From Water ISAC, the Water Security Network: Inside Water Security

November 2013

In this issue…

Hurricane Sandy: One Year Later

WaterISAC Participates in Cyber Storm IV “Evergreen” Exercise

Literature Review – Beyond the Storms: Strengthening Homeland Security and Disaster Management to Achieve Resilience by Dane S. Egli

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About WaterISAC

WaterISAC is a non-profit water sector organization that delivers security and preparedness resources and information to drinking water and wastewater professionals.  

Launched in 2002, WaterISAC is an integral part of water and wastewater utility security programs.

Through its Basic and Pro levels of service, WaterISAC provides thousands of drinking water and wastewater utilities and government personnel with timely, actionable information on emergency preparedness and response, in addition to resources on physical, cyber, insider and contamination threats.

The information e-mailed to subscribers and maintained on the secure portal comes from private, proprietary and government sources, plus open source material from around the world.

WaterISAC’s Monthly e-Newsletter

Hurricane Sandy: One Year Later

October 29, 2013 marked the one-year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy, also known as “Superstorm Sandy”, was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record with a diameter of over 1,000 miles. It struck the most densely populated area of the United States and directly impacted 24 states. Hurricane Sandy caused storm surges of up to 14 feet of water, closed the New York Stock Exchange for two days, and impacted global supply chains and travel. Second only to Hurricane Katrina in damage costs, it caused destruction and economic interruptions estimated at $66 billion. Tragically, it also took the lives of 285 people, including 73 in the U.S.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognized this milestone by releasing articles detailing the response and recovery efforts that have taken place as well as some of the lessons and best practices that have been captured. You can view articles about FEMA’s recovery efforts, new wastewater treatment utility disaster mitigation plans, how the private sector in New Jersey has engaged in recovery efforts, as well as read FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate’s testimony regarding on-going recovery activities. An additional article details how Monmouth County, New Jersey used lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy to develop and release an emergency response smartphone “app” to provide its residents with a quick and easy tool for accessing invaluable resources.

WaterISAC Participates in Cyber Storm IV “Evergreen” Exercise

In mid-November, WaterISAC joined with Federal, state, and local government partners, two water utilities in Washington State and others to conduct the “Evergreen” exercise. Part of the Cyber Storm IV series, Evergreen provided an opportunity for participants to observe and evaluate their responses to simulated cyber attacks. The exercise was sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC).

Evergreen began with internal discovery of the attacks and escalated to national information sharing and incident management. Players responded to the incidents as they would in a real-world situation, reaching out to other players and implementing response plans.

WaterISAC and its partners capped off the exercise by participating in a “hotwash” to capture initial impressions and potential lessons learned. Exercises are an important means for any organization to evaluate its capabilities and develop and foster partnerships, and WaterISAC will examine the takeaways from Cyber Storm IV Evergreen to continue to grow and to improve the efficacy of its products and services.

Literature Review – Beyond the Storms: Strengthening Homeland Security and Disaster Management to Achieve Resilience by Dane S. Egli

Dane S. Egli is a national security senior advisor at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and a retired career United States Coast Guard officer who served on the White House National Security Council staff from 2004 to 2006 as a director for counterterrorism and as a President’s advisor on hostages and global counternarcotics. His recently released book, Beyond the Storms: Strengthening Homeland Security and Disaster Management to Achieve Resilience, is a culminating work that draws from experiences in his past positions and from research and information acquired from numerous case studies and interviews with homeland security and emergency management professionals.

In Beyond the Storms, Egli builds a case for a culture of resilience by asserting a new focus on interagency collaboration, public-private partnerships, and collective action. He places urgency in his calls by asserting that trends indicate storms and natural disasters will grow increasingly frequent and destructive and that terrorist elements will remain intent on attacking U.S. interests. Egli also notes that the United States is at a critical juncture in that many infrastructures are aging or failing and current efforts to address these challenges are insufficient.

The author provides useful backgrounds of the past and current states of the critical infrastructure community in the course of presenting his findings and recommendations. He also invokes analyses and lessons learned from numerous case studies, including the September 11, 2001 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the 2011 Japanese earthquake and Fukashima disaster, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and Superstorm Sandy. These accounts help to provide a better understanding of the current state of security to advance national-level policies in support of critical infrastructure resilience in the face of inevitable disasters. Read more.

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