For a nation’s stability to be preserved, the most important infrastructure must be tightly supervised by both the private and public sectors in order to remove any possible danger in any given area. For eg, the chemical division is the vital infrastructure that supports the United States of America’s economy. The industry converts raw materials into over 70,000 individual finished goods, making it a significant component of the US economy. It accounts for nearly 25% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The sector produces, and stores as well as transports chemicals to clients in diverse critical infrastructure sectors across the nation. Almost 96 percent of the United States goods that were produced in 2013 were manufactured using products from the chemical section. Therefore, this fact makes continuous chemical production as well as transportation a significant part for the security of the nation together with the economy (Homeland Security, 2015). The paper discusses and expounds more on how a private company in the chemical section can deal with the imminent threat posed to the sector while enhancing the security of the nation.
Assets and Risks
It is eminent that the most of the chemical companies, which manufacture, transport, store, as well as offer warehousing services, are owned and operated by the private sectors. The chemicals a health as well as the safety hazard and therefore critical management from manufacturing to the end user have to be maintained. The facilities of production, suppliers and the final users are located all over the world hence making the operations of the chemical sector vulnerable to the various form of threat. The threats can originate from natural disaster, biohazards, cyber-attacks, and pandemics. To some extent, the local or rather a regional interruption to crucial suppliers can lead to the disruption in various regions as well as in a significant number of industries. It, therefore, follows that the owner together with the operators should ensure that their product is secure from theft as well as diversions for dangerous use of the chemicals in making of explosive weapons. Now, the most imminent threat that the chemical sector faces is from cyber-attack and the betrayal of an inside operator. The increase in sophistication of the cyber adversaries poses a threat to the section. More so the owners, as well as the operators, are finding it hard to characterize the chances of known threats to an individual facility which makes it difficult to prioritize the security measures to be taken (Homeland Security, 2015).
Chemical sector produces necessary materials, which are used in manufacturing thousands of different designs, which include the collaboration with the government businesses. In case a catastrophe occurs on a national level, the occurrence will have adverse effects on local customers and the stability of various securities, commercial, financial and communication sectors that depend on the overall security of the nation (Hemme, 2015). Following this fact, most of the private sectors in have adopted several strategies, which help them enhance the effectiveness in the protection of national security. First, most of them are active participants in the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council, which help establish a strong relationship with all companies in the private sector to increase the effectiveness as well as the safety measures in the chemical section. The council updates the private enterprises in the chemical sector on new methods of handling safety because the products keep changing (Ehlen et al., 2014).
Any company in the private sector has to keep themselves updated with the new safety rules and regulation by taking part in the annual Chemical Sector Security Summit. The summit is an industry-wide networking as well as the educational event that is sponsored by both the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) and the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The summit enables most private companies to improve their security measures by collaborating with the leaders in the industry all across the universe with the main aim of enhancing the safety of operations in the chemical sector (Ehlen et al., 2014).
Cyber security was the focus of the latest summit (DHS, 2016). The focus was shifted to cyber security due to the numerous breaches that have occurred in recent years and affected both the private as well as the public sector. For this case, most of the companies have entered into the partnership with leading organizations in the Information and Technology sector. They contract the IT industries to provide cyber security in order to aid in preventing the loss of critical data that could led to disruption in the market for the chemical sector hence consequently reducing the safety of the nation by straining the some of the contracts, which deliver most versatile materials produced for the country in the private sector (DHS, 2016).
Despite the fact that most of the companies in the private sector have invested in their security as well as the nations, there are still issues that trouble the private sector each time a policy is changed. The first major concern is cyber security. Most of the private companies in the chemical sector have put their protection in the hands of other private entities, which has emerged to be costly and to some extent ineffective. In case of a serious catastrophe to the chemical sector, the most organization will incur losses that will lead to downsizing to compensate for the reduction in efficiency. When this occurs, one of the first measures to cut down will be the contract with other businesses, which do not produce immediate capital gain. It is a threat because should any of the companies in the chemical sector suffer damages they may cut the relation with many IT industries, which will make them vulnerable to the cyber security breach. Therefore, to deal with this situation or rather to avoid such an occurrence, chemical companies in the private sectors are adopting plans that will enable them to develop internal groups, which will handle concerns related to cyber security. More so, in February 2013 the private sectors were boosted by the former President of the United States, Obama, who endorsed a Presidential Policy Directive 21(PPD 21) on Crucial Infrastructure Security and Resilience. The policy defines the states determination to protect as well as support the Nations IT structures. Consequently, Cyber Security has become a prominent field more than ever before (Hemme, 2015).
Most of the companies in the private sectors have their bases covered; most accepts that meetings, as well as regulations, can never replace personal training. By implementing the Security Summits, the Department of Homeland Security has initiated the collaborations of chemical companies in the private sector. The summit provides a chance for some of the personnel to acquire primary experience of the operations done by other businesses in the industry as well as the government counterparts. In the same way, the cyber security threat already mentioned earlier would be eradicated if there were collaborations with the stateside fusion centers, which may help in monitoring information passing in and out of the companies in the chemical sector and are to be protected by the PCCII. The collaboration could strengthen the bond between the private and the public sectors. Moreover, more assistance in the time of need will be prudent as the products in the chemical sector are much needed. For instance, when drought hits the country the agricultural sector will be affected, and the public will be commonly required to take up the slack in provision of food for the starving nation. In such a condition, the private sector will still be required to transport the food (Terpstra, 2013). Therefore it would be appropriate when private companies in the chemical sector go under they receive a boost to continue with production. All the sectors should collaborate to increase the efficiency of operation. Most of the critical infrastructure depends on the chemical sector, for instance, the water, transportation, energy, information, and technology. In all this sector the chemical section if vital and is an integral division in the modern manufacturing sector (Homeland Security, 2015).
To conclude the chemical sector is the most critical infrastructure that boosts the economy of the nations since most of the manufactured products use chemical products as raw materials. Most of the owners and operators in the chemical sector belong to the private section. The imminent threat to the chemical sector is the cyber security which most of the companies deal with by collaborating with private organizations in the IT industry. More so most companies take protective measures against any threat. The actions taken are participation in the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council as well as attending the annual Chemical Sector Security Summit.
Ehlen, M. A., Sun, A. C., Pepple, M. A., Eidson, E. D., & Jones, B. S. (2014). Chemical supply chain modeling for analysis of homeland security events. Computers & Chemical Engineering, 60, 102-111
Hemme, K. (2015). Critical infrastructure protection: Maintenance is national security. Journal of Strategic Security, 8(5), n/a. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy2.apus.edu/10.5038/1944-0472.8.3S.1471
Homeland Security. (2015). An Annex to the NIPP 2013. Chemical Sector Specific Plan, 1-27.
Trepstra, P. (2013, January 07). 3 Ways to Involve the Government in Climate Change. Retrieved July 14, 2017, from https://wri.org/blog/2013/12/3-ways-governments-can-involve-private-sector-climate-change-adaptation
United States Department of Homeland Security, (2016). Information Technology Sector-Specific Plan: An Annex to the NIPP 2013. July 13th, 2017, from https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/nipp-ssp-information-technology-2016-508.pdf