Method or madness federal oversight structures for critical infrastructure protection
Young, Charles P.
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Telecommunications is one of our most critical national infrastructures, enabling many other infrastructure sectors to function. The federal oversight structure for this sector, put in place by the Department of Homeland Security, relies heavily on voluntary cooperation between the public and private sectors. Given that no large-scale disruption of the nationwide telecommunications backbone has occurred, there is no empirical evidence showing the effectiveness of the structure DHS has put in place. In an effort to gauge the effectiveness of the various existing infrastructure oversight structures, this thesis examines four specific roles assumed by the federal government and their performance in their respective sectors. These roles and sectors are Owner (aviation), Customer (power), Coordinator (local telecommunications), and Regulator (food). Each case is reviewed to determine the effects of the government role on economic impact of the disruption, the time required to restore initial operating capabilities, and the time required to restore full operating capabilities. The various cases show that the government role has little direct impact on the costs related to infrastructure disruptions. The Regulator role had a negative impact on timelines for both initial and full restoration. The other roles all made positive contributions to both restoration timelines.
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