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Critical Infrastructure in the United States-Discussion for Homeland Security Fall 2013

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Critical Infrastructure in the United States-Discussion for Homeland Security Fall 2013
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    Tancredi 1  Nicholas Tancredi EMA 311-1O Week 7 Discussion 13 November 2013 Critical Infrastructure in the United States Protecting critical infrastructure in the United States is vitally important, because in the United States alone, there are many power plants, seaports, airports, theme parks, rail lines, as well as government buildings. The United States has seen attacks on critical infrastructure in 1993, which was the first world trade center bombing, the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, and the most notorious September 11 th  attacks in 2001. Moreover, it seems as if the importance of government buildings, as well as private corporations, are still not on the top of most politicians “to-do” lists, even though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is always talking about the importance of protecting buildings. To back up this theory, the article The Challenge of  Protecting Critical Infrastructure  poses the statement, “Strategies to protect critical infrastructure are not viable unless they are politically and economically stable” (Auerswald, Branscomb, La Porte, Michel-Kerjan, 2005). As stated from the article The Challenge of Protecting Critical Infrastructure , “In both  public/private and private/private partnerships, the tension between organizational autonomy and the independence of the constituent units of the large-scale system makes communication and coordination critical” (Auerswald, Branscomb, La Porte, Michel-Kerjan, 2005). Essentially, communication during the September 11 th  attacks, Hurricane Katrina, as well as the 2003  Northeast Blackout illustrated that communication and coordination was absent, and ends up doing more damage than the actual crisis. Moreover, the 22 federal agencies that makes up DHS, as well as the “current reform of the intelligence services, is the most significant federal reorganization of the past half-century, although DHS has yet to give priority to addressing the vulnerability of critical infrastructure” (Auerswald, Branscomb, La Porte, Michel-Kerjan, 2005). In addition to public and private infrastructures, the healthcare and public health systems are also at risk for attacks. DHS developed a National Infrastructure Plan that revolves around Healthcare and the Public Health Sector. Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD-7) has found 17 critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) and designated Federal Government Sector-Specific (SSA) to facilitate safeguarding each (DHS). The SSA for the Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) Sector is the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “The HPH Sector is highly dependent on fellow sectors for continuity of operations and service delivery including: the Energy, Water, Transportation, Emergency Services, Food & Agriculture, Information Technology, and Communications Sectors” (DHS). It is the vision of the Healthcare and Public Health Sector to achieve overall resiliency against all threats that are both man-made and natural. Additionally, an essential component to implement the success of the public and  private partnership is effective and timely information sharing (DHS). All in all, public, private, and healthcare infrastructure protection has and is in the eye of DHS, as well as in the eye of scholars who have seen the failures of the past. Even though DHS has increased its efforts in safeguarding America’s infrastructures both before and after the    Tancredi 2 September 11 th  attacks, we are still not prepared as a nation to experience another terrorist attack. It is not hard to see why hospitals must be protected against terrorist attacks, although, in an real emergency where there is a large scale attack or bombing, such that of the September 11 th  attacks, the Boston bombing, the Northeast Blackout or even more common a large-scale shooting, we can no longer be blinded in this country that more than one events could happen at the same time, and one of those events could be occurring at a hospital. Politicians, DHS, and other federal agencies must not be blinded that the United States has one of the top militaries and technology. What DHS, as well as Washington must do is re-examine what they have already implemented, not what has only worked in the past. These large-scale terrorist, or even domestic terrorist events could happen. The when and the where is the problem. “We know we cannot underestimate the importance of emergency planning in our region, nor can we assume we'll have ample warning time. If an earthquake or terrorist attack hits, we won't necessarily have advance alerts or opportunities to double- and triple-check our plans”- Ellen Tauscher   (Brainyquote, 2013). Works Cited Auerswald, P., Branscomb, L. M., LaPorte, T. M., & Michel-Kerjan, E. (2005). The Challenge of Protecting Critical Infrastructure.  Issues in Science and Technology , 05 (11), 1-14. Retrieved from http://opim.wharton.upenn.edu/risk/downloads/05-11-EMK.pdf . Brainyquote. (2013).  Emergency Quotes . Retrieved from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/emergency.html. DHS (n.d.).  National Infrastructure Protection Plan Healthcare and Public Sector  .
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