Improving Homeland Security &
Paula D. Gordon, Ph.D.
An Overview of the Problem
~ What major homeland security and critical infrastructure protection initiatives have evolved and begun to be implemented since 9/11 and
Before addressing these questions, it may be helpful to consider homeland security and critical infrastructure protection efforts in light of the problemsolving process. Note: "Problemsolving" will be used here as shorthand for "addressing a set of complex problems, challenges, and threats".
What are the major elements of problemsolving? The major elements involved in problemsolving can be seen as including problem definition, identification of alternative courses of action, resource availability, managerial capability, and leadership. In Table 1, these are more fully elaborated.
Table 1: Elements of Problemsolving
~ Problem Definition: Recognizing, defining, and understanding the nature and scope of the problem
~ Alternative Courses of Action: Identifying and judging the merits, feasibility, and potential promise of different possible approaches to addressing the problem
~ Resource Availability: Possessing adequate human, fiscal, and material resources and the ability to muster the resources needed to address the problem
~ Managerial Capability: Possessing adequate managerial and administrative capability needed to orchestrate efforts to address the problem
~ Leadership: Having the skills, vision, knowledge, experience, interest, understanding, initiative, commonsense, courage, sense of responsibility, ingenuity, creativity, commitment, and tenacity to determine and carry out a course of action, and having the flexibility and perceptivity to change course as changing circumstances may require.
The events of September and October 2001 set in motion efforts to address challenges that had not been experienced before, challenges that very few had even imagined. The organization of government efforts on and after 9/11 was of necessity undertaken hastily. There was little time to give adequate attention to all the various elements involved in problemsolving that ideally should have been addressed. Action was needed on many fronts at once. Indeed multiple crises needed to be addressed. Initial efforts were born in an atmosphere of crisis. Even strategic planning efforts took shape in an atmosphere of crisis. These efforts reflected an amalgam of many different perspectives concerning the nature and scope of the problems, challenges, and threats before us.
There have been many milestones to date: Plans, actions, and objectives have undergone many changes in the aftermath of 9/11. The U.S. Patriot Act was enacted into law. Executive Orders and Presidential Directives have been issued or have been the focus of renewed attention. A National Strategy for Homeland Security was crafted by the Office of Homeland Security and released in July of 2002. In addition, the National Homeland Security Act of 2002 establishing the Department of Homeland Security was enacted into law in November of 2002.
The following strategies were released by the Administration beginning in September of 2002. To a greater or lesser extent, these strategies all pertain to homeland security and critical infrastructure protection. These include: The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (September 2002), National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction (December 2002), National Strategy for Combating Terrorism (February 2003), The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace (February 2003), and The National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets (February 2003).
Some generalizations are offered here in Table 2 concerning ways in which the Administration has been addressing homeland security and critical infrastructure security efforts since 9/11.
Table 2: The Administration's Critical Infrastructure Protection Efforts Since 9/11
~ Development of pertinent strategy documents
~ Development and passage of pertinent legislation
~ Attention has been given to refining the way in which critical infrastructure
is defined and to understanding critical infrastructure interdependencies
and vulnerabilities and determining priority areas of consideration.
~ Increasing attention has been given to ways of protecting critical infrastructure.
~ Advisory groups and other organized efforts
that came into being under PDD/NSC-63 prior to 9/11 have shifted
~ Additional advisory groups and additional organized efforts have
been established at several levels since 9/11. The newly
established groups provide the Administration a means of eliciting
the national strategy.
~ Efforts have been expended in the establishment of public/private sector
partnerships, including notably the Partnership for Critical Infrastructure
~ Strategies relating to the National Strategy for Homeland Security have led to the enabling legislation and to the development and refinement of related strategies and plans of actions.
Major Critical Infrastructure Noted in the National Strategy and in the Homeland Security Act of 2002
The Federal government's list of critical infrastructure and key assets includes the following:
~ agriculture, food (including meat and poultry
and all other food products);
~ public health;
~ emergency services (including emergency preparedness communications systems);
~ government (including continuity of government and continuity of operations;
~ defense industrial base;
~ information and information technology systems (including electronic financial
and property record storage and transmission systems);
~ telecommunications systems (including satellites);
~ energy (including power production, generation, and distribution systems);
~ banking and finance;
~ chemical industry and hazardous materials;
~ postal and shipping; and
~ national monuments and icons.
(from the National Strategy on Homeland
Security, p. 32 and Title II,
In the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the term "'critical infrastructure' (also) has the meaning given that term in section 1016(e) of Public Law 107-56 (42 U.S.C. 519c(e)". In that section, the term "critical infrastructure" means "systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the U.S. that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or/and combination of such matters."
The Major Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiatives in the National Strategy and the Homeland Security Act of 2002
The major initiatives pertaining to critical infrastructure protection as these are described in the National Strategy for Homeland Security and as they have been mandated in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 include the following:
~ Unify America's infrastructure protection effort in the Department of Homeland Security.
~ Build and maintain a complete and accurate assessment of America's critical infrastructure and key assets.
~ Develop a national infrastructure plan.
~ Securing cyberspace.
~ Harness the best analytic and modeling tools to develop effective protective solutions.
~ Guard America's critical infrastructure and key assets against 'inside' threats.
~ Partner with the international community to protect our transnational infrastructure.
The Homeland Security Act of 2002, as well other key Administration's actions and initiatives, reflect a certain approach to the defining the scope and nature of the problem of homeland security and critical infrastructure security. This is true of the National Strategy on Homeland Security (July 2002) and the subsequent release of related strategies. The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace (February 2003) has spelled out in greater detail strategies for addressing cyber-related infrastructure concerns. The National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets (February 2003) has focused on strategies for addressing non-cyber-related infrastructure concerns. An alternative set of strategies based on a somewhat broader way of defining the problem will be described later in this paper. This set of strategies will highlight approaches that would help improve current efforts.
Similarity of Goals
It also bears noting that while the definition of the problem in that alternative approach is different in some ways from the definition of the problem implicit in the Administration's approach, the implicit and explicit goals that both Secretary Ridge and President Bush have stated are quite similar to the goals of the alternative approach. They share a common emphasis on national, economic, and personal and societal security.
In November of 2001, Governor Tom Ridge, then head of the Office of Homeland Security, spoke of the need for a strategy that would help ensure national security and economic security, as well as personal security. Indeed, in signing the terrorism insurance bill on November 26, 2002, President Bush also underscored his determination "to make American safer" and "make our economy stronger."