- Posted September 19, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Homeland Security - Eight Key Areas Of Threats To A Business
Dallas, Texas – September 19, 2013 - The text book definition of critical infrastructure is the, “assets, systems, and networks (both physical and virtual) that if disrupted would have debilitating effects on national security, public health and/or safety (Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources, 2011). Although it sounds complicated, it is actually a very simple concept. All you have to do is close your eyes and imagine what it would be like trying to survive a natural disaster or terrorist attack without basic necessities such as water, electricity, transportation, communications, or emergency services. These basic necessities are just 5 of 18 sectors that have been identified by the federal government as essential to our way of life. The other 13 sectors are: agriculture, banking, chemical, commercial facilities, critical manufacturing, dams, defense, government facilities, public health, information technology, national monuments, nuclear reactors, and postal and shipping. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, equipment failure, and human error are some of the more common types of disruptions to critical infrastructure that occur. Both the public and private sectors are responsible for protecting infrastructure.
Examples of federal policies that mandate protection of critical infrastructure are the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD-7) and the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP). HSPD-7 was established by George W. Bush in 2003 which mandates cooperation between the public and private sector to identify, prioritize, and protect critical infrastructure. The NIPP was established in 2009. This document explains how the directives in HSPD-7 are to be carried out through the use of risk management activities such as: identifying assets, assessing and prioritizing risks, implementing programs and strategies, and measuring their effectiveness.
These policies were written because the federal government realizes that due to their interdependence, no sector can stand alone. Any damage or destruction to any of the sectors could cause catastrophic failures (Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources, 2011).
The federal department that is tasked with enforcing these policies in sectors including but not limited to transportation systems, postal and shipping, and critical manufacturing is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Within DHS, the Office of Infrastructure Protection manages the critical manufacturing sector, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) manages the postal and shipping sector, and both TSA and U.S. Coast Guard manage the transportation sector.
With the private sector owning 85% of critical infrastructure, preventing, preparing for, responding to, and mitigating disruptions to critical infrastructure requires strong participation from the private sector. In order to be most effective, the private sector must develop strong security programs that include the development of emergency plans, operating procedures, and even memorandums of agreement. The private sector is also encouraged to be proactive in developing relationships with state and local emergency managers. Last but not least, the private sector must develop plans that focus on business continuity in the event of a disaster.
DHS has been encouraging and developing public/private partnerships through the development of cargo security initiatives such as Customs and Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). Members in the private sector that choose to participate in C-TPAT are granted certain benefits in exchange for their support and compliance with minimum security guidelines that have been established to protect our critical infrastructure.
The C-TPAT program is open to the following types of private sector companies: U.S. Importers, U.S. Customs Brokers, Foreign Manufacturers, Highway Carriers, Third Party Logistics Providers, Marine Port Authorities and Terminal Operators, Mexican Long Haul Highway Carriers, Air Carriers, Rail Carriers, Sea Carriers, and Consolidators.
The areas that private sector companies should focus on because they have been identified by Customs organizations around the world as areas where incidents are most likely to occur include:
1. Container security
2. Physical security
3. Access controls
4. Procedural security
5. Personnel security
6. I.T. security
7. Training and awareness programs for employees
8. Verification of the security practices of business
Article written by M. POWER AND ASSOCIATES
M. Power and Associates is a management consulting firm that designs, implements, and maintains cargo security programs that are compliant with various Customs organizations around the world.
M. POWER and ASSOCIATES promotes cooperation and coordination between the public and private sectors to guard against disruptions to businesses and the economy.
Check our YouTube video out here http://youtu.be/_k3ytu2c2Fg To find out more about M. POWER AND ASSOCIATES and get a complimentary consultation contact us today.
Name: Miriam Marsh, CEO