What is Considered “Critical Infrastructure” & Eligible for a National Interest Exception to Travel Bans?
There are currently four Presidential Proclamations suspending entry into the United States of noncitizens physically present in any of 33 affected countries. However, the Secretary of State has determined that it is in the national interest to allow entry to certain travelers providing executive direction or vital support for critical infrastructure sectors or directly linked supply chains. These 16 critical infrastructure sectors are outlined on the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) website.
From CISA: Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19
There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof. Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21): PPD-21 identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors.
The Chemical Sector is an integral component of the U.S. economy that manufactures, stores, uses, and transports potentially dangerous chemicals upon which a wide range of other critical infrastructure sectors rely. Securing these chemicals against growing and evolving threats requires vigilance from both the private and public sector.
The Commercial Facilities Sector includes a diverse range of sites that draw large crowds of people for shopping, business, entertainment, or lodging. Facilities within the sector operate on the principle of open public access, meaning that the general public can move freely without the deterrent of highly visible security barriers. The majority of these facilities are privately owned and operated, with minimal interaction with the federal government and other regulatory entities.
The Communications Sector is an integral component of the U.S. economy, underlying the operations of all businesses, public safety organizations, and government. Presidential Policy Directive 21 identifies the Communications Sector as critical because it provides an “enabling function” across all critical infrastructure sectors. Over the last 25 years, the sector has evolved from predominantly a provider of voice services into a diverse, competitive, and interconnected industry using terrestrial, satellite, and wireless transmission systems. The transmission of these services has become interconnected; satellite, wireless, and wireline providers depend on each other to carry and terminate their traffic and companies routinely share facilities and technology to ensure interoperability.
The Critical Manufacturing Sector is crucial to the economic prosperity and continuity of the United States. A direct attack on or disruption of certain elements of the manufacturing industry could disrupt essential functions at the national level and across multiple critical infrastructure sectors.
The Dams Sector delivers critical water retention and control services in the United States, including hydroelectric power generation, municipal and industrial water supplies, agricultural irrigation, sediment and flood control, river navigation for inland bulk shipping, industrial waste management, and recreation. Its key services support multiple critical infrastructure sectors and industries. Dams Sector assets irrigate at least 10 percent of U.S. cropland, help protect more than 43 percent of the U.S. population from flooding, and generate about 60 percent of electricity in the Pacific Northwest.
The Defense Industrial Base Sector is the worldwide industrial complex that enables research and development, as well as design, production, delivery, and maintenance of military weapons systems, subsystems, and components or parts, to meet U.S. military requirements. The Defense Industrial Base partnership consists of Department of Defense components, more than 100,000 Defense Industrial Base companies and their subcontractors who perform under contract to the Department of Defense, companies providing incidental materials and services to the Department of Defense, and government-owned/contractor-operated and government-owned/government-operated facilities. Defense Industrial Base companies include domestic and foreign entities, with production assets located in many countries. The sector provides products and services that are essential to mobilize, deploy, and sustain military operations.
The Emergency Services Sector (ESS) is a community of millions of highly-skilled, trained personnel, along with the physical and cyber resources, that provide a wide range of prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery services during both day-to-day operations and incident response. The ESS includes geographically distributed facilities and equipment in both paid and volunteer capacities organized primarily at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels of government, such as city police departments and fire stations, county sheriff’s offices, Department of Defense police and fire departments, and town public works departments. The ESS also includes private sector resources, such as industrial fire departments, private security organizations, and private emergency medical services providers.
The U.S. energy infrastructure fuels the economy of the 21st century. Without a stable energy supply, health and welfare are threatened, and the U.S. economy cannot function. Presidential Policy Directive 21 identifies the Energy Sector as uniquely critical because it provides an “enabling function” across all critical infrastructure sectors. More than 80 percent of the country’s energy infrastructure is owned by the private sector, supplying fuels to the transportation industry, electricity to households and businesses, and other sources of energy that are integral to growth and production across the nation.
The Financial Services Sector represents a vital component of our nation’s critical infrastructure. Large-scale power outages, recent natural disasters, and an increase in the number and sophistication of cyberattacks demonstrate the wide range of potential risks facing the sector.
The Food and Agriculture Sector is almost entirely under private ownership and is composed of an estimated 2.1 million farms, 935,000 restaurants, and more than 200,000 registered food manufacturing, processing, and storage facilities. This sector accounts for roughly one-fifth of the nation’s economic activity.
The Government Facilities Sector includes a wide variety of buildings, located in the United States and overseas, that are owned or leased by federal, state, local, and tribal governments. Many government facilities are open to the public for business activities, commercial transactions, or recreational activities while others that are not open to the public contain highly sensitive information, materials, processes, and equipment. These facilities include general-use office buildings and special-use military installations, embassies, courthouses, national laboratories, and structures that may house critical equipment, systems, networks, and functions. In addition to physical structures, the sector includes cyber elements that contribute to the protection of sector assets (e.g., access control systems and closed-circuit television systems) as well as individuals who perform essential functions or possess tactical, operational, or strategic knowledge.
The Healthcare and Public Health Sector protects all sectors of the economy from hazards such as terrorism, infectious disease outbreaks, and natural disasters. Because the vast majority of the sector’s assets are privately owned and operated, collaboration and information sharing between the public and private sectors is essential to increasing resilience of the nation’s Healthcare and Public Health critical infrastructure. Operating in all U.S. states, territories, and tribal areas, the sector plays a significant role in response and recovery across all other sectors in the event of a natural or manmade disaster. While healthcare tends to be delivered and managed locally, the public health component of the sector, focused primarily on population health, is managed across all levels of government: national, state, regional, local, tribal, and territorial.
The Information Technology Sector is central to the nation’s security, economy, and public health and safety as businesses, governments, academia, and private citizens are increasingly dependent upon Information Technology Sector functions. These virtual and distributed functions produce and provide hardware, software, and information technology systems and services, and—in collaboration with the Communications Sector—the Internet. The sector’s complex and dynamic environment makes identifying threats and assessing vulnerabilities difficult and requires that these tasks be addressed in a collaborative and creative fashion.
From the power reactors that provide electricity to millions of Americans, to the medical isotopes used to treat cancer patients, the Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector covers most aspects of America’s civilian nuclear infrastructure. The Nuclear Sector Risk Management Agency within the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for coordinating the security and resilience of the Nuclear Sector.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation are designated as the Co-Sector Risk Management Agencies for the Transportation Systems Sector. The nation’s transportation system quickly, safely, and securely moves people and goods through the country and overseas.
Safe drinking water is a prerequisite for protecting public health and all human activity. Properly treated wastewater is vital for preventing disease and protecting the environment. Thus, ensuring the supply of drinking water and wastewater treatment and service is essential to modern life and the Nation’s economy.
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