Federal Triangle: Critical Infrastructure
Many people are saturated with "cyber," "computer," or "network" emphasis in the homeland security debate. It was refreshing, in a chilling sort of way, to attend the Jane's Infrastructure Security Conference 2002 and obtain a broader view of national problems on this overlooked issue for industrial concern. Presidential Decision Directive 63 (PDD-63) of 22 May 1998 designates 16 sectors of the U.S. economy as critical, including electric power, emergency services, health, transportation, telecommunications, oil and gas, water supply and treatment, banking and finance, and government services. A national strategy has now been defined and sectoral plans are being developed with attention focused on dependencies and cascade effects. Criticality is defined to cover the 2000 gross domestic product ($3,083.9 billion dollars) of the sectors in Table I that represent 31% of total U.S. economic activity ($9,872.9B).
"Industry participation in the planning process is invited, especially those from the critical sectors and those who interact with them." Points of contact include the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office run by U.S. Department of Commerce (202-482-7473) and U.S. Chamber of Commerce (202-463-5845) that operates PCIS or Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security. PCIS (a public-private partnership with annual membership of $1,000) is now working on a guidebook for cross-sector risk assessment and dependencies discovery, developing means to raise awareness and identify legislative needs in public policy, seeking improved security measures of digital process control systems and writing an "Effective Practices" compendium for broad industry use.
A childhood parable conveys the message well: "For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; for want of a horse the rider was lost; for want of a rider the message was lost; for want of that word the battle was lost? Readers should insert themselves and their companies into a picture characterized by conditions such as:
- There are 350 commercial ports are in the U.S.-50 handle 90% of all trade, 17 are critical due to intermodal traffic. About $1 B per day was lost in November when just the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were closed due to labor disputes.
- The bridge-tunnel between Detroit and Windsor, Canada carries $250 M per day of goods-27% of U.S./ Canada total trade.
- 60% of refined petroleum products to the Northeast U.S. is transported by pipeline from Texas and Louisiana.
- 50% of California electricity is generated from gas and 30% of that fuel comes from Canada via pipelines, pumped by stations located each 60 miles along the pipe. Each station costs $40 M.
- By the time foot & mouth disease could be confirmed by USDA test labs in New York, the disease will have spread to 28 states.
- There are 8.5 million illegals in the U.S., and 300,000 of them are fugitive aliens.
- Only 134,000 of 9 million (under 1.5%) of first responders (police and EMTs) have any training to deal with weapons of mass destruction (WMD), better termed weapons of mass effect in this context.
- 650,000 state and local police operate in a virtual intelligence vacuum about WMD.
Every one of these circumstances has some direct impact on every reader of this journal, especially if a few unfortunate dependencies were linked. Fully 90% of all infrastructure, critical or otherwise, is owned and operated by the private sector, so protection against threats is up to the private entity. It is not somebody else's problem; it is your problem.
Several reports are worth reading (www.cfr.org/pdf/homeland_security_TF.pdf, www.homelandsecurity.org, or www.pcis.org), and some key recommendations are vital including:
- Empower law enforcement to intercept individuals on watch lists.
- Provide first responders with the equipment and training needed.
- Assess energy distribution vulnerabilities better.
- Strengthen public health (humans, plants, and livestock) ability to detect disease.
- Enact anti-red-tape laws that enable information sharing and liability safeguards.
The price for being unprepared is too high for America and the world to pay but unfortunately, many must pay for neglect of a few. Get involved.