Discussion Questions: Discuss the unique characteristics and risk landscape of the Transportation Systems and Emergency Services sectors. How are the public and private sectors being coordinated to assist in securing these sectors?
You must separate each aspect of the question into different paragraphs and incorporate headers to differentiate the various aspects. Failure to do so may result in a loss of points.
DHS CIP: Read all subsections such as overview, specific plan, resources, and training sections (if applicable) within each sector below:
1. Transportation Systems Sector (Review site)
2. Emergency Services (Review Site)
3. Transportation Systems Sector – Specific Plan, DHS 2015 (Read entire plan)
4. Emergency Services Sector Plan – Specific Plan, DHS 2015 (Read Entire Plan)
5. Homeland Security News Wire. (2015, March 4). Terrorists shift focus of attacks from air transportation to rail systems.
6. Heaton, B. (2013, May 13). Emergency Managers Prepare for a Changing Disaster Paradigm. Emergency Management.
7. Lewis, T.G. (2014). Critical Infrastructure Protection in Homeland Security: Defending a Networked Nation. (Read 15 and 16)
Instructions: Fully utilize the materials that have been provided to you in order to support your response. Your initial post must be at least 350 words. You also must respond to at least two other student’s initial postings and these responses must be a minimum of 150 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.
Forum posts are graded on timeliness, relevance, knowledge of the weekly readings, and the quality of original ideas. While proper APA is not required, attribution to sources that informed your posting should be included. Refer to the grading rubric for additional details concerning grading criteria.
Student #1 John
Hello Professor and Classmates,
Just a quick update before I get to this week’s topic. Some good news and bad news to report from the COVID-19 front here in Seattle. The good news is that my company has reconfigured a portion of our manufacturing operations to begin making medical masks! Unfortunately, we only have so many sewing machines and 200 people are going to be furloughed this Friday.
Unique characteristics, risk landscape and public/private coordination to secure – Transportation Systems Sector
This week we have learned how vital the Transportation Sector is to our nation’s Critical Infrastructure (CI). In fact, way back in Week One, I said, in part: “I choose the Transportation Sector as the most critical sector… it encompasses everything from air travel, shipment of goods, delivery of fuel, mail and delivery services, not to mention we are a maritime nation and trillions of dollars of goods flow through our ports annually.” While this is certainly debatable, what is not in question is that the Transportation Sector is one of the four “lifeline” sectors — essential to the operation of most critical infrastructure sectors. This is exemplified in the cross-sector interdependencies where every other sector is interdependent to Transportation.
As with most other sectors, Terrorism, Aging Infrastructure, and Natural disasters lead the risk models. As a personal observation, while reading through the NIPP, you can certainly see where various Administrations have inserted their characteristic agenda into it over the years. I find it fascinating that between the 2009 NIPP and 2013 NIPP, “climate change” has taken such a prominent role in risk assessments. I believe this is a fool’s errand and we would be spending our time and resources more wisely by addressing threats that we are at a much larger risk of experiencing — human error, attack, failure due to aging and neglect or localized natural disaster.
The Transportation Sector is also only one of three sectors to have co-SSA’s (Sector-Specific Agencies), in this case, DHS and DOT. DHS has delegated its roles to the USCG and TSA. Like other Sectors, the Transportation SSA’s are guided by public and private councils to guide the SSA and facilitate regulatory recommendations and oversight. These are the Governmental Coordinating Council (GCC) for federal, state, local, tribal and territorial (FSLTT) agencies, and the Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) for private entities. The SCC is broken down further into modal (subsectors) for industry-specific expertise.
Unique characteristics, risk landscape and public/private coordination to secure – Emergency Services Sector
The Emergency Services Sector (ESS) is one of the sixteen CI Sectors and one that the public immediately calls upon when there is an emergency – calling 911. While the 911 system itself is not part of the ESS, the people who respond to these calls are. This sector is considered the first responders when disaster strikes, police, fire, paramedics. I would argue that individuals are their own first responders when disaster strikes, as it could be hours or days before help arrives, depending on the disaster. But I digress. The ESS is interdependent with the critical lifeline functions of Energy, Transportation, Communications and Water Sectors.
The primary risks to the ESS are Cyberattack or disruption, Natural disasters, violent extremists and terrorist attacks. While not in the top three, I’ll include CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear incidents) due to the COVID-19 crisis. Here in WA, we have seen a significant loss of police, fire and EMS personnel who have responded to victims who are or were exposed to COVID-19 and then must be quarantined, removing them from service.
