USFA: Counter-Terrorism: Critical Infrastructure Protection:
What are Critical Infrastructures?
Critical infrastructures of the emergency management and response sector of the United States (i.e., emergency managers, fire, and EMS) are the personnel, physical assets, and communication systems that must be intact and operational 24/7/365 in order to ensure survivability, continuity of operations, and mission success. In other words, they are the people and things absolutely essential to deter or mitigate the catastrophic results of all man-made or natural disasters.
What is Critical Infrastructure Protection?
Generally, critical infrastructure protection (CIP) consists of the proactive activities to protect indispensable people, physical assets, and communication systems from all hazards. More formally, it is an analytical process to guide the systematic protection of critical infrastructures by the application of a reliable decision sequence that assists leaders in ultimately determining exactly what really needs protection as well as when. As a time-efficient and resource-restrained practice, the process ensures the protection of only those infrastructures upon which survivability and mission success actually depend.
The process involves the following steps: identifying the organization's critical infrastructures, determining the threats against those infrastructures, analyzing the vulnerabilities of threatened infrastructures, assessing the risks of degradation or loss of a critical infrastructure, and applying countermeasures where risk is unacceptable."