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Homeland Security

Critical Infrastructure Sector Partnerships


The protection of the nation's critical infrastructure requires an effective partnership framework that fosters integrated, collaborative engagement and interaction among public- and private-sector partners.

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP), in close coordination with public- and private-sector critical infrastructure partners, leads the coordinated national effort to mitigate risk to the nation's critical infrastructure through the development and implementation of an effective critical infrastructure protection program.

Partnership between the public and private sectors is essential, in part because the private sector owns and operates approximately 85% of the nation's critical infrastructure, government agencies have access to critical threat information, and each controls security programs, research and development, and other resources that may be more effective if discussed and shared, as appropriate, in a partnership setting.

Sector Partnership Structure

Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD-7) and the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) provide the overarching framework for a structured partnership between government and the private sector for protection of critical infrastructure.

Sector Coordinating Councils (SCC)

The sector partnership model encourages critical infrastructure owners and operators to create or identify Sector Coordinating Councils as the principal entity for coordinating with the government on a wide range of critical infrastructure protection activities and issues.

The SCCs are self-organized, self-run, and self-governed, with a spokesperson designated by the sector membership. Specific membership will vary from sector to sector, reflecting the unique composition of each sector; however, membership should be representative of a broad base of owners, operators, associations, and other entities—both large and small—within a sector.

The SCCs enable owners and operators to interact on a wide range of sector-specific strategies, policies, activities, and issues. The SCCs serve as principal sector policy coordination and planning entities.

The primary functions of an SCC include the following:

  • Represent a primary point of entry for government into the sector for addressing the entire range of critical infrastructure protection activities and issues for that sector;
  • Serve as a strategic communications and coordination mechanism between critical infrastructure owners, operators, and suppliers, and, as appropriate, with the government during emerging threats or response and recovery operations, as determined by the sector;
  • Identify, implement, and support the information-sharing capabilities and mechanisms that are most appropriate for the sector;
  • Facilitate inclusive organization and coordination of the sector’s policy development regarding critical infrastructure protection planning and preparedness, exercises and training, public awareness, and associated plan implementation activities and requirements;
  • Advise on the integration of federal, state, local, and regional planning with private-sector initiatives; and
  • Provide input to the government on sector research and development efforts and requirements.

The SCCs are encouraged to participate in efforts to develop voluntary consensus standards to ensure that sector perspectives are included in standards that affect critical infrastructure protection.

Government Coordinating Councils (GCC)

A Government Coordinating Council is formed as the government counterpart for each Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) to enable interagency and cross-jurisdictional coordination. The GCC comprises representatives from across various levels of government (federal, state, local, or tribal), as appropriate to the operating landscape of each individual sector.

Each GCC is co-chaired by a representative from the designated Sector-Specific Agency (SSA) with responsibility for ensuring appropriate representation on the GCC and providing cross-sector coordination with State, local, and tribal governments. Each GCC is co-chaired by the Department's Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection or his/her designee. The GCC coordinates strategies, activities, policy, and communications across governmental entities within each sector. The primary functions of a GCC include the following:

  • Provide interagency strategic communications and coordination at the sector level through partnership with DHS, the SSA, and other supporting agencies across various levels of government;
  • Participate in planning efforts related to the development,  implementation, update, and revision of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) and the Sector-Specific Plans (SSPs);
  • Coordinate strategic communications and discussion and resolution of issues among government entities within the sector; and
  • Coordinate with and support the efforts of the SCC to plan, implement, and execute the nation’s critical infrastructure protection mission.

Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources Cross-Sector Council

  • Cross-sector issues and interdependencies are addressed among the SCCs through the Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR) Cross-Sector Council, which comprises the leadership of each of the SCCs. The Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security provides this representation with support from the Department’s CIKR Executive Secretariat. The partnership coordinates cross-sector initia­tives to support critical infrastructure protection by identifying legislative issues that affect such initiatives and by raising awareness of issues in critical infrastructure protection. The primary activities of the CIKR Cross-Sector Council include:
  • Providing senior-level, cross-sector strategic coordination  through partnership with DHS and the SSAs;
  • Identifying and disseminating critical infrastructure protection best practices across the sectors;
  • Participating in coordinated planning efforts related to the development, implementation, and revision of the NIPP and the SSPs or aspects thereof; and coordinating with DHS to support efforts to plan and ex­ecute the nation’s critical infrastructure protection mission.

Regional Consortium Coordinating Council

Because of the specific challenges and interdependencies facing individual regions and the broad range of public and private sector security partners, regional efforts are often complex and diverse. The Regional Consortium Coordinating Council brings together representatives of regional part­nerships, groupings, and governance bodies to enable critical infrastructure protection coordination among partners within and across geographical areas and sectors. Learn more about IP’s regional initiatives.

Federal Senior Leadership Council (FSLC)

The objective of the NIPP Federal Senior Leadership Council is to drive enhanced communications and coordination among federal departments and agencies that have a role in implementing the NIPP and Homeland Security Presidential Directive-7, “Critical Infrastructure Identification, Prioritization, and Protection.” The members of the FSLC include the Sector-Specific Agencies for each of the critical infrastructure sectors as well as several additional agencies named in HSPD-7.

State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Government Coordinating Council (SLTTGCC)

The State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Government Coordinating Council (SLTTGCC) serves as a forum to ensure that State, local, and tribal homeland security partners are fully integrated as active participants in national critical infrastructure protection efforts, and to provide an organizational structure to coordinate across jurisdictions on state and local government-level critical infrastructure protection guidance, strategies, and programs. The SLTTGCC will provide the state, local, tribal, or territorial perspective or feedback on a wide variety of critical infrastructure issues. The primary functions of the SLTTGCC include the following:

  • Providing senior-level, cross-jurisdictional strategic communications and coordination through partnership with the Department, the SSAs, and critical infrastructure owners and operators;
  • Participating in planning efforts related to the development, implementation, update, and revision of the NIPP and SSPs or aspects thereof;
  • Coordinating strategic issues and issue management resolution among federal departments and agencies, and State, local, tribal, and territorial partners;
  • Coordinating with the Department to support efforts to plan, implement, and execute the nation’s critical infrastructure protection mission; and
  • Providing the Department with information on state, local, tribal, and territorial-level critical infrastructure protection initiatives, activities, and best practices.

Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC)

The Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC) provides the operational mechanism for carrying out the sector partnership structure. The CIPAC provides the framework for owner and operator members of Sector Coordinating Councils (SCC) and members of Government Coordinating Councils (GCC) to engage in intra-government and public-private cooperation, information sharing, and engagement across the entire range of critical infrastructure protection activities.

Successful execution of the sector partnership structure requires an environment in which members of the SCCs and GCCs can interact freely and share sensitive information and advice about threats, vulnerabilities, protective measures, and lessons learned. CIPAC, which has been exempted from the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), is the mechanism to allow meaningful dialogue on key critical infrastructure protection issues and agreement on mutual action between government and owner/operator entities.

CIPAC is a non-decisional body and includes sector members and government members. Sector members are the members of that sector's SCC that are owners and/or operators and the trade associations that represent them. Government members are the federal, state, local, and tribal government agencies (or their representative bodies) that comprise the GCC for each sector. The most current CIPAC membership list and further information is maintained on the Internet and can be found on the Department's CIPAC website. 

As portrayed in the diagram, CIPAC consists of "Joint Sector Committees" that are made up of the GCC members and eligible SCC members for each sector. For example, there is a Food and Agriculture Joint Sector Committee made up of Food and Agriculture GCC and SCC members. The CIPAC also includes one Joint Cross-Sector Committee, most likely to consist of the designated private sector and agency leads from each Joint Sector Committee.

Last Published Date: April 22, 2014
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