May 21, 2007
Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD-7) identified 17 critical infrastructure and key resources (CI/KR) sectors and designated Federal Government Sector-Specific Agencies (SSAs) for each of the sectors. Each sector is responsible for developing and submitting Sector-Specific Plans and sector-level performance feedback to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enable national cross-sector CI/KR protection program gap assessments. SSAs are responsible for collaborating with private sector security partners and encouraging the development of appropriate information-sharing and analysis mechanisms within the sector. Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9 (HSPD-9) establishes a national policy to defend the food and agriculture system against terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.
The Agriculture and Food Sector has the capacity to feed and clothe people well beyond the boundaries of the Nation. The sector is almost entirely under private ownership and is composed of an estimated 2.1 million farms, and approximately 880,587 firms and 1,086,793 facilities. This sector accounts for roughly one-fifth of the Nation's economic activity and is overseen at the Federal level by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The USDA is a multifaceted department that directly impacts the lives of all U.S. citizens. One of its key roles is to ensure that the Nation's food and fiber needs are met. USDA is also the steward of our Nation's 192 million acres of national forests and rangelands, and it is the country's largest conservation agency, encouraging voluntary efforts to protect soil, water, and wildlife on the 70 percent of America's lands that are in private hands.
The FDA is responsible for the safety of 80 percent of all of the food consumed in the United States. While FDA's mission is to protect and promote public health, that responsibility is shared with: Federal, State, and local agencies; regulated industry; academia; health providers; and consumers. FDA regulates $240 billion of domestic food and $15 billion of imported food. In addition, roughly 600,000 restaurants and institutional food service providers, an estimated 235,000 grocery stores, and other food outlets are regulated by State and local authorities that receive guidance and other technical assistance from FDA.
The Agriculture and Food Sector is dependent upon: the Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment Systems Sector for clean irrigation and processed water; the Transportation Systems Sector for movement of products; the Energy Sector to power the equipment needed for agriculture production and food processing; and the Banking and Finance, Chemical, Dams, and other sectors as well.
In 2004, the Food and Agriculture Sector Coordinating Council (FASCC) was formed. The FASCC is comprised of a Government Coordinating Council and a private sector coordinating council. The FASCC hosts quarterly joint meetings that provide a public-private forum for effective coordination of agriculture security and food defense strategies and activities, policy, and communications across the entire sector to support the Nation's homeland security mission. It provides a venue to mutually plan, implement, and execute sector-wide security programs, procedures, and processes; and exchange information and assess accomplishments and progress for defending the Nation's food and agriculture critical infrastructure. It is a central forum for introducing new initiatives for mutual engagement, evaluation and implementation, resolving issues, and mutual education.
Specific joint initiatives include identifying and prioritizing items that need public-private input, coordination, implementation, and communication; coordinating and communicating issues to all members; and identifying needs/gaps in research, best practices/standards, and communications.
Strategic Partnership Program Agroterrorism Initiative. To assist in protecting the Nation's food supply, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, DHS, USDA, and HHS/FDA have developed a joint assessment program — the Strategic Partnership Program Agroterrorism (SPPA) Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to conduct a series of assessments of the Agriculture and Food Sector in collaboration with private industry and State volunteers. These assessments support the requirements for a coordinated food and agriculture infrastructure protection program as stated in the NIPP, Sector-Specific Plans, and HSPD-9.
SPPA assessments are conducted on a voluntary basis between one or more industry representatives for a particular product or commodity; their trade association; and Federal and State government agricultural, public health, and law enforcement officials. Together, a threat assessment of that industry's production process is conducted, allowing the participants to identify nodes or process points of highest concern; protective measures and mitigation steps that may reduce the susceptibility of these nodes; and research gaps and needs. Between November 2005 and July 2006, the teams assessed 14 commodities in 15 States with industry partners, and identified generic protective measures or mitigation strategies that could be beneficial to many sector industries. A one year status report for the SPPA initiative is available at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/agroter5.htm.
- Tabletop Exercises. As part of the sector's goal to improve preparedness, it is committed to conducting tabletop exercises to demonstrate how government and industry can work together more effectively during a food or water contamination incident. The sector will continue to host tabletop exercises to include scenarios on the introduction of a foreign animal disease into the Nation's agricultural systems. The exercises will focus on response and recovery coordination among Federal, State, tribal, local, and industry stakeholders.
- Training. FDA and USDA developed an on-line Food Defense Awareness training course targeted to Federal, State, and local regulators; local law enforcement; food program administrators; and industry. The goal of the course was to increase awareness of the potential for intentional adulteration of the food supply. The course is available online at www.fda.gov/ora/training/orau/FoodSecurity/startpage.html.
For questions or more information, please contact NIPP@dhs.gov or visit www.dhs.gov/nipp.