Critical Infrastructures Will Remain Vulnerable

Neighbourhoods Must Fend for Themselves

Published in: International Journal of Critical Infrastructures, v. 1, no. 1, 2004, p. 8-19

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2004

by Edward Balkovich, Robert H. Anderson

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Critical infrastructures in the US will remain vulnerable to a variety of attacks, both physical and cyber, into the foreseeable future. This paper explores strategies for making those infrastructures more resilient in the face of such attacks (or natural disasters). The authors focus on three key infrastructures: provision of electric power, telecommunications (both voice and data), and information systems, with greater attention on power and telecoms. They explore the idea that ''neighbourhoods must fend for themselves'' with a deliberate policy of diversification and decentralisation of power and telecommunications, based on the principles: 1) locate backup power in individual buildings, or at telecom Central Offices (COs) or Points of Presence (POPs), 2) provide a secondary, heterogeneous source of telecommunications access for the ''neighbourhood'', and 3) provide redundant and resilient implementation of information services provided to or accessed by the neighbourhood. Subsequent analysis suggests that attention be focused on redundant provision of the ''last mile'' interconnection of individual organisations with backbone networks supplying power and telecommunications.

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