Infrastructure: How Safe Is It?

infrastructure protection is necessary for national security

Over the decades, local, state and federal governments have allowed our infrastructure to age and in some cases, decay to dangerous levels. In response to the need for improvements, President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget includes an unprecedented $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. The 2018 Budget: Infrastructure Initiative Fact Sheet states:

The President has consistently emphasized that the Nation’s infrastructure needs to be rebuilt and modernized to create jobs, maintain America’s economic competitiveness, and connect communities and people to more opportunities.

 

Our infrastructure consists of 16 sectors. Each is vital to our country’s economy, security, health and safety. They include:

  • Chemical
  • Commercial Facilities
  • Communications
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Dams
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Energy Services
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Government Facilities
  • Healthcare and Public Health
  • Information Technology
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials and Waste
  • Transportations Systems
  • Water and Wastewater Systems

Infrastructure Vulnerability

But improvement is not enough.  These sectors are not only at risk from age and decay, but also from terrorist attacks. The Department of Homeland Security and its Protective Security Coordination Division routinely conducts field assessments to identify vulnerabilities. It prepares special reports that offer “cross-sector risk analysis.”

However, these reports are only available to DHS federal, state and local partners.

Digital Threats

While the internet gives us incredible information capabilities, it also provides opportunities for long-distance attacks on our infrastructure.

Consider this 2015 story by the Boston Globe about Iranian hackers who had gained access to the United States power grid. They stole passwords and engineering drawings for power plants. In fact, the information stolen was enough for the hackers to potentially gain access to the grid and knock out power to millions of homes in 18 states!

This was not the first time, either. Dating back to 2005, foreign hackers have broken into systems that control the power grid “about a dozen times.”

Security and Resilience

In response to potential attacks, President Obama issued a presidential directive in 2013 aimed at reducing the physical and cyber risk to infrastructure. “Critical infrastructure must be secure and able to withstand and rapidly recover from all hazards,” it explains.

The ability to recover rapidly from disruptions, or resilience, includes bouncing back from natural disasters, accidents and deliberate attacks. The exact status of our infrastructure’s security is difficult to obtain. 

The Bottom Line

Our country’s infrastructure touches our lives on a daily basis. For most citizens, it exists in the background, something taken for granted and assumed to always be available. But our infrastructure is much more vulnerable than people realize and securing these sectors will require ongoing measures.

Are you looking for ways to keep your property and employees secure? Call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585 for answers.

Critical Infrastructure: Protecting These Vital Assets

Critical infrastructure protection initiatives are now underway

We tend to take the modern world in which we live for granted. Clean water, electricity, communications and even our food arrive to us without delay and we expect it to be there. In the past we did not give much thought to protecting the parts of our country’s critical infrastructure. But that’s changing.

The Department of Homeland Security explains that there are 16 critical infrastructure sectors. These include assets such as energy, transportation, dams and financial services. They are so important to the United States that DHS states, “their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.”

In an effort to protect these assets, the Obama Administration issued Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21).

Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience

The intent of PPD-21 is to, “…strengthen and maintain secure, functioning, and resilient critical infrastructure…against both physical and cyber threats.” The new policy redefined the functions and roles across the federal government.

It also set out to enable better information exchange between the parties involved and set up an integration and analysis function that would aid in planning and decision making. 

The Sectors Involved

The challenge will be securing the 16 sectors while not disturbing the delivery of services and goods to citizens. Yet the sectors involved touch all of us in some way on a daily basis. They include the following:

  1. Chemical
  2. Commercial Facilities
  3. Communications
  4. Critical Manufacturing
  5. Dams
  6. Defense Industrial Base
  7. Emergency Services
  8. Energy
  9. Financial Services
  10. Food and Agriculture
  11. Government Facilities
  12. Healthcare and Public Health
  13. Information Technology
  14. Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste
  15. Transportation Systems
  16. Water and Wastewater Systems

The job of securing these sectors will not be easy. PPD-21 explains, “Critical infrastructure must be secure and able to withstand and rapidly recover from all hazards. Achieving this will require integration with the national preparedness system across prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery.”

The Bottom Line

Many of these assets are privately owned and may need additional security. As experts in securing and protecting facilities and personnel, American Security Force can consult with your team to create a plan that secures your business, its resources and your employees.

Call us at 877-722-8585 for more information.