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  6. Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience Research Program

Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience Research (CISRR) Program

On November 15, 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act became Public Law 117-58, tasking the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to conduct critical infrastructure and resilience research, development, test, and evaluation. 

In support of the Act, S&T developed a strategic framework and spend plan for supporting critical infrastructure security and resilience, and created the Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience Research (CISRR) Program to manage the broad range of related activities conducted throughout S&T to address critical infrastructure community needs with a whole-of-government approach.

S&T supports this effort through the following areas of focus:

Strategic Context

Special Event Assessment Ratings (SEARs) are applied to events that are not designated as national special security events; these tend to be pre-planned domestic special events that have been submitted and assessed using the SEAR methodology. Most of these events are state and local events that may require support augmentations from the federal government.

Goal

Ensure effective physical security at SEAR events; including enhancing SEAR methodology and the dissemination of SEAR information.

Strategic Context

Whether caused by man or nature, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and geo-magnetic disturbance (GMD) events have the potential to disrupt or permanently damage electrical components and systems within the critical infrastructure sectors and large-scale infrastructure. While EMP hardening standards exist for military applications, they are often too case-specific, expensive, and impractical for the private sector to implement, leading to very little action being taken to address this threat, despite it having the potential to affect the nation at large.

Goal

Improve understanding of the effects of EMP/GMD events on communications infrastructure and drive research activities to provide practical, data-driven, specific, and actionable information, concepts, techniques, technologies, and tools to critical infrastructure owners and operators.

Learn more about additional S&T efforts in Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and Geo-Magnetic Disturbances (GMD).

Strategic Context

Because of the evolution of an increasingly interoperable world and the way technology is designed, U.S. critical infrastructure relies on the uninterrupted and accurate nature of position, navigation, and timing (PNT) capabilities services. Disruption or corruption of these services can lead to safety-of-life issues or complete system failure throughout infrastructure networks.

Goal

Develop approaches, best practices, and solutions to ensure continued resilience for critical infrastructure to counter PNT threats and disruptions in an ever-evolving technological landscape.

Learn more about additional S&T efforts in Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Capabilities.  

Strategic Context

From foreign terrorist organizations to domestic criminals, lone wolves, and other threats, there are many types of threat actors who could attempt to target soft targets and crowded places. Through the observation of actual or perceived successes, trial and error, and the exchange of information over the internet and social media, these actors’ tactics have the potential to evolve over time; so, too, must the nation’s security measures.

Goal

Enhance soft target and crowded places security across the spectrum of prevention, protection, response, and mitigation efforts and activities, including advancing the base of knowledge in public safety and violence prevention to increase soft target security, strengthening physical security through capability advancements, and improving capabilities in countering improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Learn more about additional S&T efforts in Public Safety and Violence Prevention.

Strategic Context

From the nation’s telecommunication’s networks to factories, power plants, water systems, industrial facilities, and smart cities, at the heart of most critical infrastructure are intricate software systems and networks, both open-source and proprietary, that our modern world relies upon. With the anticipated adoption of internet-connected-devices, and the Internet of Things (IoT) expected to grow at a rapid pace, it is more important than ever to secure these systems and networks from the threat of cyberattacks.

Goal

Develop and promote the use of standards-based protocols and solutions to protect the nation’s telecommunications networks; better understand and bolster industry against the threat—current and future—of cyberattacks; and promote an informed approach to innovative tool and capability development to mitigate security vulnerabilities and operational risk in the open-source software community. 

Contact us at CISRR@hq.dhs.gov 

Learn more about our R&D mission and discover how you can Work with S&T to help strengthen the nation's homeland security!

Last Updated: 07/01/2022
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