Defender Of U.S. Cyberspace
InfraGard started as an FBI pilot project, but is now a national entity that shares information between the federal government and private industry, and has some 10,700 volunteer members and 79 chapters.
National chair Phyllis Schneck says that InfraGard receives analysis information from the Homeland Security Department and is meeting with Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection leaders to find the best way for InfraGard to fit within the forming infrastructure protection architecture. She adds that the transfer of the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center to the Homeland Security Department has offered InfraGard new opportunities to reach more people and rethink its model.
InfraGard works with other agencies as well, and Homeland Security assistant director Patrick Morrissey says that such cooperation and information sharing is a big part of the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace.
“Our membership demographics span all critical infrastructure sectors and all company types and sizes, making InfraGard an excellent information gathering and dissemination mechanism,” Schneck says.
Observers note that InfraGard draws strength from its local chapters, some of which are very well organized and active, and others which have disintegrated. Members are drawn to the organization out of a sense of patriotic duty.
Don Withers, founding president of the Maryland InfraGard chapter, notes that seemingly small incidents may, when put together, reveal a larger picture.
InfraGard is seeking funding from both the private and public sectors; the non-profit gets FBI support already, and local chapters get support from private firms, but the organization as a whole is looking for corporate sponsorship.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the SC Magazine (03/04) Vol. 15, No. 3, P. 20; Savage, Marcia .