talk about that. but what has been expressed to me and i would certainly defer to the undersecretary to clarify or add to this, is that there was every effort to understand, recognize congress' sense of urgency in terms of the
importance, the criticality of this program, making sure that chemical facilities were secure and that we mitigate the risk through those facilities and in the spirit of that, we rushed forward rather quickly and -- again, in the spirit of any new program, hit some bumps in the road and have had to take some course corrections. it's a big program. a complex program. and i think it's not unusual to encounter some challenges along the way. >> secretary beers, there's the administration has asked for an extension. it's not permanent. about as permanent as you can get in the executive branch. a multiyear extension. one of the things that i have supported because i do believe in this program, but what would you say to the critics who suggest that the revelations that are contained in this memo