Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 27, 2006

DHS announces Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council

Filed under: DHS News,Infrastructure Protection — by Christian Beckner on March 27, 2006

On Wednesday last week I wrote about a CQ story that previewed the creation of a new Federal Advisory Committee for DHS, the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC). On Friday, DHS published a notice about the new committee in the Federal Register, which lays out the Department’s rationale for exempting the new committee from the open meeting requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), and describes the role and membership of CIPAC.

After reading the notice, it seems like this new committee is intended to be much more than a talk shop. The notice lists 28 private sector entities and 42 public sector entities who will be members of the CIPAC at inception; given this size and scope, I imagine that the committee is not going to be driven by blather-filled quarterly meetings. Rather, my sense is that DHS intends to use the CIPAC as a “secure channel” for a continuous conversation with industry about critical infrastructure vulnerabilities and needs. The challenge that they will face is balancing the legitimate need to protect sensitive information about vulnerabilities with two equally important needs: (1) keeping the owners of critical infrastructure publicly accountable for their actions (or lack thereof); and (2) informing the broad set of stakeholders about relevant intelligence (which often becomes more difficult when transparency decreases).

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2 Comments »

441

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 27, 2006 @ 12:40 pm

Even though exempt from FACA it would be very interesting to see if the Committee’s charter get made available to the public or even published in the Federal Register.

Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » Blog Archive » New GAO report on info-sharing and critical infrastructure

May 22, 2006 @ 11:54 pm

[…] The recent decision to create the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council is one response to the concerns addressed in this report, but it’s only a first step. For example, DHS needs to develop and publish a clearly-articulated framework about how it receives, uses, protects, and ultimately deletes externally-acquired information, so that private sector entities have a clearer sense of what happens to sensitive corporate information after it is transmitted to the Department. […]

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