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Research paper on a chosen topic pertaining to this title "Securing the Transportation Sector" (Critical Infrastructure Protection should be refrenced within the Department of Homeland Security website). Your topic must be cleared with your instructor first before proceeding.

Threats to the transportation sector

Transportation is a critical sector that enables many things to be done smoothly ranging from the movement of goods to movement of people. However, this is one of the most threatened sectors. The accident is the common threat resulting from the carelessness of human, natural calamities, mechanical failures of machines, among others. An example of such threat is the terror attack in Washington and New York in 2001 where a means of transport was used to facilitate the attack (Pedersona, Dudenhoeffer, Hartley, and Permann, 2006). Therefore, there is a necessity to offer protection of transportation sector by all countries, and indeed many of them have put their own strategies to do the latter. Apart from the threat imposed on transportation in form of using the same as a method to facilitate the attack, other forms have also faced numerous challenges including airports, train stations, ferry terminals etc. Some of them have acted as soft targets for criminals to carry out their criminal activities. Securing the transportation sector requires very well researched and an elaborate approach that is different from the traditional method. This is due to its importance and complexity.

Critical Infrastructure refers to that system or asset that is extremely valuable to those depending on it. Transport is one of the critical infrastructures as having been highlighted in this introduction that it is the backbone of many processes. For us to look at the critical infrastructure sector, we have to highlight the fundamental components of transport. The transportation sector composed of six main components namely aviation, freight, pipeline, road, maritime, and mass transit. These six categories are essential for the research on critical infrastructure and they build the foundation of this research.

National policies play an important role in the checking the overall transport sector. Therefore, before we look at the critical infrastructure in depth, let us look at the overview of the national governments have put in place to take care of the critical infrastructure. In the US, the Administration in charge of National security is in charge of providing protection for this sector. The most important role of any nation is to get rid of terrorism and terrorist activities by any possible means. The US government through the department of home security (DHS) provides directives and carries out an assessment that is appropriate to assist the public to be informed about the transport security. Their findings are used to improve the sector, impose appropriate regulations and policies, and enhance the overall security of the all the components of transport. There have been a number of private research firms that have also carried out studies on the critical infrastructures (CIs) targeting the transport sector. They have specifically looked at the parameters that touch on transportation and other intelligence services aiming at restructuring and creating policies that would accommodate the objectives of the national government. Transportation is an important sector that contributes immensely to the economy of every country. It is, therefore, necessary to take great care of it at all cost. The paper investigates the importance of securing this sector, highlighting some of the policies that the national government should implement. This sector is vulnerable to attacks from various interested parties. This paper also examines the risks involved when the transport sector is threatened. Lastly, it proposes further recommendations for critical infrastructure evaluation.

Components of the transportation sector

After the terrorist attack of 2001 in Washington and New York, the government and the entire world realized that the transport sector, being a critical infrastructure, is vulnerable to attacks and needs to be highly protected. Although, American realized the vulnerabilities existing in the aviation sector and their failure to adequately invest in the intelligence, other components of transportation are also considered critical infrastructures that also need proper protection. This is because the entire transportation sector is important to the economy of the country, the security, and the country at large. Such other components include computer systems, energy supply etc. In recent days, the government of USA has realized the importance of inclusion in the fight of terrorism so that this task is not left solely for the government, but every citizen of America is brought on board in the fight of terrorism. The government of US has created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take a lead in implementing policies set up for curbing insecurity in the country. Therefore, it is important to note that the security concern is a collective responsibility of every citizen of America and the DHS is only here to offer a leading hand in helping to deal with policies and strategies. Generally, the fight against terrorism will mainly be a great concern to the federal government, local government, and the private sector with an inclusion of everyone on board because security starts with each individual.

