DHS releases more detailed infrastructure plan

The Homeland Security Department has released a revised draft of its National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) that includes more specific information than a version issued last November, DHS officials said.

The 234-page document incorporates changes suggested in almost 7,000 comments from industry, government and nonprofit organizations to improve the plan’s efficiency and effectiveness, according to a DHS statement.

The plan now includes an executive summary, requirements for the department's operational risk-management framework and other additions, the document states.

Mandated by President Bush, NIPP establishes a framework for operational risk assessment. It sets measurable milestones of what government and industry need to do to protect major physical, human and cyber assets from terrorist attacks.

DHS released the first NIPP draft in November 2005 and accepted the first round of comments until Dec. 5, 2005. The prior version lacked specific details and focused on terrorism-related incidents without addressing natural disasters and disease pandemics, which worried infrastructure protection and emergency management experts.

DHS released the latest draft Jan. 20 but has not posted it online. The department is accepting a second round of comments at nipp@dhs.gov through Feb. 6.

The final version of the NIPP is expected in early 2006, and specific requirements for each of the 17 critical infrastructure sectors, such as cybersecurity and telecommunications, are due six months afterward.

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