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Robert Farley
By Robert Farley December 21, 2009

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.

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