Infrastructure protection plan calls for data warehouse

The Homeland Security Department plans to build a system for for collecting and storing data on critical infrastructures across the country, according to the updated National Infrastructure Protection Plan published online Feb. 19.

The Infrastructure Data Warehouse is one of the new elements developed in the two years since the last plan, said Brandon Wales, director of risk management at DHS' Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center.

In the past, the department aimed to buy data when it needed information for critical infrastructure analysis, Wales said. According to a new policy, DHS is creating a federated architecture by which federal, state and local agencies and industry can maintain the data and feed it into the warehouse.

“We have changed the policy from buying data to developing a federated architecture,” Wales said.

About 30 states are already participating in the first phase of that architecture through the Automated Critical Asset Management System. Most are sharing the information collected in that system with DHS, Wales said.

The next steps are to work with other partners to develop standards and protocols for data collection, storage and sharing. The infrastructure protection plan provides some details on achieving those goals.

“Data is a huge limitation for the analysis of [critical infrastructure] information,” Wales said. “When we do analysis, we would like to use the most authoritative information available.

The department also works with Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories to conduct advanced infrastructure simulation and modeling analysis.

The 2009 critical infrastructure plan replaces the 2006 version. The 188-page document is introduced by former Secretary Michael Chertoff even though he has been replaced by Secretary Janet Napolitano under the new administration.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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