Communications systems are the backbone for much of the critical infrastructure within the United States. The communications sector provides information, such as data, video, and Internet connectivity, for other sectors. This page focuses on the interdependencies between the communications sector and the national infrastructure. It provides information related to interdependent infrastructure from various government information systems, as well as information regarding the collaboration between government and the private sector.
Interdependence is particularly relevant to the public safety community. For example, in the case of a power outage, public safety workers could lose access to critical resources, such as telephones and computers. Several recent large-scale power outages, such as the 2003 Northeast Region Blackout and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, have highlighted the strong interdependencies between the power and communications sectors. Such incidents emphasize the need for locally and independently generated power, which can provide electricity to public safety workers in times of emergency.
The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) works with the communications industry to develop and implement improvements to help ensure the reliability, redundancy and security of the nation's communications infrastructure. In an effort to reduce vulnerabilities, PSHSB oversees and analyzes network outage reports submitted by communications providers to identify trends in network disruptions. Through this process, PSHSB works with communications providers to facilitate improvements to communications infrastructure dependability.
The following resources focus on government information related to interdependent infrastructure systems. They provide a more in-depth discussion of this vital information and offer specific plans for vulnerability reduction.
- U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
- Hardening and Resiliency (2010) (pdf)
U.S. Energy Industry Response to Recent Hurricane Seasons Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration
- Critical Infrastructure Protection
The nation's critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) include systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating impact on national security, national economic vitality, or public health and safety.
- Department of Energy Strategic Plans
These plans promote energy security, nuclear security, scientific discovery and innovation, and environmental responsibility.
- Emergency Communications During the Minneapolis Bridge Disaster
To better understand the communications needs of emergency responders, the Communications Systems Analysis Division of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau studied the impact of the Minneapolis bridge collapse on local emergency communications systems.
- Improving Information Sharing with Infrastructure Sectors (2004) (pdf)
This Government Accounting Office report encourages information-sharing partnerships between industry sectors and government to protect critical infrastructure.
- National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) (2009) (pdf)
NIPP and supporting Sector-Specific Plans provide a coordinated approach to critical infrastructure and roles and responsibilities for federal, state, local, tribal, and private sector security partners.
- Banking and Finance: Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources
This site outlines what infrastructures and resources are critical to the banking and finance sectors.
- The Energy Sector: Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources
This site outlines how the energy sector focuses on power used to run cellular towers, central offices, and other critical communications facilities.
- Postal and Shipping
This site outlines what infrastructures and resources are critical to the postal and shipping sectors.
- Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security (PCIS) Business Plan
PCIS is a non-profit organization formed to address cross-sector critical infrastructure protection and interdependency issues.