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Working with International Partners on Critical Infrastructure Protection

Caitlin A. Durkovich, Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection
Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection

Today’s evolving threats transcend national borders and affect the security and economic prosperity of the entire international community. DHS collaborates with international partners to enhance information sharing, increase situational awareness, improve incident response capabilities and overall incident management, support law enforcement activities, and coordinate strategic policy issues. To foster our common economic and security goals, last week, the Department of Homeland Security and Public Safety Canada co-hosted the annual EU-US-Canada Expert Meeting on Critical Infrastructure Protection at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Critical infrastructure is the backbone of a country’s national and economic security and includes such key elements as power plants, chemical facilities, communications networks, bridges, highways, and stadiums.  This year’s meeting underscored the value of expanding our collective knowledge base and enhancing understanding of approaches to key issues in critical infrastructure security. Since we began these gatherings four years ago, we have matured as a group in our thinking, concepts, and approaches to critical infrastructure resilience, and have learned from each other along the way. At our first meeting four years ago, we discussed basic elements of critical infrastructure protection such as partnerships as well as defining and identifying critical infrastructure.  Earlier this month, during our fourth meeting, we delved into issues regarding aging infrastructure, public-private sector engagement, and the interdependence of physical and cyber critical infrastructure.

When we reconvene next year, we intend to further explore the effects of aging infrastructure and the nexus between physical and cyber infrastructure. Collaboration and information sharing with our international partners about critical infrastructure resilience builds on the Department’s approach to securing our nation’s critical infrastructure and further contributes to international security.

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