310 W3



Discussion Questions: 1) In your own words, construct an overview of the critical information sector you choose for this discussion. 

2) Examine at least three of the following:

  • Unique aspects as they relate to national security
  • Risks/threats/hazards/vulnerabilities related to national security
  • Potential countermeasures/mitigations related to the continuity of operations
  • Minimizing disruption and improving first responder safety
  • Cross-sector dependencies/interdependencies 

3) Give your opinion on how either a physical attack, a cyber event, or a natural disaster could impact critical infrastructure.



1.This has truly been a busing week, and it is not over yet. I look forward to your comments and feedback.

The critical infrastructure sectors are composed of 16 sectors. The water and wastewater sector play a vital role in the success of sectors such as the Chemical Sector, which uses water to produce materials such as microchips, broadband devices, and solar panels; the Commercial Facilities Sector uses water in cooling plates; Communications relies on electricity which relies on hydropower, which is produced by water, Dams Sector and levees are used to manage water, the Energy Sector uses water for cooling plant systems, Food and Agriculture Sector use water in product productions and farming, Information Technology Sector uses water in a variety of way.

These 16 sectors are called out in Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21) as being vital to the United States and its citizens, and they should be provided support to ensure their operations, security, and resiliency to minimize any long-term disruption that could cause harm to human life, supply chain, economic secure or national security. This is the role and effort that the SRMAs put forth.

The water and wastewater sector have several interdependences that rely on its services, such as electricity, healthcare, IT services, and transportation, and dependencies, such as the chemical sector that provides chemicals to water treatment facilities that are used to manage the quality of the water or used to treat the wastewater. If any or all were interrupted by natural weather events such as hurricanes or manmade incidents such as nation-state-directed cyber-attacks for an extended period, it could have debilitating effects within the sectors, consequences in other sectors, and psychological impacts on the population.

The mitigation and other measures to minimize the effects of natural and manmade incidents is an effort that has been taken on by the SRMAs, the Government Coordinating Council (GCC), private sector owners and operators, and the Sector Coordinating Counsel, as well as a few other advisory committees and efforts. The goal is to increase the amount of information sharing and, at the same time, allow for the American system of free enterprise to flourish.  

The Emergency Services Sector (ESS) is one of the few sectors that deals with incidents firsthand and on a daily basis. All incidents originate at the local level, making it critical to keep first responders informed, well-equipped, and prepared to deal with any incidents they may encounter. This sector receives support from DHS Science and Technology (S&T) and DHS Information and Analysis (I&A). The ability to learn from emerging threats within the United States or over-the-horizon threats seen first overseas is critical to ensuring the safety of first responders.

The continued effort and expertise the private sector owners and operators bring to the table to help the government better understand their needs before and during an incident. They are vital to incident notification, response, and swift recovery from any incident that might have to be faced.


2.Unique aspects related to national security can vary due to evolving threats and geopolitical dynamics. There are several common unique aspects that are relevant to national security considerations like cultural diversity, location, cyber security, economic interdependence, border security, nuclear weapons, treaties, asymmetric threats. Technological improvements and intelligence. National security considerations are shaped by its unique combination of these and other factors. Effective national security strategies require a comprehensive understanding of these aspects and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and emerging threats.

Risks, threats, hazards, and vulnerabilities related to national security encompass a wide range of potential challenges that can impact a country’s stability and well-being. Risks in the context of national security refer to potential events or developments that could have adverse effects on a country’s security. These risks can be both internal and external and may include economic risks, political risks, environmental risks, and more.

Threats are specific entities or conditions that pose a direct danger to a country’s national security. They can be state or non-state actors and can take various forms, such as military threats, cyber threats, terrorism, or espionage. Threats often involve hostile intent or actions. Examples of threats include rival nations, terrorist organizations, and cyber criminals.

Hazards typically refer to natural or environmental events that can cause significant harm to a country’s population, infrastructure, or resources. While not always malicious, hazards can have profound national security implications. Examples of hazards include natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, pandemics, and environmental pollution.

Vulnerabilities are weaknesses that can be exploited by threats to undermine national security. These vulnerabilities can be found in a country’s infrastructure, institutions, or policies. Identifying and addressing vulnerabilities is crucial to reducing the impact of potential threats and hazards. Examples of vulnerabilities include outdated critical infrastructure, inadequate cyber security measures, and ineffective border controls.

Minimizing disruption and improving first responded safety are critical aspects of national security, especially during emergencies, disasters, and crisis situations. Some ways to achieve this objective are preparedness and training, technology and equipment, talking to the community, infrastructure resilience and information sharing, risk assessment and mitigation, resource allocation, and public alerts.

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