What is Critical Infrastructure: USA Critical Infrastructure

Jan 3, 2019 9:50:41 AM / by Michael Witt

Critical infrastructure is infrastructure that is generally viewed as significantly important. While you might think of infrastructure as consisting of physical assets, such as bridges or tunnels, critical infrastructure may also be virtual. Examples of virtual critical infrastructures and key resources would be internet-related resources, like hardware and servers.

Critical infrastructure systems are so vital to the U.S. that a destructive incident would cripple physical security, economic security, or public health. Destruction may come in the form of natural or man-made disasters. 

Regardless of how the damage was caused, or what sector sustained damage, when critical infrastructure is damaged, safety and security are at risk. What is critical infrastructure protection is the next logical question to consider, and this must be addressed by public and private partners. Agencies tasked with protecting American's critical infrastructure include federal, state, local, and tribal governments, private citizens, and private companies. 

The 16 Critical Infrastructure Sectors

Since what is the nation infrastructure is a broad topic, critical infrastructure is divided into 16 sectors. Assigning infrastructure to categories allows companies to assess infrastructure safety and protect infrastructure from sector-specific threats, thus securing the public safety. 

The 16 critical infrastructure sectors are: 

  • Chemical - Manufacturing and use of hazardous chemicals 
  • Commercial Facilities - Entertainment and business facilities including shopping malls, convention centers, and sports stadiums
  • Communications - Wired, wireless, and satellite communications systems 
  • Critical Manufacturing - Manufacturing facilities
  • Dams - Hydroelectric power, locks, and water management
  • Defense Industrial Base - Defense partnerships at home and abroad
  • Emergency Services - Police, fire, and hospitals 
  • Energy - Energy infrastructure, public and privately owned
  • Financial Services - Banks and credit lenders
  • Food and Agriculture - Farms, transportation, and water management 
  • Government Facilities - Military, and government buildings
  • Healthcare and Public Health - Health facilities
  • Information Technology - Hardware and software
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste - Nuclear power and radiation therapy
  • Transportation Systems - Highways, railroads, and airports
  • Water and Wastewater Systems - Drinking water and sewage

Examples of Critical Infrastructures and Key Resources

Now that you know what does critical infrastructure include, how can it be protected? 

Solutions vary on a case by case basis, but let's look at some best practices for protecting critical infrastructure

Terrorists pose a significant safety threat to America's institutions, including nuclear plants. Destruction of a nuclear plant would compromise national security, harm the public health, and cause loss of life.

Anti-blast systems protect critical physical assets from harm. Blast-rated barriers are designed to withstand different levels of threat, from 50 caliber armor-piercing ammunition to 1,000-pound bombs.

Vehicle barriers around the plant perimeter block threats from getting close enough to cause harm, while blast-rated towers give a birds' eye view of the surrounding area. Security personnel are safe from threats and can see and react to suspicious activity in time.  

With natural disasters, such as hurricanes, protecting infrastructure systems is key. Consider Hurricane Katrina or the Fukushima meltdown after the Tohoko Tsunami. During hurricanes, pump stations must remain in operation. These stations pump water to reduce flooding.

Safe shelter for pump house workers ensures this important task can continue even with Category 5 winds blowing outside. By investing in hurricane-proof facilities for mission critical pump house workers, cities can reduce the risk of public health and safety threats, including drowning and disease.

Contact Kontek Industries for Infrastructure Solutions

By examining what are critical infrastructure and key resources, you can reduce risk and protect against nuclear sector-specific threats. Infrastructure protection improves safety and helps your facility take proactive action. Kontek provides advanced products and solutions for critical infrastructure sectors as well as consulting services to aid with implementation. To get a free consultation with our professionals, contact us today.   

Topics: Critical Infrastructure

Michael Witt

Published by Michael Witt

Michael Witt is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Kontek Industries. Michael is responsible for coordinating and executing sales strategies and marketing campaigns for the company. Prior to joining Kontek Industries, Michael was the Vice President of Sales of a U.S.-based physical security and surveillance company, where he managed a sales team supporting global security companies, the US Department of Defense, the US Department of Energy, law enforcement agencies, and various defense groups across the world. Michael Witt served in the United States Marine Corps from 2006 – 2010 and conducted combat operations in Afghanistan on multiple deployments. Michael has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Gardner Webb University.