Here again, DHS is the SSA for the ESS, this is accomplished through the Office of Infrastructure Protection. Like other sectors, the ESS is comprised of public and private councils to guide the SSA and facilitate regulatory proposals and supervision. These are the Governmental Coordinating Council (GCC) for federal, state, local, tribal and territorial (FSLTT) agencies, and the Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) for private entities.
Thanks for your time reading this and I hope you all have a great rest of your week(end). Wish me continued luck dodging COVID-19 and good luck to all of you as well!
AMU. (n.d.). Week 5: Transportation Systems and Emergency Services Sectors. APUS website: https://edge.apus.edu/x/5vJFNU
DHS. (2015). Transportation Systems Sector-Specific Plan. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency website: https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publicati…
DHS. (2015). Emergency Services Sector-Specific Plan, An Annex to the NIPP 2013. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency website: https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publicati…
Student #2 William
Welcome to Week 5. I hope everyone is doing well health wise. This week we are discussing the unique characteristics and risk landscapes of the Transportation Sector and the Emergency Services Sector. Furthermore, we are to discuss how the public and private sectors coordinate to assist one another in securing these sectors.
Characteristics and Risk Landscapes –
Categories of the Transportation Sector are vast. However, the Department of Homeland Security breaks down the Transportation Sector into seven distinct subsectors which include the Nation’s aviation, maritime transportation system, highway and motor carriers, mass transit and passenger rail, pipeline systems, freight rail, and postal/shipping (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.).
Aviation – This subcategory includes 19,700 airports, heliports, landing strips, aircraft, and traffic control systems (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). Additionally, the aviation subsection can include approximately 500 commercial aviation services at civil and joint military airports, heliports, and sea plane bases. Furthermore, it includes commercial and recreational aircraft both manned and unmanned. I was not aware of that until this week. Lastly, it can include support structures and organizations like aircraft repair, fueling stations, fight schools, and navigational locations (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). As the aforementioned list implies, there are a lot of agencies and individuals who are employed by the aviation subsection of the Transportation Sector. Risks to the aviation section include terrorism, mechanical failure, weather related threats such as high winds, ice, lightning, rain, and tornadic weather, navigation failure, and Foreign Object Debris (FOD). Cyber threats are also a concern since many airline systems utilize digital communication in some form.
Highway and Motor Carrier – This subsection consists of over 4 million miles of roadway, a majority of the bridges, and over 350 tunnels which assist travel to service trucks, shipping vehicles, commercial motor coaches, and buses (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). This also includes cybersecurity support, camera system operation stations, driver licensing locations, and traffic management systems. Risks to the highway and motor carrier section include natural events such as erosion, high winds, ice, flash flooding, washouts, rockslides, hail and tornadic weather, earthquakes, and tsunamis on the coastal areas. Man-made threats include terrorism, especially to important bridges or tunnels, cyber threats, criminal activities on major highways, major accidents that impedes the ability for traffic to progress, and fuel shortages.
Maritime Transportation System – The Maritime Transportation System boasts around 95,000 miles of coastline, 25,000 miles of waterways, 361 ports, and intermodal landside connections which allow for people to utilize various modes of transportation to move people and ship goods to and from on the water (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). The maritime industry is very important because it is the most common way companies ship goods in the world. This means that risks to this industry pose a substance threat. Current risks to the maritime industry can include biological threats, like we are seeing right now with the COVID-19 pandemic, criminal activities, theft, piracy, international hostilities that threaten cargo shipments such as over near the China Sea and near the Strait of Hormuz, natural disasters such as hurricanes, water spouts, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, high ocean swells, terror attacks, and equipment failure. Additionally, radioactive or dangerous substances are another risk that the United States spends a lot of time searching for when inspecting ships bound for the United States or its allies.
Mass Transit and Passenger Rail – This subsection includes passenger buses, trolleys, monorails, subways or metros, light rail, passenger rail, vanpools and rideshares, all manner of terminals, and the operational systems for each (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). Weather conditions and terror threats are two major threats when considering passenger transit. The current viral pandemic can also be considered a major threat as it effectively shut down most public transport. It is estimated that in 2014 passenger trips equaled 10.8 billion (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). Cyber threats can also be a concern if attackers are able to impact scheduling systems or GPS assets.
