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Department of Homeland Security’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Cost-Benefit Report
Stephen L. Caldwell (au)
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, damaging critical infrastructure, such as oil platforms, pipelines, and refineries; water mains; electric power lines; and cellular phone towers. This disrupted govt. and business functions alike, producing cascading effects far beyond the physical location of the storm. Threats against critical infrastructure are not limited to natural disasters. In March 2007, GAO reported that our nat.’s critical infrastructures and key resources (CIKR) — systems and assets so vital to the U.S. that their incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on nat. security, nat. economic security, nat. public health or safety, or any combination of those matters — continue to be vulnerable to a wide variety of threats. The Conference Report accompanying the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act, 2005, directed DHS to complete an analysis on whether the department should require private sector entities to provide DHS with existing information about their security measures and vulnerabilities in order to improve the dept.’s ability to evaluate critical infrastructure protection nationwide. The analysis was to include all critical infrastructure, including chemical plants; the costs to the private sector for implementing such a requirement; the benefits of obtaining the information; and costs to DHS’s Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) (presently the Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP)) to implement this requirement. The Conference Report further directed GAO to review the quality of the analysis and report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations within 3 months after completion of the analysis. DHS provided GAO a copy of the report on Feb. 23, 2009. According to DHS, the report was completed in 2005 and information was subsequently updated in June 2007. However, the report was never delivered to the Senate and House Appropriation Committees. Due to the age of DHS’s report, this correspondence summarizes DHS’s approach for preparing its report and documents the results of GAO’s efforts in order to fulfill their responsibility as directed in Conference Report 108-774.
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