Securing Critical Infrastructure: A Comprehensive Analysis of the U.S. Chemical Sector

Published: 2023-11-12
Securing Critical Infrastructure: A Comprehensive Analysis of the U.S. Chemical Sector
Essay type:  Analytical essays
Categories:  United States Chemistry Security
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1546 words
13 min read


In the understanding of the critical infrastructures in the United States, the private sector is mainly responsible for owning and managing a significant number averaging over eighty-five percent. A total of sixteen critical infrastructure sectors whose networks, systems, and assets, either virtual or physical, are considered to be essential to the nation. For instance, the destruction or incapacitation of critical infrastructure in the United States would result in devastating effects on national economic security, national security, or effects on public safety or health, or a combination of all (Critical Infrastructure Sector, 2020). Effective maintenance of the critical infrastructure is mainly associated with the private sector. The initiation of Policy Directive 21 initiates advancements of the national policies established to strengthen and maintain a functioning, secure, and resilient critical infrastructure. Therefore, this paper evaluates the chemical sector as the selected critical infrastructure.

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Chemical Sector Overview

The chemical sector is the identified critical infrastructure for the critical infrastructure and private sector evaluation. The chemical sector is identified as the essential component of the nation's economy that stores, manufactures, and transports. It uses potentially hazardous chemicals that dictate a significant operation of the other critical infrastructure sectors. Securing hazardous chemicals from developing and advancing threats needs a vigilant reaction from both the public and private sectors (Chemical Sector, 2020). A specific department, The Chemical Sector-Specific Agency within the Department of Homeland Security as identified in the President Policy Directive 21 leads the partnership between the public and private sectors as well as encourages a proper collaboration with companies in developing resources and tools enhancing the resilience and security sectors within the department.

The chemical sector within the United States is identified as one of the significant parts of the critical infrastructure is made up of various chemical facilities in a complicated global supply chain that is applied in converting different raw materials into various useful products applied in modern life practices (Chemical Sector-Specific Plan, 2015). The chemical sector is further divided into different main segments depending on specific characteristics, dynamics, new developments, markets, and issues. For instance, some of the segments realized include; basic chemicals, agriculture chemicals, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and specialty chemicals.

The private sector mainly owns the majority of the facilities in the chemical sector. Therefore, the chemical sector-specific agency is established to work in the chemical industry along with the private sector to attain the objectives such as setting goals and objectives, identifying the assets, assessing the security within the chemical facility, and implementing the protective programs.

Primary Areas of Risks and How They Are Addressed

The initiation of the Chemical Sector-Specific Plan is essential since it contains the details of how the National Infrastructure Protection Plan has relayed the proper risk management framework to be implemented within the unique characteristics of the sector and its risk landscapes (DiCosmos, 2016). Every chemical sector-specific agency implies the sector's specific plan through coordinated efforts that involve the partners within the private and public sectors (Chemical Sector-Specific Plan, 2015). The chemical sector relies on the effectiveness of Homeland Security as the sector-specific agency.

Forming parts of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan involves the partnerships between the private and public sectors in all the other sixteen critical infrastructure sectors and the local, state, and tribal government communities. The developed partnerships focus on the unique operation of the risk landscape and conditions within the chemical sector (Critical Infrastructure Sector, 2020). The sector-specific plan is initiated with close collaborations between the public and private sectors. It is updated after four years to ensure that every sector adjusts to the ever-evolving risk landscape in the chemical sector.

For instance, the Sector-specific Plans were effective in establishing priorities and goals in the chemical sector to address the current risk environment. In the Chemical Sector, some of the significant risks include insider threats, cyber threats, natural disasters, extreme weather, deliberate attacks and terrorism, and biohazards and pandemics. Insider Threats include the physical and cybersecurity systems within the sector that are significantly applied in preventing damage from outside threats (Chemical Sector-Specific Plan, 2015). However, insider threats have the potentiality of the insider who has access to the unintentional or intentional cause of harm to the chemical sector. Therefore, the chemical sector continuously hires third parties as temporary contractors for the specialized expertise and experiences to ensure more security measure is taken to prevent potential risks when engaging in the chemical sector.

Cyber threats include the installation of various cyber systems within the chemical sector including both the large international secure networks and other industrial control systems that face various cyber risks that might include deliberate attacks initiated by man, human errors, technological failures, and vulnerabilities within the supply chain. When the established systems are disrupted, they might result in chemical diversion, theft, and release (Chemical Sector-Specific Plan, 2015). Therefore, the cyber threats in the chemical sector are managed effectively through updating a small portion of the ICSs on third-party devices and other internet-accessible systems that expose the assets of the chemical sectors to additional threats from remote attacks.

Extreme weather and natural disasters show the conditions where all the virtual facilities are susceptible to extreme weather and natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, and floods. The events of extreme weather and natural disasters have increased with the economic effects associated with the chemical sector effects as they might result in adverse effects on the operations of facilities (Hatton et al., 2018). Therefore, natural disasters and extreme weather risks in the chemical sector are managed effectively by initiating applicable policies for the proper storage of the chemicals and also creating proper directives to manage natural disasters and extreme weather effects.

Enhancement by Private Sectors

The private has initiated some sensitive enhancements in the general abilities applied to provide vital services when facing the threats and risks in the chemical sector. The private sector collaborates in developing a significant number of programs to enhance the reliance and security of the chemical sector (Fugile et al., 2018). For instance, the private sector has initiated some programs such as the chemical sector security summit which is a networking and educational event sponsored by the chemical SCC, and DHS which is a private sector agency (Limba et al., 2019). Significant groups attend every year made up of the top-level officials from the government and also a large population of private sector leaders. The summit is initiated by the private sector to discuss the elements in the chemical sector where the representatives share and exchange information, share best lessons and practices learned, and also network with other security professionals in the chemical security regulations and gain insight into the roles of the state as well as the role of the private sector that is needed in successful applications to ensure the success of the chemical sector in the United States (Lewis, 2019). The private sector also facilitates the summits to offer free educational training and workshops on various security-related topics, the safety of chemical materials on theft, and resilience in the supply chain effects.

Continuity Planning Initiatives by the Private Sector

The private sector has increasingly reacted to the factors in the chemical sectors by initiating other continuity planning initiatives such as establishing training seminars and exercises and general information-sharing initiatives. The International Information-Sharing Initiatives describes the conditions where the office of DHS in infrastructure protection and the FBI are active officials in the nation's delegation to the G7 Global Partnership in the Chemical Security Sub-working group initiated to improve coordination of factors associated with the non-proliferation in the chemical security sector and assistance events within the state of global partnerships within the chemical industry (Radvanosky & McDougall, 2018). Also, the initiation of the Training seminars and exercises relates to the IP developing the no-cost series of security awareness courses based on the six-web used in training and educating a broad range of individuals, including managers in the private sector. The other critical infrastructure sectors and the general public also have an idea of the actual operations within the chemical sector (Baggett & Simpkins, 2018). The courses are applicable in guiding the most effective ways for preparing and preventing potential shooter incidents on the actions against insider threats to critical infrastructures.


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Chemical Sector-Specific Plan. (2015). Chemical Sector-Specific Plan: An Annex to the NIPP 2013. Homeland Security.

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DiCosmo, B. (2016). Chemical Sector Sees Immediate Business Effects from TSCA Reform Law. Inside EPA's Risk Policy Report, 23(29), 1-8.

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Securing Critical Infrastructure: A Comprehensive Analysis of the U.S. Chemical Sector. (2023, Nov 12). Retrieved from

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