As Hurricane Katrina so forcefully demonstrated, the nation's critical infrastructures--both physical and cyber--have been vulnerable to a wide variety of threats. Because about 85 percent of the nation's critical infrastructure is privately owned, it is vital that public and private stakeholders work together to protect these assets. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for coordinating a national protection strategy and has promoted the formation of government and private councils for the 17 infrastructure sectors as a collaborating tool. The councils, among other things, are to identify their most critical assets, assess the risks they face, and identify protective measures in sector-specific plans that comply with DHS's National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP). This testimony is based primarily on GAO's July 2007 report on the sector-specific plans and the sector councils. Specifically, it addresses (1) the extent to which the sector-specific plans meet requirements, (2) the council members' views on the value of the plans and DHS's review process, and (3) the key success factors and challenges that the representatives encountered in establishing and maintaining their councils. In conducting the previous work, GAO reviewed 9 of the 17 draft plans and conducted interviews with government and private sector representatives of the 32 councils, 17 government and 15 private sector.
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