Prioritization & Decision Making in Critical Infrastructure Defense

November 14, 2024 @ 12:30 - 13:05

  • Main Track

About Session

Technical Level: Intermediate

Defense of critical infrastructure, such as electric utilities or water treatment systems, seems obvious and clear but masks significant variations in the nature of these systems and the purposes (and populations) they serve. In this discussion, we will examine the nature of “criticality” when it comes to infrastructure and its application as part of a harsh (but necessary) approach to determining just how “critical” some items may be relative to others in allocating scarce resources for defensive support and investment in system redundancy. Through this discussion we will arrive at unfortunate conclusions where many elements currently deemed “critical” simply cannot be treated as such to economize on available capabilities – but in doing so, we will also explore how national (and international) authorities and asset owners can best use limited resources to ensure such “sub-critical” infrastructure is not abandoned. Overall, this discussion aims to highlight that not all elements of infrastructure can meaningfully be labeled critical, and that difficult decisions are necessary. But as part of this investigation, we must also look for effective ways to continue to support those who are left behind – if not for military or economic reasons, then for reasons of equality and ethics.


Joe Slowik

Joe Slowik

Threat Intelligence & Critical Infrastructure Security Leader, MITRE