Protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure is a national security imperative which should incorporate sophisticated threat analysis and assessment methodologies to facilitate well-informed risk management decisions. In assessing the threat to any given critical infrastructure asset, it’s first necessary to identify the range of associated vulnerabilities. This enables a logical evaluation of how a range of potential adversaries with varying objectives and capabilities might plan and execute an attack against the asset. This level of evaluation is performed by identifying the asset’s dependencies on supporting infrastructures and a Red Team analysis approach to examine threats through the eyes of the enemy.
The US government has effective methodologies to identify the individual critical infrastructure assets that are the most vital to sustaining our national security — militarily, economically and otherwise. Appropriately, as these assets are identified, they are given priority for security resourcing. However, there is a strong tendency to protect these assets through a “bunker hardening" mentality which often leads to the development of security programs that do not fully acknowledge that the enemy gets a vote. This potential shortfall is effectively addressed by security and protection programs which incorporate a process of viewing our critical infrastructure assets through the prism of a sophisticated and determined adversary.
The destruction or disruption of an enemy’s national infrastructures is a fundamental principle of war. Another key tenant of war is that an attacking force will endeavor to avoid engaging an opponent’s defensive strengths; rather, it studies the enemy to identify vulnerabilitiesand other exploitable defensive weaknesses that will enable asymmetric advantage. Our critical assets are likely known to potential adversaries with interests in understanding our key capabilities.
Read the complete report in the June/July Homeland Security Today.
Aden Magee is a retired US Army military intelligence officer who is currently in his 10th year as a Booz Allen thought-leader, providing consultation services to DoD, DHS and FBI. Magee currently performs as the senior intelligence advisor to the Defense Intelligence Agency, Americas Regional Center, Cyber and DoD Infrastructure Threat Division.