Since rejoining the private sector after serving as Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, I am often reminded of the important partnership between the public and private sectors in protecting our critical infrastructure. As we champion “collective defense,” we rightly recognize that infrastructure owners are on the front lines of the modern-day battlefield, and everyone’s help is required.
As the Chair of Homeland Security Today’s efforts surrounding Infrastructure Security Month, my aim is to raise awareness and increase collaboration between the private sector, Intelligence and National Security partners, law enforcement, and academia.
Coming off Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October, it only makes sense that we now turn our focus to protecting critical Infrastructure. Today, the threat landscape is blended, and we must embrace “convergence” while holistically embracing the IT/OT/physical security disciplines. Cyber attacks can have operational impacts, and physical attacks can lead to losing critical cyber systems.
During the month of November, I personally will be laser-focused on several current and emerging issues. Issues such as insider threat, the evolution of gunshot-detection technology in our schools, continuous monitoring of our IT and Industrial Control Systems, third-party supply chain risk, and how China is targeting the data from infrastructure owners and operators. These are big issues, but I would also add: should Space be a new infrastructure sector? Can we ensure that nation-state adversaries don’t leapfrog the U.S. bio-economy, and can we mitigate risk to the digital ecosystem by building America/buying American?
As the Russia-Ukraine war wages on, we have seen renewed interest and the targeting of civilian infrastructure. While the shelling of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has intensified, we are also witnessing deliberate sanitation plant shutoffs, attacks on pipelines, and the weaponization of water. Iranian-supplied drones, flown by Russian operators, have become a game-changer — and a tactic of which U.S. security organizations should take note and monitor. This is proof positive that civilian infrastructure is clearly “in-play” and we should not be duped to believe that Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran would avoid such targets.
As a reader of Homeland Security Today, you know that we work to amplify DHS’ awareness months by encouraging you to share your insights, experiences, and best practices with colleagues and others in the HSToday readership. For the past 5 years, we have worked to create a platform for homeland security leaders, experts, and practitioners to learn the latest thought leadership on the most important issues facing our country.
We’re proud to say that your contributions are noted by law enforcement, emergency managers, counterterrorism experts and others across the world. Only at HSToday do you have a cadre of experts who have practiced in both the public and private sectors sharing their experiences to protect the nation through information sharing and intelligent, pragmatic problem-solving.
We cover some of the most important, and least covered, challenges for our nation. And that is why your contributions are so critical.
It’s not “newsworthy” if your chemical plant thwarts a physical or cyber attack. It’s not “sexy” if you deliver reliable, safe, and resilient power to your population. It is not front-page news when that high school football game went off without a security concern. However, here at HSToday, we think it is! All across the nation, practitioners like you are vigilant, watchful, always improving, evaluating the latest technologies, battling red tape, and fighting for budget dollars with the ultimate goal of protecting our critical infrastructure.
Share with us your stress-tested advice and wisdom!
I invite you to share your advice and expertise here at Homeland Security Today.
If you have an idea, we are extremely interested in hearing it. If you have a best practice that should be shared across our community, please share it. HSToday wants you to share what you see emerging over the horizon, a “lesson learned” from your experience, or just your opinion about the homeland security enterprise.
Thank you for your service on the front lines. Thank you for reading HSToday and please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any ideas or suggestions.