"America's critical infrastructures underpin every aspect of our lives ... There is no more urgent priority that assuring the security, continuity, and availability of our critical infrastructures. We found that the nation is so dependent on our infrastructures that we must view them through a national security lens. They are essential to the nation's security, economic health, and social well-being. In short, they are the lifelines upon which we as a nation depend."
-- from "Critical Foundations: The Report of the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection"
These words echo brilliantly the enormous reliance placed by the people of this country on systems and services that are taken mostly for granted. It is without question the expectation of every American that when they flip on a light switch or pick up a telephone, "it just works." That has been and continues to be true, as far as that goes. As we have seen in recent years, however, the world is changing rapidly.
Such nonchalance about basic "facts of life" is not likely to continue to be quite so unconscious over the next decade or two. As American politics pushes its way around the world, in a manner not unlike the way the Soviets threatened to spread communism, those seeking self-governance of their own choosing are growing frustrated with its relentless and pervasive influence. Regardless of whether "Democracy American-style" is best for all or not, it appears that many countries and groups want to chart their own course; politically, economically, and religiously. Bluntly, they want to do things their way without needing or asking for America's approval for their choice of governance model, economic model, or any thing else for that matter.
The net result is that, in the minds of those not entirely friendly to the US, the more America does not take the hint and "push off," the more she asks for a fat lip. Right enough, each people or sovereign nation has the right of self-determination, just as America did when it chose to give England a bloody nose in 1776. But just as England objected to the unruly colonists then, America seems to object now to others in distant lands for choosing this same course; especially and specifically when such course is not in accord with American economic interests or national security concerns.
Add to this American spy agencies being involved or at least interested in many different sorts of political actions around the globe, and that nearly everyone knows about it. It is well recorded and widely known that wars, skirmishes, assassinations, coups, infiltrations, and all other manner of espionage skullduggery has been wrought at the behest of and in service to these American agencies and their masters. Many think these practices are continuing today. Those that know deny it, or will not confirm it; not that it matters, no one believes them because so many lies and broken promises have been given and found out already.
When combined with a history during the last century of becoming the richest and most powerful nation on the planet, many of the poorer countries resent America; some very greatly indeed. It should be mentioned that American is not the first country to do this; but it is arguable that no nation has ever done as much, as aggressively, as pervasively, as efficiently, and with as much impunity as America has.
At the same time, America has continued to place its fate in the hands of others, many of whom might be classed as "fair-weather friends." Despite much discussion and threats of real action to minimize dependence on foreign resources and suppliers, precious little has been done to enhance national self-sufficiency. This topic is much discussed, but with little action.
What is worse than all of this, however, is the indisputable fact that even less has been done to protect the self-sufficiency and critical infrastructures ("CI") America does have, and to do so in a way and with an aggressiveness and a priority that reflects the world the way it is today, rather than 50 years ago. American business and government has assumed this risk on behalf of all Americans, knowingly. This, too must change.
Primary Objectives and Target Areas
Edited by Ross Leo, Chief Systems and Security Architect at Cirrus Informatics, Inc., the objectives of this series include providing timely, well-researched, and informative pieces on the specific areas and issues associated with safeguarding America's critical infrastructures. These areas will include those identified in the President's Report (see above), but will not be limited to them;
- Water supplies, processing, and distribution;
- Banking and Finance, including exchanges and the Federal Reserve system;
- Telecommunications and Information Systems networking;
- Medical services, including emergency response and capacity;
- Transportation and distribution;
- Agriculture and food supplies;
- Continuity of government
- Fuels, sources, supplies and supply chains, dependency, distribution;
- North American electrical grid;
- Systems that are used in support and control (SCADA);
- Role of DoD, FEMA, DHS, and other agencies;
An issue of particular concern regards the evaluation of risks, threats, assets, countermeasures, response, and restoration of a CI component. Another issue that will be addressed in each article (where possible and sensible to the topic discussion) is the cost-effectiveness of potential protective measures. The international implications of these issues will also be evaluated, as will US policy.
This series will be suitable for use as professional reference material, a "practitioner's handbook," or a university text (primary or adjunct). The intended target audiences for this series include:
- Owner/Operators of CI components nationwide;
- FSL (Federal, State, and Local) Government agencies and their managers having a role in CI protection, or that are CI components;
- Physical security professionals;
- Information Security professionals;
- Forensics specialists;
- First Responder organizations;
- Audit professionals employed by or that work with CI components;
- Universities and libraries;
- Law enforcement agencies and professionals;
- Engineering professionals who work in areas of CI as designers, constructors, or maintenance;
Current Prospective Topics
- A "state of the union" evaluation of CIP origins and progress
- SCADA: the technology, the implementations, the pervasiveness, and their risks;
- Port Security and shipping
- Foreign fuel dependency and the implications of a continuation of this policy;
- "Gridlock" - the North American electrical grid: its structure, operation, and security
- American highways and roads
- Medical Infrastructure: capabilities and capacities
- The Continued threat of NBC terrorism: real or imagined?
- National Policy on CI protection: The work behind the words
- An Assessment of FSL Agency Readiness
- The Telecommunications Infrastructure: Risks, Remediation, Resilience
- Agriculture and Food supplies
- Urban Transit systems: critical or expendable?
- First Responders: How ready are they?
- Immigration and Threats at the Border
- Protection of the Citizen: What is the social cost of securing CI?
- The Legal Framework of CIP
- Protective Professions and organizations
- Educational Programs: Academic, Professional, General
- CIP Risk Assessment and Management: A Process
- Extracting, Refining, and Providing needed natural resources
- Monitoring potential sources of threat and action against CI: the Good Guys
- Air Transportation systems
- Picking up the pieces: Forensics, Analysis, and Lessons for the future of CIP
- The effect of American political policy on the threats to CI
- Impacts to the American financial systems and markets; worldwide effects
- Continuity of government
- The role of the DoD
- Potential downstream effects and international impacts
- Revival of the American Civil Defense System
If you are interested in being part of the exciting new project, please contact
Ross A. Leo.