By Kevin Coleman -- Defense Tech Cyberwarfare correspondent
Protecting and ensuring the integrity and continuity of the United States’ critical infrastructure is essential to our nation's security, public health and safety, as well as our economic vitality. Last week General Keith Alexander, director of the new U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, acknowledged the need to enhance the security of our critical infrastructure. He is strongly advocating a "secure, protected zone" that encapsulates our critical infrastructure.
According to DHS, critical infrastructure (CI) are the assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, public health or safety, or any combination thereof.
This is a single component of what has been called a “team approach” to helping protect the nation's critical infrastructure from devastating cyber attacks. Back in July of this year the GAO issued a report titled - CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION: Key Private and Public Cyber Expectations Need to Be Consistently Addressed.
This report is an interesting read; however, it needs much more input from the owners and operators of our critical infrastructure of which the private sector owns about 85 percent of the assets. Some pundits point out that public private partnerships do not have a track record of success and add in the military, this partnership will be a huge challenge!
FACT: The military uses an incident command system that is totally different from the one used by DHS, the offices of emergency services in each state and what is used by the private sector.
FACT - The Department of Homeland Security has a database containing over 80,000 components of the U.S. critical infrastructure.