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An Agenda for Secure and Resilient Critical Infrastructure

by Todd M. Keil, Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection

Critical Infrastructure Protection Month has come to a close, but we at the Department of Homeland Security urge all Americans to remain aware of the importance of critical infrastructure as it relates to our national security.  In his proclamation announcing Critical Infrastructure Protection Month, President Obama noted:

... we must work to empower communities, an integral part of critical infrastructure security, to work with local infrastructure owners and operators, which will make our physical and cyber infrastructure more resilient. Working together, we can raise awareness of the important role our critical infrastructure plays in sustaining the American way of life and develop actions to protect these vital resources.

In 2011, the Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) will continue to lead the national effort to reduce risks to the Nation’s critical infrastructure posed by acts of terrorism, and to strengthen national preparedness and resilience. Looking back at 2010, I would like to highlight just a few of IP’s accomplishments in enhancing critical infrastructure protection and resilience:
  • We reviewed and assigned risk-based final tier determinations for more than 4,000 facilities covered by the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards;
  • We conducted 1,090 security surveys and vulnerability assessments on the Nation’s most significant critical infrastructure to identify potential gaps and provide options to manage vulnerabilities;
  • We performed six Regional Resiliency Assessment Program assessments of critical infrastructure clusters to identify interdependencies, potential cascading effects, and security gaps;
  • We conducted Bomb-making Materials Awareness Program (BMAP) trainings for 2,189 law enforcement and emergency services personnel and provided local law enforcement outreach materials to share with 21,890 private sector companies; and
  • We provided training on improvised explosive devices, surveillance detection, and soft target awareness to 3,844 state and local law enforcement and private sector security partners through onsite courses, and another 20,950 through online courses and Webinars.
Perhaps most importantly, we solicited and received input from our public and private sector partners and stakeholders to learn about their needs and concerns related to protection and resilience. As Secretary Napolitano has said, “Homeland security starts with hometown security, and each of us plays a critical role in keeping our country and communities safe.” Together with our partners in the private sector and state and local governments, we have set in motion several ambitious initiatives to:
  • Enhance regional and local resilience, because being able to quickly recover from catastrophic events is as important as protection;
  • Place more emphasis on supporting critical infrastructure owners and operators and homeland security officials in the field through better information sharing and by providing the support, tools, training, exercises, and analyses that they need; and
  • Continuously assess and adjust how we operate in order to achieve efficiencies, improve outcomes, and ensure transparency for the American public.
We will continue ongoing programs in chemical security, infrastructure data collection and analysis, threat assessment and modeling, contingency planning and incident support, bombing prevention, site and regional vulnerability assessments, and risk analysis, as well as many others.

Working hand-in-hand with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments; community groups; international partners; and the private sector, we have made great strides in enhancing the protection and resilience of critical infrastructure in the face of natural and manmade disasters. As we move into 2011, I am excited about the power that partnerships and collaboration bring to the mission of ensuring critical infrastructure protection and resilience.  Together, we can minimize the impact of events and build a more secure and resilient country.

We welcome your participation and ideas. Sign up for updates at www.dhs.gov/criticalinfrastructure, comment on our blog posts, and follow us on Twitter (@DHSJournal).
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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