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Critical infrastructure and key resources (CI/KR)

Definition Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CI/KR) refer to systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, that are so vital to a nation that their incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on national security, national economic security, public health or safety. These include, but aren’t limited to, infrastructure such as water supply, transportation, […]

Definition

Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CI/KR) refer to systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, that are so vital to a nation that their incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on national security, national economic security, public health or safety. These include, but aren’t limited to, infrastructure such as water supply, transportation, telecommunications and energy supply. The term is widely used in crisis management, emergency preparedness and disaster management fields.

Key Takeaways

  1. Critical infrastructure and key resources (CI/KR) refer to the assets, systems, networks, and functions that are vital to national security, public health, economic stability, and public safety. Any significant damage or disruption to CI/KR could lead to adverse impacts on national security, economy, and public health.
  2. CI/KR is categorized into 16 sectors including energy, water, healthcare, financial services, and telecommunications, among others. Each sector has unique characteristics, operational needs, and dependencies that can shape the approach to protection.
  3. The protection of CI/KR has become a concerning issue due to the increasing cyber threat landscape. Government agencies continuously work on strategies for protecting and reinforcing our CI/KR, with a focus on enhancing physical security measures, developing cybersecurity practices, and fostering information sharing between public and private sectors.

Importance

Critical infrastructure and key resources (CI/KR) is a crucial military operations term referring to the assets, systems, and networks, physical or virtual, which are indispensable to the functioning of a society, economy, or the security of a nation.

These infrastructures and resources could include electricity power supply, water supply, transportation systems, telecommunications, and so forth.

Their importance lies in the fact that any damage or disruption to these essential structures can have a significant impact causing immediate harm to national security, public health, economic security, or any combination of these dimensions.

Therefore, identifying, protecting, and ensuring the continuous operation of CI/KR is a priority task in strategic planning and risk management, making this term of vital importance.

Explanation

Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CI/KR) play an integral role within a nation’s military stratagem and overall homeland security. Their main purpose is to keep the most pivotal public and private sectors functional, often in conditions of conflict, emergency or crisis.

CI/KRs include crucial establishments like water and power stations, financial institutions, telecommunication networks, transportation systems, and other cornerstone services that directly affect national security, economy, public health, or safety. The main goal of identifying CI/KRs is to ensure that these institutions are prepared, resilient or can recover swiftly during and after potential threats or attacks.

In terms of use, CI/KR allows for effective planning and provision of resources to adequately protect significant assets of the nation. By identifying and appropriately prioritizing these key sectors, the military and homeland security agencies can formulate strategies to mitigate risks posed by a range of potential threats, from terrorism to natural disasters.

These strategies may include preparedness training, cyber security measures, infrastructure hardening, or emergency contingency plans. The focus is to reduce vulnerabilities, deter threats, and minimize the potential damage to the CI/KR during eventualities – ensuring essential services continue running, and recovery time is minimized.

Examples of Critical infrastructure and key resources (CI/KR)

Electrical Power Grids: One of the most crucial infrastructure elements is the nation’s power grid system. This encompasses infrastructure for electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. Damage or disruption to the power grid can have widespread and significant impacts not only on the civilian population but also on military operations.

Communication Systems: Another key resource in military operations is the communication system. This includes landline, mobile, satellite, and internet communication networks. Disruption in the communication system can greatly impair a nation’s ability to respond to crises or carry out operations efficiently.

Transportation Networks: This includes roads, bridges, airports, seaports, railways, and public transit systems. These infrastructure elements are critical because they facilitate the swift movement of troops, equipment, and supplies. Any significant damage or disruption to these networks can have serious implications on the operational capability and efficiency of the military.

FAQ for Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CI/KR)

What are Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CI/KR)?

CI/KR refers to systems and assets, both physical and virtual, so vital to a country that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.

How many sectors are included in CI/KR in the U.S.?

In the United States, according to the Department of Homeland Security, there are 16 critical infrastructure sectors including but not limited to: transportation systems, water and wastewater systems, and emergency services.

What is the role of the Department of Homeland Security in CI/KR?

The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for coordinating the overall national effort to enhance the protection of the critical infrastructure and key resources of the United States. They also aid in prioritizing assets and determining protection needs.

Why is it important to protect CI/KR?

Protecting CI/KR is important because they are essential for the operation of society and the economy. Any destruction or weakening of these assets could significantly disrupt the functioning of government and business alike and produce cascading effects far beyond the affected sector’s specific facilities.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD-7)
  • Emergency Support Functions (ESFs)
  • Private Sector and Government Coordination
  • National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP)
  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

Sources for More Information

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