New DHS plans target sector-specific infrastructure protection

National Infrastructure Protection Plan Fact Sheet

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To help government and private organizations better prepare for a major cybersecurity breach, terrorist attack or natural disaster, the Homeland Security Department has published new, sector-specific plans that provide a framework for them to follow.

Part of DHS’ National Infrastructure Protection Plan, the Sector-Specific Plans provide guidance for protecting 17 infrastructures and resources deemed important to protect under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7. The plans are designed to “promote greater consistency of protective programs and resources within the sectors,” a DHS press release states.

Most of the 17 sector plans would protect resources owned by private industry. The purpose of the plans is to coordinate efforts between government and private industry by cataloging existing security authorities and delegating roles and responsibilities to reduce the risk of an attack.

“The consequences of an assault against America's vast network of critical infrastructure sites could be dire, both in loss of life and in economic impact,” said DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff in a statement. “The security road map announced [May 21] reflects unprecedented coordination among the public and private sectors.”

The objective is to provide consistent response plans, rapid recovery of assets after an attack and better information sharing among resource-owning entities.

The 17 infrastructures and resources covered by the plans are:
  • Agriculture and food.
  • Banking and finance.
  • Chemicals.
  • Commercial facilities.
  • Commercial nuclear reactors, including materials and waste.
  • Dams.
  • Defense industrial base.
  • Drinking water and water treatment systems.
  • Emergency services.
  • Energy-related resources.
  • Government facilities.
  • Information technology.
  • National monuments and icons.
  • Postal and shipping.
  • Public health and health care.
  • Telecommunications.
  • Transportation systems including mass transit, aviation, maritime, ground or surface, rail and pipeline systems.

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