Chemical Security

Chemical Security

Last Published Date: November 15, 2013

The Department of Homeland Security

Chemical Security and Resilience: A Collaborative Effort

The manufacturing, use, storage, and distribution of chemicals must be secured from threats including terrorism and accidents. Some chemical facilities possess materials that could be stolen and used to make weapons. A successful attack on certain high-risk facilities could cause a significant number of deaths and injuries. The impacts of an accident or attack are far-reaching and can occur in a variety of ways.

Ensuring chemical security and resilience is critical to the well-being and safety of our Nation. In addition to voluntary programs, the Federal approach includes a regulatory framework for chemical substances spanning multiple agencies and subject areas.

From chemical lists managed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to chemical watch lists managed by law enforcement agencies and site inspections by the Department of Homeland Security, the current regulatory framework is both comprehensive and complex.

In August 2013, President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13650 Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security to improve chemical facility safety in coordination with owners and operators. The subsequent Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group (Working Group) – co-chaired by the Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Labor – leads the effort to implement the Executive Order and improve coordination and regulation of chemical facilities across the various agencies and Federal, state, local, and first responder communities. 

For the latest information related to the work being conducted by the EO Working Group, please see the “What’s New” section at You can also contact the Working Group at

DHS Chemical Security Programs – Preventing and Preparing

Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS)

The CFATS program identifies and regulates high-risk chemical facilities to ensure they have security measures in place to reduce the risks associated with these chemicals. The CFATS regulatory program uses a dynamic multi-tiered risk assessment process to identify and regulate high-risk chemical facilities by requiring them to meet and maintain performance-based security standards appropriate to the facilities and the risks they pose. DHS chemical security inspectors work in all 50 states to help ensure facilities have security measures in place to meet CFATS requirements.

Chemical Sector Partnerships

Most chemical facilities are privately owned, which renders a public-private partnership indispensable to an effective chemical security and resilience approach. The National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) established a partnership framework that enables federal, state, regional, local, tribal, territorial, and international governments to work with each other and their private sector partners. For chemical sector, this partnership is framed around the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council which includes both sector-wide programs as well as asset-specific protective programs to enhance this sector’s resilience.