Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP)

Lately, I have had the opportunity to read interesting material of the topic I am about to write. That said and due to the nature of the work I have carried out in the past few months, I came accross with some documents dealing with the notion of Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP). Bit by bit I will be commenting certain aspects that I find interesting. I am, thereby, creating a series of posts on the topic. Here I begin:

Both NATO and the Council of Europe address the issue.  It is in the following communication of the European Commission to both, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, that it is firstly mentioned the notion of CIP, «Critical Infrastructure- means those assets or parts thereof which are essential for the maintenance of critical societal functions, including the supply chain, health, safety, security, economic or social well-being of people (…)»[1]

In recent years, NATO has shown special interest in this regard, where the organization has to adapt to new scenarios, from a security perspective, acknowledging  the nature of new threats, deciding the role that will play in the protection of critical infrastructures.

Our societies are highly dependent on certain strategic infrastructures, in case of any disruption or destruction, it would result in an  impact on the safety, the security or  the economic welfare of our fellow citizens or even in the proper functioning of the State. CIP is becoming the priority in the national security strategies, acquiring a new role and concept: «critical infrastructure».

The situation is increasingly exposed to cyber threats from non-state actors, but also from state-actors. These threats have become more complex involving different infrastructures. It should take into account a perspective that includes intelligence, cooperation with the civil and military fields, for the prevention and mitigation of any damage.

They agree (NATO and the european approach) in that the protection is primarely a national responsibility.

The Council Directive clearly defines the notion of CIP, and draws general actions to be followed by the member states [2].

NATO´s document, is broader and wider, including the mention of the cooperation with the European Union. That said, the definition is more general[3] than the one in the Directive, incorporating the notion of «cyber infrastructure«. It does not provide a concrete plan of action in terms of protection to the infrastructure but states certain assesment aspects and measures [4].

In the next post of this series of CIP, my analysis is going to be focused on the role of NATO and the kind of threats to CIP.

See you in my next post dear reader.

****

References

[1] In the text, it is mentioned another concept, «European Critical Infrastructure«, which for obvious reasons I am not commenting in this post. For those interested in further reading about it, follow the link.

[2] I am concretely refering to, page 76, paragraph 10 – 11 – 14; page 77, Article 2; page 78, Article 3.2 and 3.3; page 81, Annex I among other aspects explained in the document.

[3] NATO Parliamentary Assembly document, 162 CDS 07 E REV 1 – The Protection of Critical Infrastructures. Paragraph I, subparagraph A, points 8, 9 and 15.

[4] Ibid. Paragraph I, subparagraph B, points 23 and 27 (among others).

Sources of information

Council Directive 2008/114/EC of 8 December 2008, on the identification and designation of European critical infrastructures and the assessment of the need to improve their protection. Web, 2015.03.18

NATO Parliamentary Assembly document, 162 CDS 07 E REV 1 – The Protection of Critical Infrastructures. Web, 2015.03.18.

Brussels, 12.12.2006 COM(2006) 787 final 2006/0276 (CNS). Proposal for a Directive of the Council on the identification and designation of European Critical Infrastructure and the assessment of the need to improve their protection. Web, 2015.03.18.

NATO´s Library: » Improving NATO´s capabilities». Web, 2015.03.18.

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