On Feb. 07, 2019, Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a new request for comment, Assessing the Risk-Mitigation Value of TWIC® at Maritime Facilities. This notice is located in the Federal Register at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-02-07/pdf/2019-01377.pdf .
Please note that this notice requests comments on two items: number one, how effective the TWIC program is at enhancing security and reducing security risks for regulated maritime facilities and vessels, and number two, specific issues concerning an annual information collection about assessing the risk mitigation value of TWIC® at maritime facilities.
From the notice:
By law, the Secretary of Homeland Security is required to commission an assessment of how effective the transportation security card program is at enhancing security and reducing security risks for regulated maritime facilities and vessels. Through the transportation security card program, the Department issues the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC®). Legislation passed August 2, 2018 restricts the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) from implementing any rule requiring the use of biometric readers for TWIC® until after submission to Congress of the results of this effectiveness assessment.
The Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), a federally funded research and development center operated by the RAND Corporation, will collect information from those involved in maritime security on behalf of the DHS S&T Research and Development Partnerships (RDP) Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) Program Management Office. HSOAC will visit regulated maritime facilities and terminals and conduct interviews using a semi-structured interview method to collect information. HSOAC will analyze this information and use it to produce a public report with its research findings.
DATES: Comments are encouraged and accepted until April 8, 2019.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS–2018–0052, at:
• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Please follow the instructions for submitting comments.
• Mail and hand delivery or commercial delivery: Science and Technology Directorate, ATTN: Chief Information Office—Mary Cantey, 245 Murray Drive, Mail Stop 0202, Washington, DC 20528.
Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number DHS–2018–0052.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Secretary of Homeland Security, according to Public Law 114–278, is required to commission an assessment of how effective the transportation security card program is at enhancing security and reducing security risks for regulated maritime facilities and vessels. Through the transportation security card program, the Department issues the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC®). In addition, Public Law 115–230 restricts the USCG from implementing any rule requiring the use of biometric readers for TWIC® until submitting the results of this assessment to Congress. DHS, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. DHS is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. DHS is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology? Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.
Title of Collection: Assessing the Risk Mitigation Value of TWIC® at Maritime Facilities.
Type of Review: New.
Affected Public: Port security subject matter experts such as Port Authority Security Managers, Facility Security Managers, Industry Security Managers, and local law enforcement; Labor, Other Industry Operation and Technology Managers.
Frequency of Collection: Once, Annually.
Average Burden per Response: 60 minutes.
Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 400.
Total Annual Burden Hours: 400.
Discussion: There is an effective and an ineffective way to comment on a regulation. From “Tips for Submitting Effective Comments”, found at https://www.regulations.gov/docs/Tips_For_Submitting_Effective_Comments.pdf:
· Feel free to reach out to the agency with questions
· Be concise but support your claims
· Base your justification on sound reasoning, scientific evidence, and/or how you will be impacted
· Address trade-offs and opposing views in your comment
· There is no minimum or maximum length for an effective comment
· The comment process is not a vote – one well supported comment is often more influential than a thousand form letters."
Comments submitted to address the first issue need to mention how the program does or does not enhance security and reduce security risks for regulated maritime facilities and vessels. That you are personally inconvenienced during the enrollment process or that the cards are not accepted at airports probably does not address the question of risk reduction in the maritime environment. A comment that is submitted without the word “risk” or “security” in it seems to me to be flawed at the onset. DHS is required to consider these comments so this is one more chance for us to get our hands on the TWIC program and influence its path. Let’s make sure we don’t waste this opportunity.
I am still gathering information on the details of number two, the information collection. I want to know how DHS arrived at the figure of 400 persons who will submit information, and that the collection will take one hour. Until I know these details, I can’t sensibly comment on the second issue.