November is Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, and this year CISA is calling on all Americans to Resolve to be Resilient. Critical infrastructure is a shared resource as well as a shared responsibility – we all play a role in keeping it secure – but underserved and under-resourced communities often face the same threats to critical infrastructure security with fewer capabilities to address them.
This is a big problem. To have a truly resilient nation, we need all communities to be resilient. Beyond threats from bad actors, underserved communities are more likely to have outdated or crumbling infrastructure and to have to deal with infrastructure related health issues--like what happened to the water in Flint, Michigan—or be more vulnerable to cyberattacks. We’ve also seen the news how climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, and underserved communities are often affected disproportionately, reflecting a further need for resilient infrastructure that can withstand these changes.
Fortunately, new resources exist that can help. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law in November 2021, allocated hundreds of billions of dollars over a decade for roads, bridges, transportation safety, clean energy, and other major projects.
CISA partners with communities nationwide to help them understand their risks and take advantage of the many resources available at no charge through CISA. In addition to tons of resources, we offer regional support in the form of technical assistance and training. State and local governments as well as critical infrastructure operators can also use CISA’s Infrastructure Resilience Planning Framework (IRPF) to better identify critical infrastructure, assess related risks and develop and implement resilience solutions.
Further, we encourage you to determine whether your community qualifies for funding through the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, and to review the Cross-Sector Cybersecurity Performance Goals, which provide guidance to help prioritize security investments toward areas that will have the greatest impact on your cybersecurity.
Even as we ask all communities to Resolve to be Resilient this November, we are continuing that focus on resilience through the “Shields Ready” campaign launched on November 7 and continuing year around.
Inevitably, our nation will continue to face new and evolving threats and disruptions, whether from natural hazards or other physical and cyber threats. But by doing the work up front to prepare for disruptions to our communities and critical infrastructure, whether at a personal, organizational or governmental level, we can all stay a step ahead. This means knowing the risks, preparing and exercising a plan with a deliberate focus on continuity, recovery, and minimization of downtime, and then continually learning and adapting. We understand that underserved communities face additional challenges than most other communities, both in dealing with more outdated infrastructure and in having fewer resources to address them. That’s why CISA wants to make sure communities are aware of all the resources at their disposal to enhance resilience.