Food and Agriculture Sectors – Critical Infrastructure Sectors Responses The Food and Agriculture sector works collectively with Water and Wastewater Secto

Food and Agriculture Sectors – Critical Infrastructure Sectors Responses The Food and Agriculture sector works collectively with Water and Wastewater Sector, Transportations Sector, and Chemical Sector for a collaborative effort for the production of crops and livestock (DHS 2019). The Energy Sector is an important underlying sector because it fuels/drives the harnessing and creation of energy resources (tools & techniques); these energy resources enable the powering and advancement of machinery for manufacturing plants and food processing. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human services are a logical combination because agriculture and human health are directly related. Human civilization has evolved due to the advent of agricultural techniques (e.g., farming) and technologies. Additionally, from a risk management perspective, a risk to agriculture creates a risk to human health. Therefore, the risk management posture between Department of Agriculture and Department of Health & Human Services share overlapping characteristics and could benefit from common measures. The Food and Drug Administration should also participate in the activities because it is another agency that involves human-consumable resources. It would be beneficial for the Food and Drug Administration to be involved in this critical infrastructure sector in particular. The additional risk-management strategies identified by the FDA (e.g. drug, viruses) would be beneficial to the Food and Agriculture sector.

The Healthcare and Public Health Sector’s responsibilities range from protecting the economy/public from terrorism, to infectious disease epidemics, and illnesses as a consequence from natural disasters (DHS 2019). The Department of Health & Human Services is rightly designated as the sector specific agency as it usually focuses on the wellbeing of the population. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be a smart addition to those critical infrastructure sector’s participants. The FDA tracks the development and effectiveness of food and drugs that are corrective. The addition of the FDA would be incredible beneficial due to the levels of chemicals (pesticides, hormones, and lead) found in our food and water that can contribute to disastrous health issues. From a risk management perspective this additional, FDA-based information directly relates/enhances the choice of options within the risk management methods – accept, avoid, control and transfers. Therefore, the FDA could help define a better risk management posture for this critical infrastructure sector. It would be smart if the Food and Agriculture sector or the FDA works collaboratively with the Healthcare and Public health sector.

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The Water and Wastewater Systems Sector governs the protection of drinking water and the proper treatment of wastewater. As noted in the Homeland Security Sector overview, this sector is vulnerable to a variety of attacks and the large number of illnesses or casualties would impact public health and economic vitality (DHS 2019). The designation of the Environment Protection Agency appears incongruent with the designation of the DHS as the Sector-Specific agency for most of the other directly life-critical sectors (e.g, Dams, Chemical, Nuclear Reactors, Materials and Waste). The DHS is a better fit for the Sector-Specific Agency due to the level and variety of attacks that can be brought to bear against this sector. Water is an environmental resource similar to chemical and nuclear resources; the “risk to” characteristics (e.g., property, environment, bodily harm) share similarities to the other sectors in which DHS is the Sector-specific agency. Therefore, there is great potential to establish and share common risk management plans among these sectors. The EPA should be a participate and provide critical values, as necessary, but the EPA is not the best choice as the Sector-specific agency.

Department of Homeland Security. 2019. Critical Infrastructure Sectors. https://www.dhs.gov/cisa/critical-infrastructure-sectors

Identify the Critical Infrastructure Sectors

The Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (2015) states that America has an “open and technologically complex society” in which our critical infrastructure and key resources are targets for potential terroristic attacks (“Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7”, 2015). Furthermore, said critical infrastructure and key resources are both physical targets as well as cyber-based and extend across a myriad of economic sectors (“Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7”, 2015). Because these critical infrastructures and key resources provide services that are key to the functionality of our society, it is important to protect them at all cost. Without them, our nation would experience a “debilitating effect on security and economic well-being” which means that the impact would be catastrophic and life altering (“Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7”, 2015).

With the above in mind, critical infrastructure can be categorized in the following sectors: “information technology; telecommunications; chemical; transportation systems, including mass transit, aviation, maritime, ground/surface, and rail and pipeline systems; emergency services; postal and shipping” (“Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7”, 2015). In addition, because many of these sectors have unique and/or specific organizational structures, there are sector-specific Federal agencies which include the following: Department of Agriculture, Heath and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of the Treasury, Department of the Interior, and the Department of Defense (“Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7”, 2015). Each of these are tasked with collaborating efforts between federal, state, local private, and any/all key individuals within their respective sectors; conducting and/or facilitating vulnerability assessments of their sectors; and a focus on the protection and/or mitigation against the potential impact an attack would have if their sector was targeted (“Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7”, 2015).

Choose three of the sectors

While each of the sectors are important, the sector-specific lead Federal agencies of the Department of Agriculture, Heath and Human Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency are literally key to the health and safety of each citizen. Due to the very nature of what they protect, lives are at stake because we cannot survive with out food, water, and basic health care services extend and/or improve the quality of life. Consider the following breakdown of information:

The Department of Agriculture focuses upon the protection of our agriculture and food, such as meat, poultry, and eggs (“Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7”, 2015). Logic dictates that food is required to live.
Health and Human Services focuses upon public health, general healthcare, as well as food services not protected by the Department of Agriculture (“Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7”, 2015). Again, logically, food is required to live and basic healthcare negates a longer, higher quality, life in general.
The Environmental Protection Agency focuses upon the protection of our drinking water and our water treatment facilities and/or systems (“Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7”, 2015). Again, a very logical concept of importance because one cannot survive very long without water.

Now while each of these have an intrinsic logical component attached to what they do, it is surprising that the Department of Homeland Security is not co-attached to them, nor is it co-attached and/or tasked with any of the other sectors. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was established the sole purpose of protecting the security of the United States by preventing attacks, reducing the vulnerability of said attacks, and minimizing the damage of attacks whether from a natural disaster or an attack (Turner, 2014, p. 59-60). This is just interesting to note because the Department of Defense is one of the key sector-specific key Federal agencies; however, the Department of Homeland Security is not. At the end of the day, DHS should be at least co-tasked with many of these sector-specific components. Perhaps the current Presidential Directive needs to be re-evaluated.

References

Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7. (2015, September 22). Retrieved April 10, 2019, from https://www.dhs.gov/homeland-security-presidential-directive-7

Turner, M. (2014). Historical Dictionary of United States Intelligence (2nd ed.). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

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