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What Is Critical Infrastructure?

The nation's critical infrastructure provides the essential services that underpin American society and serve as the backbone of our nation's economy, security, and health. We know it as the power we use in our homes, the water we drink, the transportation that moves us, the stores we shop in, and the communication systems we rely on to stay in touch with friends and family.

Overall, there are 16 critical infrastructure sectors that compose the assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof. The National Protection and Programs Directorate's Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) leads the coordinated national effort to manage risks to the nation's critical infrastructure and enhance the security and resilience of America's physical and cyber infrastructure. Read more about how IP leads this national effort.

Critical Infrastructure Community

Just as we all rely on critical infrastructure, we all play a role in keeping it strong, secure, and resilient. Securing and making critical infrastructure resilient is a shared responsibility—shared by Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial governments; private companies; and individual citizens.

Because the vast majority of our nation’s critical infrastructure is privately owned and operated, both the government and private sector have formed vital partnerships to fulfill our shared responsibility to prevent and reduce the risks of disruptions to critical infrastructure. Together, public-private efforts to strengthen critical infrastructure help the public sector to enhance security and rapidly respond to and recover from all-hazards events and assist the private sector to restore business operations and minimize losses in the face of such an event.

Critical Infrastructure Public-Private Partnerships

The protection of the nation's critical infrastructure requires effective partnerships that foster integrated, collaborative engagement and interaction among public and private sector partners across all 16 critical infrastructure sectors.

Office of Cybersecurity and Communications

The Office of Cybersecurity and Communications (CS&C), within the National Protection and Programs Directorate, is responsible for enhancing the security, resilience, and reliability of the nation’s cyber and communications infrastructure.

Office of Infrastructure Protection

The Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP), within the National Protection and Programs Directorate, leads and coordinates national programs and policies on critical infrastructure security and resilience and has established strong partnerships between the government and the private sector.

Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month

Observed in November, Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month recognizes the vital role that critical infrastructure plays in our nation’s way of life and why it is important to expand and reinforce critical infrastructure security and resilience. By raising awareness of the importance of security the assets, systems, and networks we count on every day, we can build on the great work of this public-private partnership and further enhance security and resilience of our critical infrastructure.

Last Published Date: December 8, 2017

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