Skip to Highlights

The nation's critical infrastructure sectors--such as public health, energy, water, and transportation--rely on computerized information and systems to provide services to the public. To fulfill the requirement for a comprehensive plan, including cyber aspects, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a national plan in June 2006 for the sectors to use as a road map to enhance the protection of critical infrastructure. Lead federal agencies, referred to as sector-specific agencies, are responsible for coordinating critical infrastructure protection efforts, such as the development of plans that are specific to each sector. In this context, GAO was asked to determine if these sector-specific plans address key aspects of cyber security, including cyber assets, key vulnerabilities, vulnerability reduction efforts, and recovery plans. To accomplish this, GAO analyzed each sector-specific plan against criteria that were developed on the basis of DHS guidance.

Skip to Recommendations


Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Homeland Security To assist the sectors in securing their cyber infrastructure, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection and the Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications to request that by September 2008, the sector-specific agencies' plans address the cyber-related criteria that were only partially addressed or not addressed at all.
Closed - Implemented
In response, DHS developed a corrective action plan (dated February 4, 2008) to implement this recommendation. The plan stated that the department is to (1) develop and provide to the sector-specific agencies guidance on the cyber elements to be incorporated in sector plans and (2) work with the sectors to achieve this aim. Specifically, the plan tasked DHS's National Cyber Security Division with developing guidance on the cyber elements to be included in updated sector specific plans and annual reports. As part of carrying out these efforts, DHS notified the sector-specific agencies of the cyber planning weaknesses identified in the GAO report and requested that the agencies address them by September 2008. DHS also offered to meet with the agencies to discuss and assist in addressing missing cyber elements and related issues. Further, in 2009, DHS released guidance that requested the agencies to fully address cyber-related elements as part of updating their sector specific plans.

Full Report