Daily Archives: February 2, 2012

Today in Secret History: February 2 – “Critical” Infrastructure

The (Critical) Cottage Industry

Even before the Department of Homeland Security had been formally established, on February 2, 2003, President Bush signed a National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets, which opens the doors for the post-9/11 frenzy to catalog, map, secure, and track the “critical infrastructure” of the United States.  The Strategy established what it called “a new national cooperative paradigm,” which said, “The basic tenets of homeland security are fundamentally different from the historically defined tenets of national security.”  The Federal government would itself treat the United States as a potential battlefield, collecting intelligence and monitoring “threats;” and the private sector would be enlisted in the effort, alternatively seduced to be part of – and reap the benefits of – a closed and secret government effort while also being subtly directed to comply with government-imposed information and security standards.

The 2003 Strategy quantified “The Protection Challenge” with the following approximations:

  • Agriculture and Food 1,912,000 farms; 87,000 food-processing plants;
  • Water 1,800 federal reservoirs; 1,600 municipal waste water facilities;
  • Public Health 5,800 registered hospitals;
  • Emergency Services 87,000 U.S. localities;
  • Defense Industrial Base 250,000 firms in 215 distinct industries;
  • Telecommunications 2 billion miles of cable;
  • Energy
    • Electricity 2,800 power plants;
    • Oil and Natural Gas 300,000 producing sites;
  • Transportation
    • Aviation 5,000 public airports;
    • Passenger Rail and Railroads 120,000 miles of major railroads;
    • Highways, Trucking, and Busing 590,000 highway bridges;
    • Pipelines 2 million miles of pipelines;
    • Maritime 300 inland/costal ports;
    • Mass Transit 500 major urban public transit operators;
  • Banking and Finance 26,600 FDIC insured institutions;
  • Chemical Industry and Hazardous Materials 66,000 chemical plants;
  • Postal and Shipping 137 million delivery sites
  • Key Assets
    • National Monuments and Icons 5,800 historic buildings;
    • Nuclear Power Plants 104 commercial nuclear power plants;
    • Dams 80,000 dams;
    • Government Facilities 3,000 government owned/operated facilities;
    • Commercial Assets 460 skyscrapers.

Many would later make fun of the expansive and inflated government definition of “critical,” but over the decade, nothing was done to change the fundamental assumptions of 2003.  Numerous public-private partnerships have emerged to tend to critical infrastructure and every State has developed their own critical infrastructure departments, mimicking the national security apparatus of the feds.  Just peruse the results of a search under “critical infrastructure” on Google…  Fortress America.