CEOs Should Play Roles In Infrastructure Security, Study Says
According to an advisory board to the president and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the government has made great strides working with private industry to secure the nation’s critical infrastructure. But another statement followed saying that top executives in the private sector need to step up and do more.
With infrastructure such as electric grids, water and telecommunications largely in the hands on private industry, it is up to the leaders in those sectors to work with government to keep the country safe—yet the participation of chief executives in such efforts has steadily waned since Sept. 11, 2001, according to a working group of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council. The NIAC is made up of representatives from government, academia and private industry.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who joined a teleconference of the NIAC, said cooperation with the industry was especially important given the “emerging issue” of cybersecurity.
“We all understand virtually every sector of our economy is dependent on cybersecurity,” he said. “The president’s (cybersecurity) strategy is going to be a very high priority.”
According to CNET News, a working group of the NIAC presented a study to the rest of the council recommending the DHS enhance its model for partnering with the private sector by adding a requirement of participation from senior chief executives.
“A lot of participation (from private industry executives) that was helpful to the government was worn down over time, either by repetitive requests or by process,” said Alfred Berkeley, NIAC vice chair and CEO of Pipeline Trading.
He said the council’s working group recommended a level of “scalable engagement” from executives so they stay involved but are not required to make unrealistic commitments to infrastructure security planning.
“When something important comes along, they’ll be able to be engaged easily and quickly,” he said.
The NIAC continues to work on other studies on how to better protect critical infrastructure, CNET News reports, and it approved the creation of a new working group to study the nation’s strategy for resiliency and reaction in the face of an emergency.