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According to the USA state law, critical structures are mainly defined as any asset, system of resource that is of indispensable importance to the welfare and well-being of the country. The destruction of these critical structures can impose detrimental effects on the political, social and economic position of the USA in comparison to other countries. The security of these critical structures has therefore raised concern over their protection from unplanned risks and hazards. With this, the homeland security comes to fulfil its required obligation of protecting these critical structures from both internal and external threats.
The importance of critical structures is manifested by the fact that they control some significant and vital resources, which directly benefit a large number of individuals in the United States. Examples of these resources include; water, transport and power. Proper care is, therefore, crucial to protect these critical infrastructures from any arising threats. The Homeland Security plan draft is accordance with the necessity to protect and guard the welfare of these critical structures.
NIPP stands for national infrastructure protective plan. It is a project directed by the federal government with the aim of achieving a long lasting solution to the continued increase in threats to the critical structures in the country. There has been a resulting collaboration between the federal government and the private key infrastructures owners. This is with the aim of achieving total security over the existing hazards and threats facing critical infrastructures.
President Obama, in 2013, called for the equal development of an up to date national plan. This was to counter the threats that had been reported in relation to the security the critical infrastructures in relation to hazards and risks. The president also called for the equivalent improvement of cyber security in critical infrastructures. It involved the coordination of critical infrastructure owners, with the aim of regulating the sharing of vital information. The federal government also resolved to work collaboratively with critical infrastructures owners, with the aim of implementing appropriate risk-based approaches to cyber security.
The area of my choice is emergency services. Emergency services normally involve the rapid response towards threats caused by intentional faults, unintentional faults and lastly by natural disasters. The emergency services sector “ESS” is known to encompass a system of adequate preparedness and immediate response in the equal prevention and appropriate mitigation of emergent and reported risks.
The ESS or emergency services sector hazard that I choose to discuss is “Aircraft as a weapon”. In order to justify this example, I would like to draw close reference from a real historical event. During September-11 -2011, two passenger planes crashed on the world trade centre complex. The bleach in security shattered the reputation and international image of the military. The United States suffered the loss of close to 3000 persons and the loss of critical infrastructure worth around $10 billion in value. Valid objectives should, therefore, be incorporated to allow for the equal preparedness in the event of such an incident occurring again. 
In response to this risk under discussion, proper goals should be put integrated to eliminate the probability or possibility of the tragedy recurring. An efficient risk management framework is therefore needed to ensure that critical infrastructures protection is done to avoid manipulation by any threat.
With close reference to the NIPP, the particular risk management framework can be directly applied to the risk of “Aircraft as a weapon”. Proper implementation of this context will trim down the magnitude of losses incurred when a threat hits a critical infrastructure. The main goal and objectives of the federal government in such a case are to fit proper foundations that will be resistant to complete damage under similar circumstance. The spread and management of information will also need control so as to identify threats before they grow to an unmanageable level. Security has also been tightened in places like airports and airfields to eliminate the chances of a possible situation of “aircraft as a weapon” as a threat to national security. The NIPP also identifies a set of national goals for the effort of mitigating risks appropriately. This is for the equal safety and resilience to the existent critical infrastructures. An example of such a goal is to widen the existing partnership between the private sector owners of critical infrastructures and the federal government. It is, therefore, vital to develop appropriate goals and objectives that will guide the key institutions into prosperity and continued success.
Identifying Infrastructure in the critical infrastructures is an important consideration as a step of encountering the risk at hand. Infrastructure includes resources and systems that are necessary for the continued operations of the critical infrastructures. With equal discussion and proper analysis of the risk management framework, it is evident that effective solutions to threats to critical infrastructures are needed. Therefore, same security and resilience should be considered during the design of assets, systems and networks. Buildings that are currently under development should pass certain regulated standards and procedures. This will minimize the level of damage or loss caused by the occurrence of such an event again. Control systems in the infrastructure should also be designed such that they can accurately identify, deter, disrupt, detect and prepare for threats or hazards. Better communication services and different operation models should, therefore, be compared, choosing only the best which are risk avert and well secured. This applies to my threat of aircraft as a weapon, whereby, proper infrastructure would have identified the threat before it happened or minimized the magnitude of losses.
For the federal government and private sector partners to precisely evaluate and analyze risks, timely, reliable, accurate and actionable information is needed to achieve the desired results. Bringing together value in understanding the cyber and physical systems will help the risk assessors to come to valid conclusions on the proposed remedies to such threats. Proper assessment and analysis of risks is, therefore, necessary in the sense that the evaluation of critical infrastructure risks is done with consideration of the threat, vulnerability and consequence. On close relation to the risk, the incident of aircraft as a weapon happened as a result of the willingness of man through the act of terrorism. The vulnerability of the “airplane as a weapon” risk is that it encompassed two close buildings, which were prone to collapse under such conditions and magnitude. Therefore, the consequences of the threat were inevitable. Consequences are the general effects realized by the critical infrastructures after the occurrence of that specific risk.
Implementation of risk management strategies is the next step after proper evaluation and drawing of conclusions on the specific risk. Implementation of risk management strategies is necessary whereby; a critical infrastructure can follow given guidelines on how to prepare for future hazards and threats. The primary step in the implementation of risk management strategies is the; reduction of vulnerabilities, Improving the design, developing the system and networks of critical infrastructures. These measures will place it in a better position if a similar threat recurs. The essence in implementation of risk management strategies is to avoid unpreparedness from risks directly affecting critical infrastructures. In the occurrence of “airplane as a weapon”, complete scrutiny of passengers when boarding airplanes has been upgraded to eliminate similar cases of threat or manipulation by terrorists. This will reduce the probability of the recurrence of such an incident to lower numbers.
Measuring the effectiveness of risk management efforts is important as it guarantees the security of critical infrastructures to a certain percentage. The NIPP advocates for equal measurement of risk management efforts for effectiveness. This will favor the achievement of high-level output and evaluate progress towards the same achievement of organizational goals. Adaptation after threat incidences also falls under this category, whereby, the critical infrastructure suffering from the event of a particular risk is expected to learn from it. Strict measures have been imposed after the airplane incident on the world trade centre in 2001. These rules protect them from what happened at that time and ensure that the probability of recurrence of such an event is properly eliminated.
In conclusion, we fairly understand the role of risk management strategies for regulating the severity of risks facing critical infrastructures. Homeland security is, therefore, a recommendable plan to ensure that the safety of critical infrastructures is well tenable. Considering that critical infrastructures are a national concern, efforts by the NIPP to secure them in preparedness to the occurrence of related risks have been fruitful and remarkable. It is therefore allowed to draw close conclusions to this matter. The risk management is a vital procedure, one which needs; an explicit analysis, identification, assessment, evaluation and elimination of the risks at hand.
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