Critical Infrastructure and Crisis Management

Publication Date


Document Type

Contribution to a Book


Political Science

Publication Title

Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance


Ali Farazmand




Modern societies are supported by a network of systems that provide the services essential to sustain human life, support socioeconomic activity, and provide security. While these systems provide high levels of convenience and quality of life, they also create vulnerabilities, since the established social order depends upon their functionality. Members of the society can plan for brief interruptions of these systems through stockpiling, temporary alternate modes of operation, or foregoing the related activities for short periods of time. However, longer-term loss of these systems can damage the society’s public health, economy, and security.
In most nations the critical infrastructure elements are mostly owned by the private sector: individuals, firms, and corporations. Governments may regulate service charges and delivery and may mandate a level of preparing for outages, but the private sector ultimately has to undertake the investment to make these actions possible. Explaining the value of these steps and the long-term return on investment (ROI) that they will generate is a challenge in growing economies and a losing proposition in times of economic downturn or in societies without increasing revenues to protect. The government’s goal for critical infrastructure is to develop a society “in which physical and cyber critical infrastructure remain secure and resilient, with vulnerabilities reduced, consequences minimized, threats identified and disrupted, and response and recovery hastened” (USDHS 2013, National Infrastructure Protection Program).


West Nile Virus, Critical Infrastructure, Global Supply Chain, Operational Security, Emergency Medical Service Personnel


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