Monday, September 22nd, 2014

The Obameter

Create a real National Infrastructure Protection Plan

"The federal government's National Asset Database, which is supposed to guide homeland security priorities, lists 77,069 potential U.S. targets including petting zoos and popcorn factories. Experts say this database is relatively useless for any level of homeland security planning. Barack Obama's Department of Homeland Security will develop a meaningful critical infrastructure protection plan across the nation and will work with the private sector to ensure that all real targets are prepared for disasters both natural and man-made."

Updates

Protection plan was updated

The National Asset Database became the subject of some criticism back in 2006 when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General concluded the list contained too many unusual and out-of-place assets and recommended that those judged to be of little national significance be removed from the database. The list -- which contained information on over 77,000 "assets" -- included everything from dams and hazardous materials sites to nuclear power facilities. But the list also included local festivals, petting zoos, and sporting goods stores.

The undersecreatry of DHS defended the list, saying that it was not a list of the nation's most critical assets bur rather a "national asset inventory providing the 'universe' from which various lists of critical assets are produced," according to a 2007 report from the Congressional Research Service. From that list, DHS selected about 600 assets that are deemed critical to the nation.

In 2006, DHS completed a National Infrastructure Protection Plan to protect critical infrastructure and key resources.

In 2009, under the Obama administration, DHS issued an updated National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), "which provides a common plan and unifying structure for the government and private sector to prevent, deter, neutralize, or mitigate deliberate attempts to destroy, incapacitate, or exploit critical infrastructure and key resources."

So the NIPP isn't new to the Obama administration. But according to the White House, the updated plan includes a number of improvements in various sectors. They include:

* Features that help determine the risk of chemical facilities.

* A tool for sports arenas and stadiums to reduce risk through "security vulnerability identification."
 
* A Commercial Facilities Retail and Lodging simulation to better understand infrastructure security issues associated with "soft targets."

* The Critical Manufacturing Sector Government Coordinating Council, completed the Critical Manufacturing Sector-Specific Plan, and launched an exercise series in partnership with the Transportation Security Administration.

* A series of exercises on dams in Washington state to improve disaster resilience and preparedness.

* A guide to assist levee owners in identifying security concerns, coordinating proper response, and establishing partnerships with local law enforcement and first responders.
 
* An exercise with nuclear facilities to coordinate federal, state, and local law enforcement tactical-response assets with on-site security personnel.

President Obama's promise here was pretty general, that he would develop a meaningful infrastructure protection plan, and work with the private sector to make sure they are prepared for disasters. His administration has done that much, and so we rate this Promise Kept.

Sources:

Homeland Security Web site, The 2009 National Infrastructure Protection Plan

Congressional Research Service, "Critical Infrastructure: The National Asset Database," by John Moteff,  updated July 16, 2007

US Fed News, Remarks by Secretary Napolitano at Interagency Council for Applied Homeland Security Technology's Counter-IED Symposium, Dec. 3, 2009