After the September 2011 attack, securing critical infrastructure has become one of the most important strategies for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Critical infrastructures are defined as those assets and systems, either physical or virtual and are very important to the government that any attempt to destroy them would result to a negative impact on the security and the economy of the country (Scottish Executive, 2005). The attack prompted the government to establish the department of homeland security, which was tasked with the responsibility of finding the strategies of protecting the critical infrastructures of America. The inclusion of private sector into this whole effort it was quite important because it helped the government in ensuring that the security becomes a collective responsibility of everyone. It was noticed that the terrorists target the most vulnerable and unprotected infrastructure avoiding those, which are secured. In this case, they are able to find easy targets for their ill doings. These kinds of attacks on America physical infrastructure is aimed at dismantling the economic ability of the country, making her waste its finances on building those physical structures that have been destroyed (Setola, De Porcellinis, and Sforna, 2010). It is important to note that the American government has strengthened its critical infrastructure security with an aim to prevent any further attack on its physical structures, and they have even gone ahead to enhance security in other areas that may be used by terrorists as soft spots. A further step taken to enhance security is the recent enactment of policies aimed at improving the security of critical infrastructure, for example, the release of national strategies for securing the critical infrastructure (Yuan, Chen, LePoire, and Rothman, 2008). This has been seen as a bold step aimed at coordinating all the stakeholders in security matters, the private sector, and the public at large, to work together in protecting the country from terrorist attack. As the technology continues to expand, terrorists are coming up with modern methods of creating their attacks. Technology on its own has resulted in being a soft target for terrorism. Another area needs serious protection from imminent terror attacks.

National policies on securing critical infrastructure

The characteristic of attacks has prompted the government of USA to decentralize the security sector by allowing the Department of Homeland Security to cooperate with local security agencies to adequately and combat the crime (Department for Regional Development, 2006). This was done since the DHS has a wide range of tasks to handle; making its responsibility to be so complex and expensive to be left on the hand of the federal government only. Before the September 11 attacks, the federal government used to run the national security on its own traditional security, but now there is a homeland security, which brings the security close to the people while allowing everyone to participate in securing the country (Rinaldi, 2011). The traditional national security is seen to be similar to the homeland security, but a critical look presents a small difference between the two levels. The traditional national security deals with the national police owned by the federal government encompassing the military instruments and the international engagements. On the other hand, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is mainly a collective responsibility of everyone, including the national policies on security. To offer adequate and effective protection for the security of our people and assets, there is a need for a coordinated approach by the private stakeholders and the federal government. Several years back the private sector abandoned withdrew their support for the national security. However, it is known that almost 85% of the critical infrastructure is in the hands of the private sector (Borysiewicz, 2006). They, therefore, should be on the frontline to be part of the initiative or strategy to counter terrorism targeting the critical infrastructure. As we continue, a lot can be done to protect America’s critical infrastructure by first clearly defining the critical infrastructure and adopting policies that would ensure adequate protection to these critical infrastructures. The federal government, the private stakeholders, and the American citizens must coordinate and cooperate to guarantee the security of the critical infrastructures.

Apart from the protection of infrastructures like roads, maritime, and air, the department of homeland security is tasked with a responsibility to also offer cyber security, as this is becoming the most vulnerable due to changes in technology (Ted, 2013).. The department of homeland security, therefore, lays down certain procedures in ensuring that the critical infrastructures are protected, their goals include, manage security risks to human beings and infrastructures, employ recovery mechanisms, implementation of processes and effective collaboration with stakeholders, and ensure that there are proper preparedness and resilience up to the global standards.

Inclusion of private sector in securing critical infrastructure

After the government of US came up with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there have been many concerns about the role played by the private sector on securing the critical infrastructures in the country (Department of Transport, 2007). There have been arguments that allowing the private sector to participate in protecting the critical infrastructure is a wrong decision. However, giving the private sector mandate to participate in protecting the critical infrastructure is in good faith. It is believed that the response of private sector when a crime occurs would be quicker than the national response to the same. The traditional national security deals with the national police owned by the federal government encompassing the military instruments and the international engagements. On the other hand, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is mainly a collective responsibility of everyone, including the national policies on security (European Council, 2008). To offer adequate and effective protection for the security of our people and assets, there is a need for a coordinated approach by the private stakeholders and the federal government. Several years back the private sector abandoned withdrew their support for the national security. They, therefore, should be on the frontline to be part of the initiative or strategy to counter terrorism targeting the critical infrastructure.

It is a good practice and in good faith when the government involves interested parties to help them fight terrorism, except some critical areas like provision of information on imminent attacks should be left to them because they have all the required machinery for carrying out effective investigations on the same. Much of the information regarding imminent attacks by terrorists may lack accuracy and some interested parties can use this to fight the government politically. Talking of politics, this has a direct connection to the protecting the country including critical infrastructures. It may have the most felt effects on the security sector. For instance, Somalia as a country has been polarised because of political instability that has been experienced for several years. This makes it hard to build critical infrastructures because they are constantly destroyed by terrorist’s attacks.

