May 5, 2018
Intro. to Homeland Security
Critical Infrastructure Sectors
Within the Department of Homeland Security, there are 16 critical infrastructure sectors that are crucial to the United States. Without these sectors, our day to day lives would be tremendously affected. The mission of the DHS is to protect and secure the United States from domestic and foreign threats. For example, the Emergency Services Sector aids and assists communities that have been affected by any disasters. In each sector and every agency within it, public and private, have their own role to play in society. The DHS serves as a leader and a facilitator for those agencies who all share the responsibility of protecting the nation’s critical infrastructures. These critical infrastructures provide all the essential services and serve as our backbone for the economy, health and security of the people.
Out of all critical infrastructure sectors, one of the most important sectors would be the energy sector. The energy infrastructure sector is divided into three segments: electricity, oil and gas. This sector consists of thousands of geographically dispersed electricity, oil and natural gas assets that are all connected by systems and networks. The Energy Sector-Specific Plan details how the National Infrastructure Protection Plan risk management framework is implemented within the context of the unique characteristics and risk landscape of the sector. Each Sector-Specific Agency develops a sector-specific plan through a coordinated effort involving its public and private sector partners. Each sector relies on electric power and fuels on way or the other, so that means all sectors have some sort of dependence on the Energy sector. In other words, if it wasn’t for the Energy sector, the others wouldn’t be able to function along with the rest of society, because all of us rely on electricity, oil and natural gases on a daily basis. The U.S. economy as a whole wouldn’t be able to function properly without a stable energy supply, and would threaten health and welfare. According to the HLS website, over 80% of the country’s energy infrastructure is owned by the private sector, supplying fuels to the transportation industry, homes and business etc. For example, all imports of crude oil gets passed onto the refineries that eventually get dispensed out for jet fuel and motor vehicles. One way or another, the three segments of the energy sector are all things we used in our everyday lives, whether it’s needed gas for your car, or using the heater to heat up your homes.
What about when you’re thirsty and need to gulp down a glass of clean water? That’s what the Water and Wastewater Systems Sector controls, and serves as one of the most important sectors in the U.S. This country as a whole has the privilege of being able to drink clean water, and the Environmental Protection Agency, a public health agency, makes sure we get to keep that privilege. This sector focuses on being able to get safe drinking water, and to properly treat the wastewater systems from any harmful diseases. I believe it’s one of the most important sectors because water is what we use for agriculture, that produces the food we eat. This sector also correlates with the energy sector, the reason being that we use water for generating our electricity through hydropower and thermoelectric power.
The third most important sector would be the Communications Sector. It plays a major role with keeping all other sector-specific agencies up to date, and keeps everyone connected. All sectors are able to stay connected and are able to coordinate a response to any threat within or towards the U.S. The Communications sector provides an “enabling function” across all critical infrastructure sectors. In case of any emergency, whether it’s a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, the communications sector plays a key role and is the center and focus of all emergency services. If there is ever a major natural disaster like a hurricane that spreads across the coastline, the only way to be able to either prepare or evacuate would be through the communications sector. This sector interconnects with the emergency services sector, because all first responders to any disaster like the police or firefighters are able to get to the scene as quick as possible because of communications, through the use of cellphones, radios and satellite. This sector is one of the most crucial for all other sectors, and the U.S. as a whole.
The Information Technology Sector collaborates with the Communications sector and share the same mission. I personally think that this sector should be disbanded and be put together with the communications sector because it shares the same functions.
https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/oeprod/DocumentsandMedia/Energy_SSP_Public.pdfhttps://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/nipp-ssp-energy-2015-508.pdfhttps://emilms.fema.gov/is921/assets/CI-Sectors.pdf”Energy Sector.” Department of Homeland Security, 11 July 2017, www.dhs.gov/energy-sector.