Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources
Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources
Critical infrastructures are those whose disruption can cause a significant economic and military disturbance. These critical infrastructures compose of state assets such as power grids, dams, chemical plants and monuments that are so important to the United States that an attack on them might cause massive loss of life or significantly affect the morale of the nation. The federal government always try to reduce the impact of any future terrorist attack on the nations critical infrastructure and take into considerations what those impacts might be and the likelihood of their occurring.
An example of a critical infrastructure is the Washington Monument; which is located east of the reflecting pool and the Lincoln Memorial and was built to commemorate George Washington, the first president of the United States. It is the worlds tallest stone structure and the tallest obelisk and has a height of 554 feet and 711/32 inches (169.046) tall. Federal offices buildings all over the country are also categorized as critical infrastructures.
Federal Office Buildings as CIKR and Their Public Private Partnership Structure
Terrorism is a significant threat to buildings owned and leased by the federal, the civil servants and military personnels who work there, and also the public who visit them. For example, September 11, 2001, attacks the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Several federal office buildings on which there could be severe terrorist attacks that may disrupt the business of the government and harm federal employees and the public. Above 8,000 buildings owned and controlled by SGA are leased nationwide and occupy about 338 million square feet of space (Ayana, 2016). The properties include court houses, office buildings, border stations and other facility types; they represent the about 6 percent of all area owned by the federal government worldwide and 39 percent of all federally leased space worldwide.GSA also owns the major departmental headquarters in Washington, D.C., such as the department of state, justice and internalcoordination.Alsoother multi agency federal office buildings in the central cities, such as New york, Chicago and the Federal Courthouse in the country (Nadai&Padanyi, 2016).
Many threats are a challenge for GSA as the landlord and these buildings owner; therefore, they have to maintain a proper level of security without limiting the public to get to federal offices for services they need from the government. The federal government should work with all the stake holders and other jurisdictions that have interest in the type of security provided and also Securing access to privately owned buildings and space where GSA lease for federal agencies. In situations where GSA does not have control over the buildings, the government has to provide law enforcement and security related functions. Its a major challenge for GSA to balance publics access to government offices for services but also prevent people who have intentions of harming those in the buildings. Local organizations also cooperate with FPS by allowing them to link their radio systems to enhance communication between the involved entities.
Institution Responsible for Providing Institutional Knowledge and Specialized Expertise
According to Forest, J. J. F. (2006) FPS transferred to DHS through Homeland Security Act which was effective March 1, 2003.This assignment was supposed to improve law enforcement and other security related functions by Merging building security activities with other homeland security functions. This act makes DHS responsible for protecting all property that is under GSAs jurisdiction but occupied, or secured by the federal government and also other DHS facilities. An operational memorandum of agreement in March 2003 DHS and FPs made FPS responsible for the same type of security that FPS provided for GSA properties before the transfer to DHS. These include performing risk management, installation of safety equipment. They also conduct criminal investigations and manage the contract guard program. FPS and USMS also made some enhancements to their operations and physical security features at the courthouse after the September 2011 attack (Forest, 2006).
Risk Assessment and Management and activities effectiveness evaluation
Federal buildings can face threats such as animosity from angry citizens, which can lead to violence in some hence putting those working in federal buildings and those who are visiting into a cross fire. There may also be the risk of unauthorized access and terrorism which are also a threat to those in the buildings; such cases include the attack on Las Vegas federal court and the attack on Internal Revenue Service building in Texas (Moteff,2009).
Other Vulnerabilities include operation challenges by the law enforcement agencies that can test their ability to accomplish their mission, for example, FPSs decreased their staff by about 20 percent between the year 2004 and 2007 hence affecting security at SGA facilities and increased the risk of terrorist attacks and crime in these establishments.
Management of Risks in Federal buildings is heightened by improving the technical skills and training of law enforcement officers who protect these federal buildings such as FPS and hiring more of these officers. Funding should also be developed to enable the agencies to conduct their business with less tight budgets, ensuring effective coordination of preparedness and response efforts and also developing long-term construction standards for facilities requiring specific security measures and use of latest security technology at federal facilities can also manage these risks.
One can evaluate the effectiveness of these by use of risk management processes such as Federal Security Management (FSRM) for assessing federally owned and leased facilities and use of security design criteria which can be updated annually. The sectors specific agencies should report to on their efforts to identify, prioritize and coordinate the protection initiatives in the various critical infrastructure sectors to enable sharing of information through the process.
In conclusion, terrorists always look vulnerabilities that they can use to attack this great nation thus the federal government has a crucial role in protecting our national icons and monument that could be attacked for symbolic reasons and ensure the safety of the millions of people visiting them. Significant progress has been made by the agencies responsible in improving security. For this to happen there should be vulnerability assessment of high profile sites that are likely to be targeted and more security measures should be implemented.
Ayana, S. (2016). Research partnerships benefit military readiness, medical education. Retrieved from https://www.army.mil/article/177993/research_partnerships_benefit_military_readiness_medical_education
Forest, J. J. F. (2006). Critical Infrastructure. Westport, Conn: Praeger Security.
Nadai, L. &Padanyi, J. (2016). Critical infrastructure protection research: Results of the first critical infrastructure protection research project in Hungary.
Moteff, J. D., & LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE. (2009). Critical Infrastructures: Background, Policy, and Implementation. Ft. Belvoir: Defense Technical Information Center
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