MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2002 202/307-0703





Tool Will Help Chemical Plants Increase Security


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Justice today released an assessment tool for the nation’s 15,000 chemical facilities to use in identifying and assessing potential security threats, risks and vulnerabilities.  The Chemical Facility Vulnerability Assessment Methodology was developed by the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Justice Department’s research and development agency. 

“The Department’s concerns regarding security at chemical facilities are well known and documented,” said OJP Assistant Attorney General Deborah J. Daniels.  “The risk assessment methodology provided today will be a critically valuable tool that industry can use to help protect chemical plants against possible terrorist activity.”

The vulnerability assessment methodology (VAM) is a practical method to assess the security of chemical facilities across the United States, which was developed by NIJ in collaboration with the Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories.  In developing the methodology, NIJ and Sandia focused primarily on terrorist or criminal activities that could have significant national impact or cause releases of hazardous chemicals that would compromise the integrity of a facility, cause serious injuries or fatalities among facility employees, contaminate adjoining areas and cause injuries or fatalities among adjoining populations.  

The methodology provides a tool that facilities can use to identify risks and reduce the

likelihood of attacks.  In general, the most common approach to reducing potential attacks and

catastrophic events is increasing protection measures against specific attack scenarios. The methodology provides chemical facility operators specific assessment and evaluation tools based on potential risks and attack scenarios. 

The 12 basic steps for developing a chemical facility assessment, include:

·                    determining the need for a vulnerability assessment,

·                    assessing threats,

·                    analyzing risks, and

·                    making recommendations. 

A flow chart and detailed explanations that allow chemical facility officials to follow step-by-step procedures for developing a threat and risk vulnerability assessment are included in the VAM.  

In developing the methodology, NIJ and Sandia collected and reviewed extensive information relevant to threats, risks and vulnerabilities associated with chemical facilities,  conducted outreach with the field, including meetings and discussions with a range of industry, government, citizen representatives and private individuals, created a Web site to describe the development effort and solicited comments and inspected a number of chemical facilities across the country.

The VAM is available on NIJ’s Website at   For more information on NIJ or other OJP programs, please contact OJP’s Website at 

Media should contact OJP’s Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.