Strategic design to sustain critical services efficiently following a disruptive event

Image of selected potential flooding due to hurricane in Norfolk, VA

Critical infrastructure systems provide essential services that are vital to the nation’s security, public health and safety, economic vitality, and way of life. Without energy, transportation, telecommunications, and other critical infrastructure services, the country would suffer debilitating effects. Critical infrastructure resilience is determined by an infrastructure system’s ability to deliver essential services in the event of disruptive incidents, by how it absorbs, adapts to and recovers from those disruptive events.

Diagram of components in assessment of infrastructure system resilienceEnsuring resilience to disasters requires the ability to analyze infrastructure resilience in a technically defensible and objective manner. Doing so requires assessing elements such as pre-disruption investments, post-disruption recovery, resilience costs, resource allocation, and various network elements. Research efforts have demonstrated this type of resilience analysis can be achieved by integration of infrastructure modeling, mathematical theory, and network analysis, techniques that can be used to design resilience into new as well as existing infrastructure systems.

The private sector and federal, state, and local governments are applying critical infrastructure resilience strategies to their asset security activities. In support of DHS’s resilience mission, Sandia National Laboratories formulated a unique assessment framework for evaluating the resilience of critical infrastructure and economic systems. This framework is the first of its kind that is flexible enough to consider all types of critical infrastructure systems and a range of analysis methods while explicitly evaluating resources, recovery costs, and feedback loops between recovery activities and system performance.

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Eric Vugrin