Private Sector Homeland Security

Author: Academic Master


Hayes, & Ebinger (2011) highlighted the importance of risk and responsibility within the private sector to secure the national critical infrastructure. The issue of terrorism and other natural or manmade hazards can cause serious threats to the nation’s critical infrastructure, and the government might not have been able to cope-up the stress effectively due to several reasons (Copeland & Cody, 2010). The responsibility and effectiveness of the private sector role in every sector, specifically energy sector, is key to the nation security because the government sphere of direct ownership is limited due to the capitalist model of governance and economy within the USA.

The role of private sector is evident in the modern era, but the approach to private-public partnership and the models of effectively security nation with keeping private sector unharmed is a catch22 situation. The direct stake of the private sector within the securing process of nation’s critical infrastructure is the business model that allows uninterrupted goods and services production to the consumers. Dams are one of the sixteen sectors identified by the government as part of critical infrastructure sectors. The physical nature of the networks, assets, and systems related to Dam are critical because the destruction or lack of working in full capacity of it can lead directly or indirectly to the national security (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2013). It can seriously endanger the national economic and public health security of country with portraying serious threat to the economy and safety of the nation. The Dams Sector within the United States has the role of retaining water that is critical to the health of the public, along with the local economy. Dams provide water supplies for municipalities, agricultural irrigation, and industries. The Dams also operate as producers of electricity and contributes effectively to the energy mix of the nation. Hydroelectricity generated by Dams are the supplier to meet power demands of households and industrial outputs.

Apart from meeting the water and power needs of the masses, the process within Dams sector includes the control services which relate to the recreation, river navigation with bulk shipping, industrial waste management, and sediment and flood control. The Dams Sector has an interconnected role when it comes to providing services to the various other industries and critical infrastructure sectors. The Dam sector has the responsibility to safeguard 43% of the population from possible flooding, along with electricity generation of around 60% within the territory of northwest Pacific. The ten percent irrigations system of U.S. are dependent on the Dams water resources, hence making the Dam sector vital for the national security. The immediate decrease in capacity without any substitute or backup will certainly result in providing a serious blow to the economy of U.S. and safety of the public regarding health and possible violence and riots. In this context, goods and services produced by the Dams Sector are related to water & power management which is 65% owned by the private sector. A total number of dams in the country are around 87,000 with 80% (approximately) regulated by the offices of government responsible for dams’ safety.

Homeland Security (2015) presented a report that incorporated various accomplishment, and the way forward for the different private sector entities within the Dam sector. The reduction of risk and the improvement in coordination are the key accomplishment that relates to the Dams Sector. The security is enhanced, and the capabilities regarding resilience are enhanced within a short span of time. The Consequence-Based Top Screen (CTS) methodology is developed in recent years, which went initially through the pilot phase and is implemented successfully. The purpose of CTS is supplemented by the Web-based system which facilitates the screening of assets in systematic manner. The different function of CTS includes the prioritization of assets with high-consequence nature within the complete Dams sector.

The Dam sector has direct inter-dependence with sectors of communications, energy, transportation systems, and food and agriculture. The two ways in which the Food & Agriculture sector is dependent on the Dams Sector assets are related to the water supply for irrigation purposes and the water storage that provides safety from flooding to the farm land. Similarly, the energy sector receives electricity resources from Dams sector, along with the capabilities of the black start. Simultaneously, the communication sector provides networks that enable remote Dams sector to operate and control actually. Similarly, the water sector is dependent on the Dams Sector assets for the availability of drinking water and the various capabilities related to pumping. In the transportation system, major roads usually traverse the dams within the long routes over the vast geographical terrain. Transportation systems provide navigation lock system that enhances the capacity of Dams sector to enhance waterway freight movements within the land and intercostal route. The share of the private sector is high, and the role and responsibility of it are equally high. To make sure that available assets of the nation are secured. The private sector work ethics and style of operation is significantly different form the public sector, hence making it difficult for them to correspond effectively. Hence, with the presence of a consensus document makes it feasible for them to retain the effective position within the secured infrastructure that benefits all.

In the recent years, the handbooks and webs-based training courses are revised for better guidance of the private sector entities to promote resilience. The aim of up gradation is to emphasize more on the content that highlights risk-based assessment and mitigation of the processes within Dams sector. The use of digital technologies in this regard enhanced the ability of Dams sector to adapt universal resilience models for security. Over the recent years, the government has managed to successfully develop blast damage estimation models that are simple for the Dams Sector to incorporate within the levees, navigation locks. The estimation models for Dams also enables the fostered interagency collaboration so that the asset vulnerabilities within the Dams Sector is understood effectively.

The private sector entities which are owned locally and contributes to the energy sector by fuel production mechanism needs to comply with the regulations provided by the government within various guides & strategic document related to critical infrastructure. The risks and mechanism above enable users to effectively mitigate the process by understanding the remedial measures in case of any unforeseen event (O’Rourke, 2007). The crew working on the hydropower generation has the responsibility to understand the manuals and various measures. Private entities can provide suitable training, coupled with refresher courses on a quarterly basis. The models of security within the hydroelectric producers include the effective models of production, storage, and production. The local producer can add to the grid by keeping the flow of water constant at the level which doesn’t cause harm to the farmland.

There are various prominent risks to the Dams assets which are owned by private & public sector entities but remain under constant regulatory supervision by the three tiers of administration. The significant assets at risk are plants, dams projects, levees, hurricane barriers, navigation locks, mine tailings, dikes, and similar industrial waste impoundments. The risks to the assets are from nature and man-made initiatives. The structural issues arising out of the internal and external erosion is one critical threat that can sometimes dismantle the entire operations of the Dams asset. The physical and cyber-attacks on the infrastructure of the Dams can cause harm to the farm land and can cause lives of the people in some situations. The assets that are surrounded by the areas that face surge in the population of growth are facing higher risk, and the governance structure of those entities needs to adapt to the changes occurring in the locality.

The contemporary issues regarding global warming and climatic changes have resulted in significant changes within the regional weather conditions, which in result effects the way in which the Dams assets were built and operated. The recent natural disasters due to changing climatic conditions, both in the form of reduced water level, or increased water level is the threat to the critical infrastructure. Similarly, the modern control system is changing the way Dams are operated. The private owners need to comply with the public responsibility and make use of the guidance provided by the state for effective control. The economy and politics of United States are owned by the public at large, in some cases the companies which have their individual stake. The important factor that can lead private sector ownership of the Dams and other sectors of critical infrastructure includes the consensus in motives. Profit-seeking motives of the firms can sometimes be contradictory, but the location of funds for the sake of continuous service delivery is beneficial. References

Copeland, C., & Cody, B. (2010). Terrorism and security issues facing the water infrastructure sector.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (2013). Continuity Guidance Circular 1 (CGC 1): Continuity Guidance for Non-Federal Governments (States, Territories, Tribes, and Local Government Jurisdictions.

Hayes, J. K., & Ebinger, C. K. (2011). The private sector and the role of risk and responsibility in securing the nation’s infrastructure. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management8(1).

Homeland Security (2015). Dams Sector-Specific Plan: An Annex to the NIPP 2013

O’Rourke, T. D. (2007). Critical infrastructure, interdependencies, and resilience. BRIDGE-WASHINGTON-NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING-37(1), 22.

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