I am in need of a 200 word discussion post and 2 150 word responses. Discussion: Part 1. In your own words, construct an overview of the critical infrastructure sector you choose for this discussion based on the ones that we are reading about this week. Part 2. Examine at least three of the following:
Unique aspects as they relate to national security
Risks/threats/hazards/vulnerabilities related to national security
Potential countermeasures/mitigations related to the continuity of operations
Minimizing disruption and improving first responder safety
Cross-sector dependencies/interdependencies Part 3. Give your opinion on how either a physical attack, a cyber event, or a natural disaster could impact critical infrastructure (just discuss one of these, not all three).
Response #1 (Matt): Good evening Professor & Class,
In your own words, construct an overview of the critical infrastructure sector you choose for this discussion based on the ones that we are reading about this week. Based off our readings for this week three, the Dams Sector supplies essential services for water holding and control, including hydroelectric power generation, municipal and industrial water supplies, agricultural irrigation, residue and flood control, river navigation for inland mass shipping, industrial waste management, and recreation (Dams Sector pg. V). This sector helps to control flooding in high flood zones, generate electricity, and supply water to aid in the growth of crops across the United States. The Dam Sector is vital to the nations critical infrastructure because it plays into the success of other sectors such as Nuclear. Sufficient water supply is critical to keeping nuclear cores cool and preventing overheating.
Examine at least three of the following: Unique aspects as they relate to national security, Risks/threats/hazards/vulnerabilities related to national security, Cross-sector dependencies/interdependencies.
The Dams Sector is vulnerable to risks from any form of disaster whether it’s man-made or natural. This is a commonality it shares with the essential infrastructure family. Dams are under threat from erosion, structural deterioration, and aging technology. Erosion, internal and external corrosion, and mechanical failure, accounts for 94% of all Dam related failures. Ground instability accounts for the remaining 6% (Dams Sector, Specific Plan 2015). In addition, some more recent problems have affected the Dams Sector stability, such as population growth and urban development, increased frequency, and volatility of natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes, a shrinking maintenance work force, and a lack of resources and funding for security. All these areas contribute to an increased risk within the Dams Sector. The communications, energy, food and agriculture, transportation, nuclear reactors, and water/wastewater sectors are all reliant on the sector that deals with Dams. Hydropower dams provide electricity and black out start capabilities, water supply to farmland and farmers, and many major roads within the nation pass through dams. This is an example of how the Dam Sector is part of an interconnected coalition of critical infrastructure that keeps this nation running. Give your opinion on how either a physical attack, a cyber event, or a natural disaster could impact critical infrastructure (just discuss one of these, not all three).
In my opinion, the most likely catastrophic event that could have major ramifications on the dam sector is a natural disaster. As I discussed in part two, large and violent natural disasters seem to be occurring more frequently. With many dams already having questionable structural integrity, a powerful earthquake could cause significant damage. Two of the nation’s largest dams; the Oroville Dam and the New Bullards Bar Dam are both located in California, a state that has the most seismic activity in the continental United States. A large enough earthquake around these dams could have negative effects on thousands of people. Hope everyone is having a great week 3!
Dams Sector-Specific Plan. (2015). An Annex to the NIPP 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2024,from
Dams sector. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency CISA (n.d.).
Retrieved February 20, 2024, from https://www.cisa.gov/dams-sector
Response #2 (Luke): Hello Class,
Part 1. For this week’s discussion I will be going into the sector of Food and Agriculture.This sector is quite unique it is almost completely “under private ownership and is composed of an estimated 2.1 million farms; 935,000 restaurants; and more than 200,000 registered food manufacturing, processing, and storage facilities.” (CISA, 2024). This sector is responsible for not only feeding people but supplying clothing as well accounting for nearly “one-fifth of the Nation’s economic activity” (DHS, 2024). This sector follows your food from when it grows in the ground or raised all the way to the grocery store and to your plate making it vital for the health and safety of people.
Unique aspects as they relate to national security:
The unique aspects of the food and agriculture sector are shown brightly through its private ownership. Most farms, grocery stores, and restaurants are owned by private parties. The government then provides oversight to these sectors through the United States Department of Agriculture whos mission is “provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management” (USDA, 2024). As well as the food and drug administration whos job is “ responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.”. These two agencies provide oversight to the privatized owners of the Food and Agriculture Sector.
Risks/threats/hazards/vulnerabilities related to national security: There are many hazards for the Food and Agriculture but the one which is most dangerous is extreme weather which can knock out crops and make for food shortages which can cause starvation and inflation of food prices. One example of this is “premature budding due to a warm winter caused $220 million in losses of Michigan cherries in 2012” (Climate Change,2024). These events not only make for economic damages but can trickle to the economy driving grocery prices up. Another way is the recalling of food, certain foods can go to consumer shelves and be unhealthy which may cause people to fall ill and even may cause death. One example of this is the Cargill turkey company which recalled 35 million pounds of ground turkey which caused 90 people to get sick and one death.
The food and agriculture sector relies on many different other critical sectors. One of the most important is the water and wastewater system as many plants and livestocks need water to survive so without this sector many crops would die out as well as livestock. Another sector which is extremely important is the chemical sector. As the chemical advances further new pesticides as well as fertilizers are used to help grow and protect plants from insects and other harmful agents.
A physical attack would be the most harmful to the food agriculture industry either directly or indirectly. As the food and agriculture sector relies so heavily on many other sectors an indirect attack on a water supply, power grid, or fuel station could cause crop loss or crop contamination leading to unsafe food as well as a food shortage. Another direct physical attack through Agri-terrorism causes widespread death due to undetectable poisons which would cripple a population.The USDA and FDA work to thwart these efforts but with how time consuming the crop and livestock process is it is imperative to mitigate all attacks.
Food and Agriculture Sector. Food and Agriculture Sector | Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency CISA. (n.d.). https://www.cisa.gov/topics/critical-infrastructure-security-and-resilience/critical-infrastructure-sectors/food-and-agriculture-sector
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Food and agriculture sector and other related activities. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/food/food-defense-initiatives/food-and-agriculture-sector-and-other-related-activities
About the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA. (n.d.). https://www.usda.gov/our-agency/about-usda
Commissioner, O. of the. (n.d.). What we do. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/what-we-do#:~:text=Information%20for%20Consumers-,FDA%20Mission,and%20products%20that%20emit%20radiation.
US EPA. Climate Impacts on Agriculture and Food Supply | Climate Change Impacts | US EPA. (n.d.). https://climatechange.chicago.gov/climate-impacts/climate-impacts-agriculture-and-food-supply
Mohr, A. (n.d.). The 5 largest food recalls in history. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0512/the-5-largest-food-recalls-in-history.aspx