homework questions 20

As this week’s readings established, our nation’s capabilities, and thus security, is highly dependent upon each of its sixteen critical infrastructure sectors. With this in mind Pick one answer to reply to as your main post response, and then reply to 2 classmates who answered the other question.

1. Offer your opinion as to the two critical infrastructure sectors you feel are currently most at risk. Offer sound reasoning as to why you hold this position (support your position with appropriate resource material), and highlight the role the private sector can play in decreasing this risk.

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In 2013, former President Obama issued both Presidential Policy Directive (PPD 21) and Executive Order 13636 (both among this week’s assigned readings), documents focused upon critical infrastructure security and resilience, with a specific focus upon the issue of cyber security.

Articles for assignment:

Clinton, W. (1998). Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 63, Critical infrastructure protection. Retrieved from http://fas.org/irp/offdocs/pdd/pdd-63.htm

Executive Order: Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-02-19/pdf/2013-03915.pdf

Obama, B. (2015). Executive Order 13691, Promoting private sector cybersecurity information sharing. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/0…

See the attached example forum post to assist you with crafting an effective forum post (in case you missed it last week)

Forum Rubric: Answers the forum question(s) with a relevant, coherent and scholarly initial forum response (>250 words) 20/20; demonstrates lesson comprehension in forums with no more than 10% of content as direct quotes 15/15; employs complete and proper APA in-text parenthetical citations of the required readings for this week 10/10; responses to two classmates initial forum answers (>100 words each) 20/20; quality answer to professor follow-up question 20/20, main forum has APA reference list at end of forum (including the required readings) 5/5; reads and acknowledges professors end of week wrap up forum 10/10.

Instructions: Craft your main forum answer is like a short paper directly answering the topic of the week with a well written response that fully utilizes the required readings for the week with at least 250 words. Focus only on the assigned question(s) in a scholarly manner using in-text citations from the required readings (save your personal experiences and opinions for your four forum replies in any given week). Each sentence quoting or paraphrasing any ideas or information from any source must be cited properly including the author and year of publication. Do not cite the APUS lessons — they are just basic information to start the week off and is not meant to be a primary source for you to reference in your reply (to receive full credit you must utilize and cite the listed required readings for that week). If directly quoting from the readings (or other scholarly sources), you must also include the page or paragraph number that you are quoting from like (Hoffman, 2006, p.7) or for articles and sources without pages (Renner, 2016, para.15). If you are directly quoting and there is no page number to cite, then you manually count the paragraphs and cite that number. You also need to have an APA style reference list at the end of your post listing the sources employed. For more on APA citations and reference lists see the APUS Style Guide for APA. You must first provide your own initial forum answer before replying to any classmates or the professor. The four replies of the week are more of a free flowing classroom discussion which offers you an opportunity to leverage your relevant personal experiences and express your thoughts and opinions. Respond to at least two other students initial forum answers with a minimum of 100 words each. In your replies to classmates you may offer your opinion on the topic of the week, substantially support or supplement another student’s answer, or even politely disagree with or challenge their forum answer (but do not ask your classmates questions, or do so only as a last resort per the forum philosophy). You will also reply to my follow up question in your own forum string, and also read and acknowledge the Professor wrap up forum I post toward the end of the week. Also, do not be afraid to respectfully disagree with the readings or a classmate where you feel appropriate; as this should be part of your analysis process and employing critical thinking and academic freedom. Forum posts are graded based on demonstrated knowledge of the lesson and weekly readings, relevance, timeliness, as well as clarity and quality of analysis and synthesis. Sources utilized to support answers are to come from the weekly readings, but other credible and scholarly sources may be used to supplement (but not replace) the assigned readings. However, dictionaries, encyclopedias and Wikipedia are not scholarly and are not acceptable sources in college level work. Do not use non-scholarly open websites as sources for your reply to the main forum answer. All forum work must be completed within the academic week. When replying to the main forum answer make sure to include your name in the “topic title” of your initial forum answer/response.

Student #1 Billy

In reviewing these two documents, provide information as to the private sector’s specific role in achieving the overall objective of PPD-21 and EO 13636

The private sectors role has an important role pertaining to PPD 21 and EO 13636. As stated in EO 13636, critical infrastructure is “systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters” (Obama 2013, pg 1). The 16 sectors PDD-21 identifies as critical infrastructure are: Chemical, Commercial Facilities, Communications, Critical Manufacturing, Dams, Defense Industrial Base, Emerggency Services, Energy, Financial Services, Food and Agriculture, Government Facilities, Healthcare and Public Health, Information Technology, Nuclear Reactors, Materials and Waste, Transportation Systems and Waer and Wastewater Systems (PPD-21.pg 10 and 11)

It is important to note that in today’s world everything we do revolves around the nations critical infrastructure it should maintain and sustain a coordinated infrastructure. The private sector owner’s and operator’s must have an open mind and remain active all while having a harmonized approach when working with Federal, state, local, tribal and territorial governments (SLTT’s) (PPD-21.pg 2, p1). Critical infrastructure are things that as a society we rely on to conduct our day to day business. Banking information is a prime example, the banking systems are expected to keep their clientele’s personal identifiable information (PII) secure and if for some reason they have a breach in security and PII is compromised they could lose the public’s trust and confidence.

