How critical is critical infrastructure?
Riedman, David A.
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) holds the statutory mission to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure, which is the systems and assets that are nationally significant, and whose losses would result in debilitating consequences to the safety and security of the United States. Based on a meta-analysis of government policies, the current critical infrastructure protection (IP) efforts may be misdirected even though it is the cornerstone mission of the department to prevent terrorism and enhance security. It is likely that the facilities DHS works to protect from terrorism are not the most likely targets for attacks. The manner in which facilities are designated as critical infrastructure may have stemmed from shared experience of many in senior leadership as military strategists rather than from identifying the targets of extremists. Even when a facility is destroyed, the consequences may be more complex than the mission of protecting a single facility against all threats and hazards. These findings can justify reducing the scope of the current IP mission and refining the focus through a risk-based methodology for evaluating only the infrastructure that would cause debilitating impacts on the safety and security of the nation.
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