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The Stafford Act and Critical Infrastructure Protection

A section of the Stafford Act discusses the relationship between the Act and critical infrastructure protection. Critical infrastructure refers to assets and systems that are so vital to the US that their destruction or incapacitation would adversely affect a region or the entire country (Stafford Act, 2019). The United States has a responsibility to protect infrastructures such as agriculture, electricity, and transportation against events such as terrorist activities and natural disasters (Stafford Act, 2019). The Stafford Act states that it is the policy of the United States that any disruption to critical infrastructure is infrequent, brief, controllable, and minimally harmful. This necessitates a program in place to guarantee the continuity of these services.

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The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) should be concerned with the outcomes of the Stafford Act legislation. The mission of CISA is to support the federal government by providing cybersecurity instruments, assessment tools, and incident response services to safeguard vital infrastructure (Brumfield, 2019). One center of the CISA provides situational awareness analysis, incident response, and cyber defense services to the government (Brumfield, 2019). Another center’s function is to pinpoint and raise issues that pertain to the country’s critical infrastructure. Therefore, CISA should be interested, involved with, and aware of the outcomes of the Stafford Act.

From a critical infrastructure perspective, the Stafford Act was important in dealing with hurricanes such as Harvey, Maria, Florence, and Dorian. The Stafford Act protects critical infrastructure by modeling, simulating, and analyzing systems that comprise such infrastructure (Stafford Act, 2019). For instance, the Act mandates forecasts of storms to facilitate emergency response. The National Hurricane Center provided storm-by-storm forecasts that enabled better management of Hurricanes Florence and Michael. The forecasting and modeling done during these hurricanes alleviated the impact they would have had on critical infrastructure.

The Stafford Act also states that the generated data should be presented to the relevant authorities for them to take action to protect vulnerable infrastructure. During the aforementioned hurricanes, modeling, simulation, and analysis were utilized to support decision-making. For instance, the forecast offices provided apt predictions to decision-makers, which enabled them to evacuate people on time, close roads, and protect vital infrastructure (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2018). They were able to do this without compromising the forecasts. The Act also stipulates that the recipient of the support should be federal, state, and local governments in charge of vital infrastructure protection. During the most recent hurricanes, these officials received critical data, which they used to protect these infrastructures.

Despite the relevance of the Stafford Act to the protection of critical infrastructure, there are changes that can be made to it. The Act should give more comprehensive steps to be taken to avert crises or manage the ones that cannot be avoided. The Stafford Act only mentions general actions such as modeling, simulation, and analysis to protect critical infrastructure (Stafford Act, 2019). It does not describe in detail how these actions are to be undertaken. The critical infrastructure protection section of the Stafford Act should be more detailed to discuss any eventualities during emergencies. It should have information such as the relevant national bodies that protect vital infrastructure and what to do in case these facilities incur damage that incapacitates them.

The Stafford Act has a segment that discusses the protection of critical infrastructures such as transportation, agriculture, and communication lines. It is essential to protect these systems and services because their destruction would be detrimental to a nation. The Act was pivotal in dealing with the recent hurricanes that have occurred in America. It provided guidelines for disaster preparedness and management. It also facilitated communication between forecast offices and decision-makers and a faster return to normalcy.

References

Brumfield, C. (2019). What is the CISA? How the new federal agency protects critical infrastructure from cyber threats. CSO. Web.

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2018). Destructive 2018 Atlantic hurricane season draws to an end. US Department of Commerce. Web.

Stafford Act, as Amended, and Related Authorities. (2019). Web.

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