DHS Issues Personnel Surety Program Information Collection Request (ICR) Notice

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published its third Information Collection Request (ICR) Notice in the Federal Register describing requirements for the submission of information to the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) in accordance with the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Personnel Surety Program (PSP).

Unlike the first three background check requirements under Risk-Based Performance Standard (RBPS) 12 (identity verification, legal authorization to work, and criminal history), the fourth element, identifying individuals with terrorist ties, requires the use of information held only in government-maintained databases (i.e., the TSDB) that are unavailable to chemical facilities. In general, and despite significant concerns raised by industry, DHS has not altered its approach to the TSDB process.

Facilities will be required to submit information to DHS for two classes of personnel:

(1) Facility personnel who have or are seeking access to restricted areas or critical assets; and

(2) Unescorted visitors who have or are seeking access to restricted areas or critical assets.

DHS refers to these two classes collectively as "affected individuals," and notes that classifying contractors as "facility personnel" or "visitors" should be "...a facility-specific determination, based on facility security, operational requirements, and business practices." Specifically, facilities have flexibility in determining who will be allowed access to restricted areas, and therefore can limit the number of people who will require vetting against the TSDB. Facility personnel and visitors without access to restricted areas or critical assets are not included in the program.

Among other issues, DHS reiterated its position that it supports the sharing and reuse of vetting results. "Affected individuals" who have successfully undergone TSDB vetting under other federal programs such as Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) or Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME), will not need to repeat the process under the CFATS PSP. However, facilities will still need to submit the affected individual's personal information to DHS to ensure their credentials are current and valid. Upon receipt, DHS will send a copy to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to validate against the TSDB. At that time, TSA will determine whether the individual's information matches the record in the TSDB.

DHS will seek public comment on this most recent ICR Notice until July 14, 2011.


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