The 2013 National Infrastructure Protection Plan and the Local Role In Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) CIPOffice of Infrastructure Protection (IP) recently released the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) 2013: Partnering for Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience. The plan represents an evolution from concepts introduced in the initial version of the NIPP released in 2006 and revised in 2009. Critical infrastructure (i.e., virtual and physical assets, systems, and networks) provides the means by which essential services are delivered to the American people, including the avenues that enable people, goods, capital, and information to move across the country and the engine that underpins the nation’s defense, manufacturing of goods, production of energy, and overall system of commerce. The incapacitation or destruction of our nation’s critical infrastructure, through man-made or natural disasters, would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, and public health and safety[1]. Our critical infrastructure is vulnerable and increasingly interdependent, and protecting it and enhancing its resilience is an economic and national security imperative.

The NIPP 2013 outlines how the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments and private sector participants in the critical infrastructure community, such in the healthcare and public health sector, work together to manage risks and achieve security and resilience outcomes. Local governments provide critical public services and functions in conjunction with private sector owners and operators. Many local government entities, through their local health departments, own and operate critical infrastructure such as water, storm water, and waste water purification systems, healthcare clinics and laboratories, and environmental monitoring systems vital to the health, safety, and well-being of the communities they serve. Disruption of any of these systems could have dangerous consequences and coordinated efforts must be undertaken to mitigate the risk and build greater community resiliency.

The NIPP 2013 offers a number of examples of how local governments can improve critical infrastructure security and resilience of their communities, including the following activities:

  • Acting as a focal point for and promoting the coordination of security, resilience, and emergency response activities, preparedness programs, and resource support among relevant jurisdictions, regional organizations, private sector partners, and citizens
  • Developing a consistent approach to critical infrastructure identification, risk determination, mitigation planning, prioritized security investment, and exercising preparedness among all relevant stakeholders within their jurisdictions
  • Identifying, implementing, and monitoring a risk management approach and taking corrective actions, as appropriate
  • Participating in significant national, regional, and local awareness programs to encourage appropriate management and security of cyber systems
  • Facilitating the exchange of security information, including threat assessments and other analyses, attack indications, warnings, and advisories, within and across entities and sectors within their jurisdictions
  • Ensuring that funding priorities are addressed and that resources are allocated efficiently and effectively
  • Sharing information on infrastructure deemed significant from a national, state, regional, local, tribal, and/or territorial perspective to enable prioritized security and restoration of critical public services, facilities, utilities, and lifeline functions within the jurisdiction
  • Documenting and applying lessons learned from pre-disaster mitigation efforts, exercises, and actual incidents
  • Coordinating with partners to promote education, training, and awareness of critical infrastructure security and resilience to motivate increased participation by owners and operators
  • Providing response and security support, as appropriate, where there are gaps and where local entities lack the resources needed to address those gaps

Download the NIPP 2013 and learn more about Critical Infrastructure Protection resources for local and state partners.

NACCHO wants to hear about the efforts of local health departments in critical infrastructure protection. Email Justin Snair or share your story with NACCHO.


  1. “What Is Critical Infrastructure?” DHS. http://www.dhs.gov/what-critical-infrastructure (accessed September 29, 2013).

About Justin Snair

Justin serves as a Senior Program Analyst for Critical Infrastructure and Environmental Security at NACCHO. Prior to coming to NACCHO, Justin worked as an environmental health officer for a local heath department in Massachusetts. Twitter: @JustinSnair

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