Critical Infrastructure

DHS infrastructure group searches for relevance

Shutterstock image (by gyn9037): High voltage towers, electricity infrastructure. 

A Homeland Security advisory group is sharpening its focus and methods to get information on critical infrastructure out to stakeholders.

The National Infrastructure Advisory Council studies potential risks for critical infrastructure, both in the real world and in cyberspace. The 15-year-old group is also charged with recommending solutions to reduce risks to infrastructure. At the behest of the White House, the group polled senior government and private-sector leaders to see what it could do better in the future.

NIAC found that its mission and operations are not well understood by stakeholders and policymakers, that its recommendations don't always reach the target audience, that customers would appreciate interim findings as studies progress and that its final reports "may be too dense for easy use" by NIAC stakeholders.

Additionally, the group found that recommendations that are outside existing agency missions and budget frameworks are often ignored.

NIAC also charted some topics for future investigation, including making plans for dealing with risks incurred during a possible long-term power grid or fuel shortage disruption, improving the use of commercial insurance incentives to reward infrastructure firms that invest in resiliency, improving public-private information sharing and more.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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