In the News – This Week in Critical Infrastructure: Week of February 13, 2017 (and Before)

Posted: February 17, 2017 at 12:06 pm

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This Week in Critical Infrastructure we examine some of the top infrastructure stories from the first six weeks of 2017. We start with a focus on the Oroville dam in California, then provide a sample of the major infrastructure-related news items from 2017 so far.

The Oroville Dam and Aging Infrastructure


Oroville is the Best Warning that Infrastructure Matters

On February 13, almost 200,000 people in California were evacuated in the flood path of the Oroville Dam after heavy rains caused a build up of water and massive erosion to the dam’s spillways. In the days that followed, the rains abated enough for residents to return home, but the near-disaster calls attention to the need to address concerns over aging infrastructure. With more commentary, Professor Upmanu Lall of Columbia University writes for CNN.

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If I Had A Trillion Dollars: Fixing America’s Aging Infrastructure

From The 1A by WAMU radio in Washington, DC, an episode discussing aging infrastructure, the costs of needed investments, and the path forward in addressing future threats, with guests David Hayes, Stephen Moore, and Greg DiLoreto.

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Fixing America’s Crumbling Bridges and Roadways Requires a ‘Czar,’ Infrastructure Expert Says

Attorney and author of Too Big to Fall: America’s Failing Infrastructure and the Way Forward Barry LePatner appeared on CNBC to share his opinions regarding the need to focus national attention on addressing the dangers of aging infrastructure, suggesting that the lack of public attention may need to be addressed by appointing an infrastructure “czar” to serve as the national leader in the effort.

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Other News from 2017


NIST Releases Update to Cybersecurity Framework

On January 10, the National Institute of Standards and Technology issued a draft update to the 2014 Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity. This draft, dubbed version 1.1, provides clarification for key terms, new guidance regarding supply chains, and new measurement methods. These changes are the culmination of feedback gathered over the past two years through comments submitted to NIST both in response to RFIs and at cybersecurity workshops.

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Why it Matters to Call Voting Booths ‘Critical Infrastructure’

On January 6, the Obama administration designated elections systems as “critical,” a move that placed voting systems in a category eligible for special attention from the federal security community. DHS Secretary Kelly has since said that the Trump administration plans to continue this policy. However, many commentators remain skeptical as to the ultimate efficacy of this move. Along with this commentary from The Christian Science Monitor, please also see a legal commentary on the policy written by Stephen Jackson for the September/October 2016 issue of The CIP Report here.

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2016 Was a Record Year for Data Breaches

Writing for Bloomber, Olga Khalif reports on statistics from the Identity Theft Resource Center showing that 2016 broke previous records for number of cyber attacks, rising about 40 percent over the previous year. Spending on internet security also increased, a trend that is expected to continue as high-profile breaches continue to make headlines.

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The State of American Cybersecurity

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a statement earlier this month providing guidance to the new administration on how best to approach cybersecurity for the business community. Writing on behalf of the organization, Senior Vice President for National Security and Emergency Preparedness Ann M. Beauchesne suggests that the administration should focus on harmonizing the multiple regulatory approaches scattered across the various agencies of the federal government with the approach provided in the NIST framework.

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McAuliffe: Cybersecurity Has to Start with the States

Writing for The Mercury News, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe provides his views on the need for states to take a greater role in cybersecurity. He outlines initiatives he supports through his leadership role in the National Governors Association to improve security both for state governments and the businesses with which they partner.

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Write to the Editors at ciprpt@gmu.edu