Pipeline Systems – This section consists of more than 2.5 million miles of pipeline which covers a large portion of the United States and carries almost all of the country’s natural gas and about 65% of hazardous liquids and chemicals (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). Additional assets to this sector include all of the pump and compressor stations. Threats to this industry can be natural threats such as landslides, erosion, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, and rust buildup from salty climates. Additionally, equipment malfunctions or failures can be a threat as well as pipe breaks which can have horrible effects on the environment. Terror attacks can also be considered a threat. Lastly, public opinion can be a major threat to pipeline systems. Protestors or accidents can sway public opinion which can cause government agencies or private industries to be pressured into canceling or re-routing pipelines.
Freight Rail – Freight rail covers seven major carriers, hundreds of smaller railroads, 1.33 million freight cars, approximately 20,000 locomotives, and over 138,000 miles of active rail track (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). it is said that around 12,000 trains can operate on a daily basis and 30,000 miles of active track is designed critical to mobilize and resupply American Forces (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). Threat to the freight rail industry include fuel shortages, erosion, landslides, earthquakes, high winds, rail track obstructions, rail track breaks, equipment failure, terrorism, theft, ice, or anything that causes a track to become low friction.
Postal and Shipping – This is another major industry in the Transportation Sector. It is estimated that this section moves approximately 720 million letters and packages daily and includes large integrated carriers, regional and local courier services, mail services, mail management firms, and chartered delivery services (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). Threats to this industry include viral pandemics, chemical and biological threats from malicious individuals, mail bombs, labor strikes, extreme weather conditions, theft, faulty equipment, online product shortages, or a massive shift to online orders that overwhelm many delivery companies. Additionally, as many companies shift to online ordering, cyber threats become more concerning as the systems become more reliant on digital applications.
Public/Private Sector Coordination – With so many private companies covering so many industries that make up the Transportation Sector, the government and private sectors rely on special councils that help organize, distribute information, and make important recommendations on how new procedures should operate in the interest of protecting each subsection of the sector. Organizations and agencies that make up the Transportation Government Coordinating Council include the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, General Services Administration, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, United States Department of Transportation, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Agriculture, and many more (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). These federal agencies will provide threat intelligence, security suggestions and regulations, and sometimes aid in securing sections of the Transportation Sector.
Emergency Services Sector –
Characteristics and Risk Landscapes –
The Emergency Services Sector, like the Transportation Sector listed above, also has subsections that make up the entirety of the Emergency Services. These include emergency management, public works, law enforcement, fire and rescue services, and the emergency medical services. Each sector is tasked with their own responsibilities while being expected to be able to seamlessly aid each other in emergency situations and sometimes conduct each other’s responsibilities when the need arises. This sector is also considered the primary for the direct response, aid, and recovery efforts to the United States citizens and their property. Supporting organizations within the Emergency Services Sector can include the bomb squad, public safety dive teams, HAZMAT, search and rescue teams, Fusion Centers, medevac units, SWAT, and 911 call centers (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). The risk landscapes for these sections are vast. These can include natural disasters, extreme weather conditions such as drought or blizzards, wild fires, terror threats, domestic violence incidents, traffic accidents, utility outages, pandemics, large scale accidents, equipment or mechanical failure during an emergency response, the general public opinion, anti-governmental groups such as the Sovereign Citizens ideology, theft, gun violence, gang activity, criminal organizations, and Personal Protective Equipment shortages.
Public/Private Sector Coordination –
Most emergency services such as law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency management, and public works are considered governmental agencies. They would work closely with the public sector and private citizens to ensure that regulations and safety guidelines are being met and maintained. Recently, it has been identified that many police agencies are receiving different training from department to department and many people are asking for some sort of regulation over standardized law enforcement training. Whether that will happen remains to be seen. However, it should be noted that not all emergency medical services are public. Many medical facilities are privately owned and operated. However, medical facilities are held to a rigorous standard which is generally provided at local, state, and federal government levels. Personally, I feel that out of all the critical infrastructure sectors, Emergency Services has one of the most involved coordination between the public and private sector.
I enjoyed our research this week. As a form employee listed under the Emergency Services Sector it was nice to look back at my roles and responsibilities. Please have a great weekend!
Department of Homeland Security. (n.d.). Transportation Systems Sector: Council Charters and Membership. https://www.cisa.gov/transportation-sector-charter…
Department of Homeland Security. (n.d.). Transportation Systems Sector. https://www.cisa.gov/transportation-systems-sector
Department of Homeland Security. (n.d.). Emergency Services Sector. https://www.cisa.gov/emergency-services-sector
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