Center for American Progress

Establish Critical Infrastructure Security Priorities
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Establish Critical Infrastructure Security Priorities

Critical infrastructure is just that, critical, but for different reasons. Infrastructure associated with high risk of death or injury may require stronger federal regulation and oversight.

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When it comes to prioritizing security threats, too much planning is done based on worst-case scenarios that could happen, rather than realistic scenarios that are much more likely to occur. The absence of clear national priorities have led to purposeless purchases in the name of homeland security, such as garbage trucks to remove contaminated material after an attack, with little effort to measure whether and how investments have actually made us safer.

Critical infrastructure is just that, critical, but for different reasons. Infrastructure associated with high risk of death or injury may require stronger federal regulation and oversight. The stronger the link to the economy, the more likely the need for incentives to promote greater resiliency and redundancy. Infrastructure required for post-disaster response and recovery requires greater public investment and regional integration. Here is a prospective ranking by category based on strategic objective:

Catastrophic Impact

  • Chemical and water treatment facilities and freight rail
  • Aviation
  • Energy and electric grid
  • Nuclear power
  • Agriculture, food and biological sources

Continuity of Society and Economy

  • Ports and Supply Chains
  • Cyber and information technology
  • Passenger Rail and Transit
  • Banking and Finance
  • Electric grid
  • Commercial facilities
  • National monuments and icons

Continuity of Government and Emergency Response

  • Public health and health care
  • Telecommunications
  • Emergency services
  • Postal and shipping
  • Government facilities
  • Defense industrial base

To read more ideas about how to improve our homeland security, please see:

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