Hlsc 720-discussion 1-reply 2 | HLSC 720 – Critical Infrastructure: Vulnerability Analysis and Protection | Liberty University

The thread must be a minimum of 250 words. MINIMUM OF TWO SOURCES BESIDES THE TEXTBOOK. Must cite at least 2 sources in addition to the Bible.

TEXTBOOK: Bennett, B. T. (2018). Understanding, assessing, and responding to terrorism: Protecting critical infrastructure and personnel (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN: 9781119237785.


The term critical infrastructure (CI) has changed multiple times over the last twenty years; however, the general concept of what constitutes critical infrastructure has remained fairly consistent since the first formal definition was developed under the Clinton Administration in 19996 (Bennett, 2018). According to the author, since President William Clinton’s Executive Order 13010, the term and concept underwent various changes; two years after EO 13010, President Clinton signed the Presidential Decision Directive 63, which added the “cyber” to the definition of CI. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, CI was re-defined under the Bush administration per the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001. Bennett noted that the Homeland Security Act of 2002 added the concept of “key resources” to the CI definition, an area of CI that is crucial to the proper functioning of the various Cis. This post will discuss what critical infrastructure means, what soft and hard targets are, define cascading effects, and what the author believes is the most important CI within the author’s geographical location and why this CI was chosen.

What does critical infrastructure mean?
Critical infrastructure is a blanket term that encompasses 16/17 “systems and assets, physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that incapacity or destruction of such systems or assets would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, health, or safety, or combination of those matters” (Bennett, 2018, p. 41; Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency [CISA], 2020, pp. 1). As previously mentioned, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 added “key resources” to the definition of critical infrastructure; key resources are defined as the publicly or privately controlled individual resources essential to the minimal operation of the economy and government (Bennett, p. 41). According to Bennett, while key resources do not hold the same status as critical infrastructure, they are important and necessary for the production, functioning, and maintenance of various critical infrastructures. Bennett summarized critical infrastructure as the important assets we want and depend on to be available and functional when needed (p. 43).

What are soft and hard targets?
The terms soft and hard targets describe the levels of protection any given critical infrastructure asset or location has. Protection includes physical security and countermeasures in place for any potential attack or natural disaster (International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague [ICCT], 2021). Soft targets typically include the undefended or under-protected open access locations where civilians can be found in significant numbers. According to the International Centre for Counterterrorism, often soft targets have little security, countermeasures, or physical protection and include but are not limited to: transportation systems, places of worship, schools, venues, some funerals, hospitals, colleges, malls, tourist destinations, and stadiums. On the other hand, hard targets typically have physical deterrents, including and not limited to a combination of barriers, armed guards or armed security, high walls, metal detectors, bomb detection, and security cameras. The authors note that securely guarded hard targets often require permission or identification for entry and have limited entry and access points. Hard targets make attacking the assets or location challenging; protection is not only for critical infrastructure defense but offensively acts as a deterrent.

What does the term cascading effects mean?
Cascading effect is a term that describes the unforeseen or inevitable chain of events that occur when an act affecting one system causes another event on other related systems (Bennett, 2018). That is, a successful attack on one particular infrastructure sector will have a negative effect on other sectors; these attacks or events can be initiated by accidental, natural, or intentional events (p. 50). Bennett noted that the interdependencies between infrastructure sectors cause these events.

What is the most important CI where you live or work, and why do you say this?
The question proposed is difficult; the first choice was the Healthcare and Public Health sector when deciding on the most important CI within this area. This was originally chosen as this region’s healthcare, and public health sector serves over 500,000 and has the only level-one trauma center within a three-hour drive. Furthermore, it was determined that the level one trauma center is one of five hospitals located on a 6-mile strip of the road, making it easy to attack 6 out of the 9 emergency hospitals in this region. However, it is also evident that these hospitals would be rendered useless without electricity, as would houses, banks, and the local economy. The obvious decision is that the energy sector is the most important critical infrastructure in this region; however, if one were to disregard the CI of transportation, energy, and water, healthcare would be the most important.

An applicable verse for this week is Ezekiel 38:7; this verse reminds individuals that they must be prepared, prepare themselves, prepare all of those around them, and be a guard for them.


Bennett, B. (2018). Understanding, assessing, and responding to terrorism(2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons.

Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. (2020). Critical infrastructure sectors. CISA.GOV. https://www.cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectorsLinks to an external site.

English Standard Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.

International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague. (2021). Handbook of terrorism prevention and preparedness (A. P. Schmid, Ed.). International Centre for Counter-Terrorism . https://icct.nl/app/uploads/2021/10/V10.4-Handbook-ONLINE.pdf

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