ICF to develop infrastructure plan

Homeland Security Presidential Directive/Hspd-7

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ICF Consulting Group Inc., a management, technology and consulting firm, has been awarded a $2.7 million contract by the Homeland Security Department to help create a national critical infrastructure protection plan for assets, such as communications systems, power grids and transportation networks.

The Fairfax, Va.-based company will help the department's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection directorate develop a strategic framework over the next 11 months that will involve engaging the different sectors referenced in a presidential directive issued last December, said Michael Armstrong, the company's vice president. Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 established the creation of a national plan to identify, prioritize, and protect the country's critical infrastructure and key resources across various sectors from a terrorist attack.

Those sectors include information technology, telecommunications, chemical, transportation systems— including mass transit, aviation, maritime, ground/surface, rail and pipeline systems, emergency services, and postal and shipping. It is estimated that as much as 85 percent of the nation's critical infrastructures is privately owned.

Armstrong said the strategic approach, still under development, will involve exchanging information, as well as developing protocols, procedures and plans for how each of the sectors might be involved. "It's kind of a document that doesn't have a finality to it," Armstrong said. "It will keep growing over time."

"A lot of this has to do with making sure there's an organized and collaborative approach to this," added Armstrong. "In saying that, we also try to avoid duplications — have focus — and given the subject matter there's some urgency to this. So we're moving at a pretty fast pace to come up with some documents."

Armstrong said ICF's expertise lies in services in the environmental, transportation, emergency management and homeland security, information technology, communications and human capital management sectors. A majority of its work is with the federal government, particularly with the Federal Emergency Management Administration, which is now under DHS, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The federal government has been reaching out to the private sector for help with documenting critical infrastructures. More than a month ago, DHS initiated a program allowing the private sector to voluntarily submit sensitive data about physical and cyber infrastructure that would be kept confidential. Such data would be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and shielded from access by third parties, or state and local governments for use in civil litigation.

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