The owners and operators of critical infrastructure can easily identify things that would involve risk or hazards of critical infrastructure under their control. Keeping critical infrastructure secure and able to bounce back quickly and effectively are important. Private sector owners and operators can do this by ensuring their organization is integrated within the national preparedness system that covers the steps to take after things like a nature disaster, these steps include prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery (PPD-21.pg 2, p1) They should have procedures and programs in place that promote sharing practices with SLTT’s (Kolasky, R. (2013). More than anyone, they know their operations and procedures, they are aware of their capabilities so, they could provide the best answer on how to move forward with correcting the problem all the while working with SLTT’s to keep the public’s trust.


Obama, B. (2013). Presidential Policy Directive 21 — Critical infrastructure security and resilience. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office.

Obama, B. (2013). Executive Order 13636 — Improving critical infrastructure cybersecurity. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office.

Kolasky, R. (2013). Written testimony of NPPD Executive Order 13636 and Presidential Policy Directive 21. Hearing titled “Oversight of Executive Order 13636 and Development of the Cybersecurity Framework”


Student #2 Bruce

Prompt 1

Offer your opinion as to the two critical infrastructure sectors you feel are currently most at risk. Offer sound reasoning as to why you hold this position (support your position with appropriate resource material), and highlight the role the private sector can play in decreasing this risk.


The systems and resources, whether physical or electronic (cyber), recognized as being so imperative to contiguous operations in America that if they or any other interdependent entity were to fail, would result in negative impacts on national security, public health, society, or the economy, are collectively referred to as ‘critical infrastructure’ (CI)(Obama, 2013). Of the sixteen critical infrastructure sectors, the Financial Services (FS) and Food and Agriculture (FA) sectors are currently the most at-risk. The FS sector’s role can be simply described as the nation’s purse, tax collector, and financial officiator and is directly and indirectly responsible for ensuring the nation’s ability to function (business-wise) (Department of Homeland Security, 2017b). The FA sector is charged with feeding the nation (Department of Homeland Security, 2017c). Both the FS and FA sectors are predominantly owned by the private sector (Department of Homeland Security 2017a,c).

While both the FS and FA CI sectors exhibit a threat environment that includes physical and/or cyber attack, the real Achilles’ heel for both sectors stems from the interconnectedness of systems between these two CI sectors and the fourteen other CI sectors; ergo, a compromise in either sector could spawn a cascade failure in the other CI sectors leading to a complete collapse of the nation’s capabilities. The FS sector is also subject to economic fluctuations both domestically and internationally (Department of Homeland Security, 2017b). Despite measures taken within the FS sector to secure the sector against threats, because this CI sector is a force multiplier and facilitator for every other aspect of American society, the risk associated with the FS sector is generated primarily by it being the most attractive target of any of the sixteen CI sectors. A crippling of the FS sector would cripple the whole of America. The FA sector, by comparison, is perhaps the least guarded CI sector and is characterized by a multifarious collection of hyper-individualistic entities and partners; each with their own unique presentation of vulnerabilities stemming from open infrastructure, weak security, and the possibility of accidental/deliberate contamination (Department of Homeland Security, 2017d). A complete failure of the FA sector would result in national starvation.

Currently, the federal government recognizes that it does not have the capabilities or the know-how to fathom the solutions for either CI sectors’ vulnerabilities and has left much of the campaign to secure the nation’s CI up to their respective public/private sector partners. For the FS sector, private sector partners pursue missions of cyber-infrastructure retrofitting through continually updating firewalls and security measures designed to harden the nation’s cyber-financial networks against malicious coding and distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks (Department of Homeland Security, 2017b). In the FA sector, private sector partners take part in exercises (tabletop and real-world) outlined within the Food Related Emergency Exercise Bundle (FREE-B) to share and refine ideas and best-practices geared towards improving CI resilience as called for in the 2013 National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) (Department of Homeland Security, 2013; Department of Homeland Security, 2017d). The private sector’s involvement with the FA sector, while still imperfect, is enormously important when weighed against the length of time required to restore continuity of operations within the FA sector following crop failure resulting from accidental, deliberate, or natural compromise.

The private sector, in the face of the 21’st century threat environment, stresses the importance of cooperation and communication so that collaboration can take place to generate solutions for cybersecurity, financial readiness, and food and agricultural resilience. Situational awareness, as identified in the NIPP, is paramount for increasing CI partners’ reaction time so that all hazards might be repelled or mitigated (Department of Homeland Security, 2013). It might behoove the public to take part in the private sectors’ efforts to secure the FS sector by making smarter financial decisions, diversifying assets, and password-protecting their electronic financial records and home and business networks. Likewise, persons wishing to assist in the private sector’s campaign to harden the FA sector might take it upon themselves to store extra shelf-stable foods in their homes as a safeguard against famine in the event that crops fail or supply chains deteriorate for whatever reason. While the private sector is working to harden the nation’s CI, literally everyone in America can do a little on their part to aide in some form or another in increasing communal resiliency.


Department of Homeland Security. (2013). NIPP 2013: Partnering for critical infrastructure security and resilience. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.

Department of Homeland Security. (2017a). Financial Services Sector. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/financial-services-sector.

Department of Homeland Security. (2017b). Financial Services Sector-Specific Plan – 2015. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/publication/nipp-ssp-financial-services-2015.

Department of Homeland Security. (2017c). Food and Agriculture Sector. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/food-and-agriculture-sector.

Department of Homeland Security. (2017d). Food and Agriculture Sector-Specific Plan – 2015. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/publication/nipp-ssp-food-ag-2015.

Obama, B. (2013). Presidential Policy Directive – 21 (PPD-21). Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience.