The dam at Fort Gibson Lake The dam at Fort Gibson Lake, Okla., on June 2, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick Bray)

CISA to Work with Stakeholders, ‘Influence a Culture of Security Convergence’ During NCISRM

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will be working at strengthening partnerships and heightening threat awareness during National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month.

A memo distributed to CISA employees today by Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security Brian Harrell reminded staff that “the threats vary from cybersecurity intrusions into our energy, transportation, chemical, and other sectors, to attacks on crowded public venues, to severe weather and insider threats,” and “now, more than ever, it is important that we stay vigilant in our duty as public servants to defend today and secure tomorrow.”

“As we face new and evolving threats from adversaries looking to exploit vulnerabilities, disrupt essential operations, and cause harm to our most vulnerable populations, you continue to respond with even greater dedication to the mission,” he said.

Harrell called on CISA staff to support NCISRM by “working with your stakeholders at the federal, state and local levels, along with the private sector, to make sure they are fully aware of and able to leverage the training and preparedness exercises CISA offers.”

Stakeholders should “know where to go to get additional information on infrastructure security training and other resources CISA provides,” including Hometown Security, Insider Threat Mitigation, Bombing Prevention, and Chemical Security.

CISA staffers will also be checking to see if the resources made available by the agency are meeting the needs of government and private stakeholders, given the dynamic threat environment.

“If our critical infrastructure is to remain resilient, we must ensure that the products we develop provide value to our stakeholders and deliver the most crucial, up-to-date information and mitigation measures for infrastructure security,” Harrell wrote.

“And, lastly, we must continue to influence a culture of security ‘convergence,'” he continued. “Today’s threats are a result of hybrid and blended attacks utilizing Information Technology (IT), physical infrastructure, and Operational Technology (OT) as the enemy avenue of approach. Highlighting this future threat landscape will ensure better situational awareness and a more rapid response.”

CISA will break down the month into four thematic weeks: Managing Risk in a Converging Cyber and Physical World, Protecting Our Hometowns: Soft Target Security, Securing the American Democracy: Election Security 2020, and Securing from the Inside Out: Combating Insider Threats.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that we are being proactive and prepared not just during Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, but throughout the whole year,” Harrell said. “We do this by working collectively, both internally across CISA and externally with our partners; this is the only way to build a more secure and resilient infrastructure for the future.”

America’s Critical Infrastructure: Keeping the Lights on Amid Threats

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Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera and SiriusXM.

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