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Homeland Security

Chemical Security Analysis Center

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Location: Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

In 2006, by Presidential Directive, DHS established the Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) to identify and assess chemical threats and vulnerabilities in the United States and develop the best responses to potential chemical hazards. CSAC supports the homeland security community by providing a crucial knowledge repository of chemical threat information, design and execution of laboratory and field tests, and a science-based threat and risk analysis capability, among other services. CSAC’s presence on the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) allows close collaboration with Army scientists and engineers.

Offering Reach-back Capabilities in Response to Investigations and Crises

For inquiries related to chemical threats and chemical hazards, the CSAC offers a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week informational response capability, known as “CSAC Reachback,” to federal, state, local, territorial and first responder agencies. The CSAC Reachback is a key resource for the National Operations Center. CSAC Reachback typically responds to 70 to 80 requests per year. Key customers include the Department of Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and many other agencies and industry stakeholders.

Leading the Way in Assessing Toxic Chemical Risks

CSAC executes the Chemical Terrorism Risk Assessment (CTRA) to help the federal government manage its resources and priorities to the appropriate level of risk. CTRA ranks chemicals by risk based on impact of exposure, intelligence information and modeling techniques. Agencies use the CTRA Desktop Tool to maintain awareness of chemical threats and analyze mitigation and response strategies to protect the public.

Project Jack Rabbit—Helping DHS and its Partners Reduce the Risk of Large-Scale Toxic Inhalation Hazard Chemical Releases

Each year, hundreds of millions of tons of chemicals like chlorine and ammonia are transported through U.S. population centers. Although these chemicals are essential, they are toxic and pose a risk to the public through accidental release or an act of terrorism. To better understand and address this risk, CSAC conducted Project Jack Rabbit in 2010 and initiated the Jack Rabbit II program in 2014.

Jack Rabbit I involved a series of 1- to 2-ton outdoor chlorine and ammonia release trials involving a team of stakeholders from government, industry and academia.

Jack Rabbit II will continue that effort with release trials of up to 20 tons. These experiments are unprecedented and will fill crucial knowledge and data gaps. Prior to Jack Rabbit I and II, large-scale chlorine releases have never been tested at volumes representative of rail cars, tanker trucks, barges or bulk storage tanks. This work will improve hazard prediction modeling, emergency planning and response and mitigation strategies, as well as improve the United States' resilience against chemical release incidents.

Did You Know?

In 2013, CSAC signed S&T’s first-ever reimbursable Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Chlorine Institute, the private-sector trade organization for the chlor-alkali chemical industry. The CRADA enables CSAC to leverage resources and experience from experts in the private sector and allows chemical industry partners to improve hazard modeling, training and risk reduction to further advance a culture of safety and security.

In January 2014, approximately 10,000 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol accidentally leaked into the Elk River, affecting hundreds of thousands of West Virginia residents. As part of the DHS response, CSAC worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal, state and local responders to evaluate and assess the impact.

In April 2013, CSAC assisted with data analysis for the DHS National Operations Center in response to the ammonium nitrate blast at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. The blast killed 15 people.

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