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National Infrastructure Protection Program Sector-Specific Plans

May 21, 2007

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U.S. Critical Infrastructure Sectors Formalize Risk-Reduction Roadmaps


Protecting the critical infrastructure and key resources of the United States - from both deliberate terrorist attack and destructive natural events - is essential to the Nation's security, public health, safety and economic vitality. Our vast infrastructure network includes thousands of essential facilities and plants, transportation networks and information technology systems. Widely dispersed throughout every geographic area in the country, these assets sustain our very way of life.

DHS Core Priorities

  1. Protect our Nation from Dangerous People
  2. Protect our Nation from Dangerous Goods
  3. Protect Critical Infrastructure
  4. Build a Nimble, Effective Emergency Management System and Culture of Preparedness
  5. Strengthen and Unify DHS Operations and Management

Plans to strengthen and protect the Nation's critical infrastructure and key resources are mandated by presidential direction and directly support the core priorities of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The previously published National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) provides an overall architecture for safeguarding the Nation's infrastructure. Its 17 supporting Sector-Specific Plans (SSPs) being released today have created a comprehensive risk management framework to establish national priorities, goals, and requirements to protect critical infrastructure and key resources. In short, the SSPs together serve as a roadmap for how infrastructure sector stakeholders are implementing core security enhancements, communicating within their sectors and with governments to reduce risk, and iteratively strengthening security.

Sector Partnership Model

The SSPs are the culmination of a national planning effort that began almost five years ago. They reflect literally thousands of hours of outreach and collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security and other Federal, State, local, tribal, and private sector security partners. Specifically, over 200 Federal employees in the 17 sector-specific agencies and over 500 private sector organizations and entities have participated in this effort.

The NIPP relies on the sector partnership model as the primary organizational structure for coordinating its protection mission. For each infrastructure sector, a Sector Coordinating Council representing the private sector and a Government Coordinating Council was created to share data, techniques, best practices, and to support systematic risk-based planning. These two mutually supporting mechanisms facilitate consensus approaches to protection efforts. DHS provides guidance, tools, and support to assist these sector-specific groups in working together to carry out their responsibilities.

This consultation framework does not yield a static plan, so it is important to underscore that the nomenclature of sector specific plans should not suggest a project that is now complete. Rather, these SPPs reflect a consensus starting point, substantial progress made, and a road ahead for further security work. Each will be continuously reviewed and regularly updated, improved and modified as appropriate.

The 17 critical infrastructure and key resource sectors and designated lead Federal agencies (the SSAs) for each of the sectors are shown below.

Table 1
The Seventeen Critical Infrastructure Sectors
Critical Infrastructure / Key Resources Sectors Federal Sector-Specific Agency Leads
Agriculture and Food Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services 1
Banking and Finance Department of the Treasury
Chemical Department of Homeland Security
Commercial Facilities Department of Homeland Security
Commercial Nuclear Reactors, Materials and Waste Department of Homeland Security
Dams Department of Homeland Security
Defense Industrial Base Department of Defense
Drinking Water and Water Treatment Systems Environmental Protection Agency
Emergency Services Department of Homeland Security
Energy Department of Energy 2
Government Facilities Department of Homeland Security
Information Technology Department of Homeland Security
National Monuments and Icons Department of the Interior
Postal and Shipping Department of Homeland Security
Public Health and Healthcare Department of Health and Human Services
Telecommunications Department of Homeland Security
Transportation Systems Department of Homeland Security

1 The Department of Agriculture is responsible for agriculture and food (meat, poultry and egg products) and the Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for all other food.

2 The Energy Sector includes the production, refining, storage and distribution of oil, gas and electric power, except for commercial nuclear power facilities.

Structure of the Plans

The SSPs all have a common structure. This structure ensures consistency, while allowing for the flexibility necessary to support the differing requirements among sectors. There are six essential elements that comprise each SSP:

  • Sector profile and goals
  • Identification of assets, systems, networks, and functions
  • Risk assessment
  • Infrastructure prioritization
  • Protective programs development and implementation
  • Measurement of progress

Past Work and the Way Ahead

Release of the SSPs certainly does not mark the start of efforts to reduce risk to the Nation's critical infrastructure. Sector security partners have already made significant strides in implementing protective measures and programs. Working collaboratively -- and in many cases also driven at least in part by Federal and State regulatory requirements and supported by Federal infrastructure protection grants -- many of the sectors have taken action to:

  • Protect and harden critical assets and sites
  • Enhance the resiliency and improve the restoration response time of key services
  • Promote better threat and incident information sharing between all levels of government and the private sector
  • Prioritize the highest-risk sites within and across the sectors
  • Identify vulnerabilities and close security gaps
  • Review and evaluate preparedness and protection plans
  • Identify requirements for new protective and security technologies

The formalization of the SSPs represents a significant milestone in implementation of effective risk reduction strategies. As we continue down that path, DHS and its partners will use this systematic SPP framework as the basis for ongoing efforts. Sector-Specific Agencies will continue to engage with their Government Coordinating Councils and Sector Coordinating Councils to implement the SSPs.

We live in a dynamic risk environment. As the threats to our Nation evolve, the Sector-Specific Plans will reflect those changes. DHS will continue to evaluate the changing environment of threat, the impact of the sectors' mitigation efforts and potential consequences. We will work through the sector partnership model to update the plans as necessary to ensure their relevance, and drive risk-based investments for protective measures.

Availability and Access to the Plans

DHS seeks to balance the information needs of our stakeholders, while ensuring that sensitive information is protected. Because of the security sensitivity of the data contained in SPPs, some of the plans have been designated by DHS as documents "For Official Use Only" (FOUO). This allows for wide distribution on a need-to know basis within the specific sectors, yet is intended to discourage inappropriate sharing of sensitive security planning. Other SPPs are at a level that does not require these restrictions. The FOUO designations were informed by assessments involving State, local, tribal and industry partners in collaboration with DHS.

If you are a representative of a critical sector, we encourage you to contact DHS to get information and become involved in the SPP network. Please contact the DHS NIPP program office via the web at www.dhs.gov/nipp or e-mail: . The program office will facilitate your involvement by contacting your respective Sector Coordinating Council. For appropriate private sector partners, copies of the FOUO Sector-Specific Plans will be made available via the Homeland Security Information Network portal. If you have questions about how to access the portal, please contact the NIPP program office at NIPP@dhs.gov.

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