Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The National Infrastructure Protection Plan—A Resilient America Through Partnership Innovation

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard “Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council” magazine by Ms. Elena Hughes, CDR L.M. Roszkowski, and Ms. Eleanor Thompson, U.S. Coast Guard Office of Policy Integration, Executive Secretariat, NIPP Maritime SSA.

National efforts to protect critical infrastructure pre-date 9/11. Since then, policies and strategies related to infrastructure protection have evolved to incorporate resiliency as an integral component. DHS defines resiliency as “the ability to resist, absorb, recover from, or successfully adapt to adversity or a change in conditions.” What this means is that critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) protection is not only about preventing or countering a terrorist attack, but about systems and processes across the infrastructure being able to absorb, adapt, and recover from all types of incidents and hazards. Resiliency is key to national security as threats to the homeland become ever more complex, insidious, and challenging to detect.

With a national goal to build a safer, more secure, and more resilient America by enhancing protection of the nation’s CIKR, the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) identifies 18 CIKR sectors integral to the U.S. economy and our way of life. Responsibilities for each sector are assigned to federal agencies, which serve as a sector-specific agency (SSA). The Transportation Security Administration serves as the lead SSA within the Transportation Systems Sector, with the U.S. Coast Guard serving as the sector-specific agency for the maritime mode of this sector.

The NIPP supports efforts to build resiliency across the spectrum of critical infrastructure through a unique, more recently established and innovative partnership framework. Specifically, the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC) has enabled creation of sector coordinating councils (SCC) and government coordinating councils (GCC). SCCs are composed of private owners, operators, and associations, and government coordinating councils are composed of government agencies and associations. This construct allows federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to communicate and share information through the legal framework provided by the CIPAC. At the core of the partnership model is the reality that the private sector owns approximately 85 percent of critical infrastructure and key resources. This collaborative communication between the government and the private sector further enhances the ability to protect, respond, and recover for which resiliency is the gestalt.

The Transportation Systems Sector is comprised of all modes of transportation (aviation, maritime, mass transit, highway and motor carrier, freight rail, and pipeline). These modes have collaborated to develop the Transportation System Sector-Specific Plan, with the vision of a secure and resilient transportation network, enabling legitimate travelers and goods to move without undue fear of harm or significant disruption of commerce and civil liberties. The Transportation Systems Sector has significant supply chain implications and interdependencies with other CIKR sectors. This relationship was glaringly evident during the recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

Since that time, the implementation of the NIPP has led to increased intermodal and cross-sector coordination, as evidenced by the successful preparation, response, and recovery of CIKR sectors after the Midwest flooding and Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2008. In short, across the landscape of the U.S. economy, the NIPP risk management framework supports resiliency as an effective means of mitigating risk.

For more information:
More information about the NIPP partnership, along with the Transportation Systems Sector-Specific Plan and others, may be found at http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/editorial_0827.shtm. Points of contact for the maritime mode may be found at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg513/.

Full article and “Interagency Success Stories” edition of USCG Proceedings is available at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/spring2009.

Subscribe online at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/subscribe.asp.

Direct requests for print copies of this edition to: HQS-DG-NMCProceedings@uscg.mil.