250 word discussion response Homeland Security (Mike Simmons)

I’m stuck on a Political Science question and need an explanation.

Responses should be a minimum of 250 words and include direct questions. You may challenge, support or supplement another student’s answer using the terms, concepts and theories from the required readings. Also, do not be afraid to respectfully disagree where you feel appropriate; as this should be part of your analysis process at this academic level.

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Exploring the components of EO: 13636 and Critical Infrastructure Security Presidential Policy Directive (PDD-8) what two elements/sectors impacted by the adoption of a framework of resilience do you believe need greater emphasis on over the next 5 years. Why have you chosen these two?

In my opinion the first and most important sector is on the Information Technology Sector and Cyber. The continued move forward towards cyber controlling every facet of our daily lives and the move towards the 5G network compel us to design and implement a resilience framework ensuring critical infrastructures do not fail due to an intrusive enemy or cyber criminal network. The cyber network is directly linked to our Critical Infrastructures, and of note to the Energy Sector and the electrical grid for monitoring and day-to-day operations at main plants and substations. Several instances over the last decade have demonstrated that cyber systems, particularly those of nation states, are vulnerable to hacking and manipulation. “Electric power failures of western Ukraine served by a utility Prykarpattya Oblenergo due to hackers and the malware that left people without electricity” (Massoud, 2016). State sponsored malware can also be utilized to perform sabotage of the cyber systems that control critical infrastructure, such as the Stuxnet computer worm. “Revelations about the Stuxnet computer worm raise the possibility of damaging cyberattacks on the US electrical power grid or other critical infrastructure” (Herbert, 2016).

The former Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Clapper, wrote the forward in the book 1 Second After (William R. Forstchen, 2009) in which a rouge nation state was able to launch a small nuclear weapon above the United States, causing an EMP that destroyed our electrical network. According to the former DNI the estimated recovery time for such an event is approximately seven years, with a nuclear weapon smaller than what was used in WWII. With the escalating tensions with Iran and their intent to produce more enriched Uranium than agreed upon, and with their nation being the foremost exporter of state-sponsored terrorism around the world, it would not be a large push to see the electrical grid as a primary target for our adversaries. Clapper also stated that Cyber was the number one threat to the United States during his last three years as the DNI.

Having lived in places for the last decade that have very little access to electricity, and therefore no refrigeration, it is easy to see how our nation is nowhere near ready for such a catastrophic event. Imagination would not have to go very deep to understand that an attack on our cyber systems, even if from a malicious non-state actor, could cripple our electrical grid in such a manner as to place even small communities in the 19th century, which would be unsustainable. While it is unlikely that as a nation we would pump the brakes on all things cyber, the necessity to build in resiliency is more important than ever to ensure that our cyber security takes top priority. EO 13636 lays out the groundwork and vision that assists critical infrastructure operators and stakeholders in protecting their critical infrastructures with the collaboration of the private and public sector assisting the federal government organizations in detecting and defeating cyber intrusions as well as mitigating future cyber attacks.

The second CI that I believe would need to be stressed over the others is the Water and Wastewater Systems Sector. Without clean drinkable water, the human species cannot survive, and if there is not a plan to control wastewater in which our sewer systems also run, we run the risk of pandemics based on the inability to keep waste under control. In keeping with the cascading effect, a compromise of the Water and Wastewater Systems Sector would cause “large numbers of illnesses or casualties and/or a denial of service that would also impact public health and economic vitality. The sector is also vulnerable to natural disasters” (DHS, 2018).

Each of the Critical Infrastructures are dependent and cause interdependencies upon each other in some form, and the Water and Wastewater Systems Sector is no different. Any type of disruption can create issues or failures among the Food and Agriculture, Transportation and the Energy sectors quite quickly, again adding to the demise of the population in quick order. Since the Information Technology Sector is connected to the monitoring and controlling of more of our Critical Infrastructure and everyday life, and the Water and Wastewater Systems Sector is vital to our very survival, even if in a 19th century type of world, is why I chose these two Critical infrastructures to be the top of those in which further resiliency must be built.

Department of Homeland Security, 2018. Water and Wastewater Systems Sector. DHS. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/cisa/water-and-wastewater-systems-sector

Herbert, L. (2012). A virtual necessity: Some modest steps toward greater cybersecurity. Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. September 2012, Vol. 68, Issue 5, p. 75-87. Retrieved from https://web-b-ebscohost-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu /ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=99e379c2-7b0d-4aba-8007-403bce2dea25%40pdc-v-sessmgr02&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=82103444&db=aph

Massoud, A. (2016). The grid under fire. Mechanical Engineering. Vol 138, Issue 12, pg. 34-38. Retrieved from https://web-b-ebscohost-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=337209ab-5ec8-480a-921b-d27578d1d0cd%40sessionmgr102&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=119768277&db=aph

 
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