The communication of security information plays an important role in ensuring the critical infrastructure is secure. It is important to note that communication is very vital when it comes to ensuring that the security of critical infrastructures is meaningful and adequate. Since the private sector owns most critical infrastructures in the country there should be a well-structured communication, a process that would bring both the federal government and the private sector to collaborate in offering protection for the critical infrastructures (Transportation Security Administration, 2007). The federal government is expected to enact policies with the help of department of home security that will go a long way in ensuring that the security of the country’s critical infrastructure is a collective responsibility of every stakeholder. This way, the duo will work hand due to effective communication between them. It has been observed that majority of private stakeholders are reluctant to share information on the imminent security threat with the public fearing that this may result to the conflict between them and the federal government (Government Accountability Office, 2009). Revealing terror threat information by the private sectors may be seen as the function of the federal government. Therefore, involving themselves in such activity may be unhealthy to the government because the federal government is to blame if the things fail to work out as expected.

Cybersecurity in protecting critical infrastructure

Even though the private sector will play a role in ensuring the critical infrastructure is more secure, the newly formed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be in the frontline to ensure coordination for all the stakeholders (Government Accountability Office, 2009). The DHS main mandate is to provide and align proper communication with the rest of the stakeholders in ensuring that they get the required information regarding the security of critical infrastructures. The federal government has opted to integrate the critical infrastructure protection and the intelligence unit under one secretary is done with an intention of offering a more concrete and valid approach towards protecting critical infrastructures of the US. As time goes, the DHS is becoming more experienced in dealing challenges brought about by threats of insecurity. However, it is important to mention that improving the security level after the terror attack of September 2011 was not a one-day affair (Theoharidou, Kotzanikolaou, and Gritzalis, 2009). It has been a long journey that involved critical stakeholders coming together to chat the way forward to find the solutions to the problem. It took America several years to restructure the security systems and the department of homeland security should take the initiative to further carry out elaborate protection programs in order to assist the nation combat terrorism with a defeating agenda (Brunner and Suter, 2008). However, still terrorist would not allow the security agencies to settle their mind; they would strike without notice. Therefore, the department of homeland security should be completely set up and given the full mandate to carry out its duties with the help of private stakeholders.

Already the fruits of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have been realized because of the reduced terror attacks on the critical infrastructures of America. The security concern has threatened the economy of the country making the nation’s administration to invest adequately in establishing the department of homeland security. The DHS has been involved in assessments and research to develop effective programs that will give a platform aimed at helping the public be part of the fight against insecurity. In fact, the DHS will give a well-coordinated program to help the public and the private sector cooperate to fight against insecurity within the critical infrastructures.

The critical infrastructures are a key area of concern for the government and all the necessary strategies must be put in place to ensure that the citizens are safe in their endeavors. It is, therefore, a great mandate for the department of homeland security to consider all the necessary efforts to keep critical infrastructure safe in and outside the country. Simply allowing the DHS to assess all the relevant information regarding national security cannot be a complete sure of safety. Therefore, it is important to bring all the stakeholders on board including individuals to assist in making the environment safe, and the critical infrastructures observed to prevent the repeat of a terror attack like that of 9/11.  

Conclusion

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is mainly a collective responsibility of everyone, including the national policies on security (European Council, 2008). To offer adequate and effective protection for the security of our people and assets, there is a need for a coordinated approach by the private stakeholders and the federal government. Several years back the private sector abandoned withdrew their support for the national security. They, therefore, should be on the frontline to be part of the initiative or strategy to counter terrorism targeting the critical infrastructure.

References

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Institute of Atomic Energy, Poland

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Marathe, M., Pei, G. (2010). Cascading failures in multiple infrastructures: From transportation to communication network. In: 5th Int. Conf. on Critical Infrastructure (CRIS), pp. 1–8

Brunner, E., Suter, M. (2008). International CIIP Handbook 2008/2009: An Inventory

of 25 National and 7 International Critical Infrastructure Protection Policies. Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

De Porcellinis, S., Oliva, G., Panzieri, S., Setola, R. (2009). A Holistic-

Reductionistic Approach for Modeling Interdependencies. In: Palmer, C., Shenoi, S. (eds.) 3rd IFIP Int. Conf. on Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP 2009), pp. 215–227. Springer, USA

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of European critical infrastructures and the assessment of the need to improve their protection. Official Journal L345, pp. 75–82

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Stronger Internal Controls Needed to Help Inform TSA Resource Allocation. Committee on Homeland Security, USA

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In: Palmer, C., Shenoi, S. (eds.) 3rd IFIP Int. Conf. on Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP 2009), pp. 35–49. Springer, USA

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