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Critical Infrastructure
in Congressional Research Service Reports
The First Responder Network and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress (R42543, May 2012) (28pp | 412kb | PDF) — “The importance of wireless communications in emergency response has expanded in parallel with increasing reliance on mobile communications across all sectors of the American economy. The consequences of failure in emergency communications networks have also grown, as the nation witnessed on September 11, 2001, and in the days that followed, as first responders and other emergency workers struggled to communicate with each other. The need for robust emergency communications was again underlined by network failures in the wakes of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, in 2005. Fixing the problems of communications interoperability and operability that hampered response and recovery in these and other catastrophic events has been and remains a long-term goal of policy makers.” 

Critical Infrastructures: Background, Policy, and Implementation (RL30153, July 2011) (42pp | 404kb | PDF) — "The nation’s health, wealth, and security rely on the production and distribution of certain goods and services [known as infrastructure] … This report discusses in more detail the evolution of a national critical infrastructure policy and the institutional structures established to implement it. The report highlights five issues of Congressional concern: identifying critical assets; assessing vulnerabilities and risks; allocating resources; information sharing; and, regulation."

Protection of Security-Related Information (RL33670, September 2006) (29pp | 126kb | PDF) — "To prohibit public disclosure of security-related information under the Freedom of Information Act and other laws, Congress has drafted and passed legislation designed to remove legal obstacles to information sharing….These statutes are examples of what are referred to as FOIA exemption 3 statutes; separate federal statutes prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type of information and authorizing its withholding under FOIA subsection (b)(3). This report describes the current state of the law with regard to the protection of security-related information."

Critical Infrastructure Information Disclosure and Homeland Security (RL31547, January 2003) (22pp | 100kb | PDF) — "Critical infrastructures have been defined as those systems and assets so vital to the United States that the incapacity of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on the United States... However, the Commission noted that owners and operators are reluctant to share confidential business information, and the government is reluctant to share information that might compromise intelligence sources or investigations. Among the strategies to promote information sharing was a proposal to exempt critical infrastructure information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act….The Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296, section 214) provisions regarding the exemption of critical infrastructure information from FOIA adopted the House language in its entirety."  

Source: Page created by the DHS/Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the DHS/Privacy Office in cooperation with the DOJ, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Last date revised: 08/10/13