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Emergency services rely on critical infrastructure.

Communications systems are the backbone for much of the critical infrastructure within the United States. The communications sector provides information, such as data, video, and Internet connectivity, for other sectors. This page focuses on the interdependencies between the communications sector and the national infrastructure. It provides information related to interdependent infrastructure from various government information systems, as well as information regarding the collaboration between government and the private sector.

Interdependence is particularly relevant to the public safety community. For example, in the case of a power outage, public safety workers could lose access to critical resources, such as telephones and computers. Several recent large-scale power outages, such as the 2003 Northeast Region Blackout and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, have highlighted the strong interdependencies between the power and communications sectors. Such incidents emphasize the need for locally and independently generated power, which can provide electricity to public safety workers in times of emergency.

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) works with the communications industry to develop and implement improvements to help ensure the reliability, redundancy and security of the nation's communications infrastructure. In an effort to reduce vulnerabilities, PSHSB oversees and analyzes network outage reports submitted by communications providers to identify trends in network disruptions. Through this process, PSHSB works with communications providers to facilitate improvements to communications infrastructure dependability.

Interdependencies Resources

The following resources focus on government information related to interdependent infrastructure systems. They provide a more in-depth discussion of this vital information and offer specific plans for vulnerability reduction.

Federal Resources | Sector-Specific Resources | Recommended Sites

Federal Resources

U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability

Hardening and Resiliency (2010) (pdf)
U.S. Energy Industry Response to Recent Hurricane Seasons Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration

Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Events and the Critical Infrastructure Workforce Final Report and Recommendations (2008) (pdf)
This report studied the impact of chemical, biological, and radiological events on critical infrastructure personnel.

Critical Infrastructure Protection
The nation's critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) include systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating impact on national security, national economic vitality, or public health and safety.

Cross Sector Interdependencies and Risk Assessment Guidance Final Report and Recommendations (2004) (pdf)
This report studied interdependencies and examined how to coordinate event management between critical infrastructures.

Defense Critical Infrastructure: Actions Needed to Improve Electrical Power Risks (2009) (pdf)
This Government Accounting Office report provides recommendations to reduce DOD's electrical power supply vulnerabilities to its most critical assets.

Department of Energy Strategic Plans
These plans promote energy security, nuclear security, scientific discovery and innovation, and environmental responsibility.

Emergency Communications During the Minneapolis Bridge Disaster
To better understand the communications needs of emergency responders, the Communications Systems Analysis Division of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau studied the impact of the Minneapolis bridge collapse on local emergency communications systems.

Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-7 (2003)
Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-7 was created to identify critical infrastructure to prioritize key national resources and protect them from terrorist attacks.

Improving Information Sharing with Infrastructure Sectors (2004) (pdf)
This Government Accounting Office report encourages information-sharing partnerships between industry sectors and government to protect critical infrastructure.

The Insider Threat to Critical Infrastructures (2008) (pdf)
This study defines insider threats as both physical and cyber. It analyzes the scope, dynamics, and the effects of globalization, and outlines potential threats and analyzes the challenges that arise when screening employees for insider threat risk.

National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) (2006) (pdf)
NIPP and supporting Sector-Specific Plans provide a coordinated approach to critical infrastructure and roles and responsibilities for federal, state, local, tribal, and private sector security partners.

Technical Assistance Briefs: Utility and Network Interdependencies: What State Regulators Need to Know (2005) (pdf)
Technical Assistance Briefs are recommendations by NARUC's Ad Hoc Committee on Critical Infrastructure that provide public utility commissioners and other participants in the regulatory policy community with introductory overviews, suggested protocols, and resources for critical infrastructure protection issues.

Sector Specific Information

Banking and Finance: Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources
This site outlines what infrastructures and resources are critical to the banking and finance sectors.

Emergency Services
This site outlines what infrastructures and key resources are critical to emergency services.

The Energy Sector: Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources
This site outlines how the energy sector focuses on power used to run cellular towers, central offices, and other critical communications facilities.

The Information Technology Sector (IT): Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources
This site outlines how the IT sector focuses on entities that produce and provide hardware, software, and IT systems and services.

Postal and Shipping
This site outlines what infrastructures and resources are critical to the postal and shipping sectors.

Recommended Sites

InfraGard, a partnership between the Federal Bureau Investigation and the private sector, is an information-sharing and analysis effort. InfraGard is a membership only Web site.

Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security (PCIS) Business Plan
PCIS is a non-profit organization formed to address cross-sector critical infrastructure protection and interdependency issues.