Infrastructure and Homeland Security

Security for a New Century was pleased to welcome Mr. David Gehr and
Mr. Paul F. Mlakar, members of the American Society of Civil Engineers
(ASCE), to lead a discussion on the findings of the ASCE 2009
Infrastructure Report Card.

Infrastructure is a key part of the nation’s homeland security, and
for that reason the ASCE Report makes for grim reading. ASCE examined
and graded the key aspects of America’s infrastructure, such as
bridges, road and rail, using criteria that included condition,
capacity and resilience. Overall, the ASCE awarded the US
infrastructure a grade ‘D’. Not a single aspect of the countries
infrastructure achieved a grade above a ‘C’. Overall, ASCE estimates it
would cost $2.2 trillion over the next 5 years to alleviate this

The ASCE used seven categories to evaluate the national
infrastructure: Condition; Capacity; Operation & Maintenance;
Funding; Future Need; Public Safety and Resilience. The aspects of
infrastructure that the Report examined were: Aviation

Bridges; Dams; Drinking Water; Energy; Hazardous Waste; Inland
Waterways; Levees; Public Parks & Recreation; Rail; Roads; Schools;
Solid Waste; Transit and Wastewater. Each of these aspects were graded
‘C or less – with some as low as a D minus.

In order to address these major failings, the ASCE has outlined 5
broad solutions – Increase federal leadership; Promote sustainability
& resilience; Develop national, regional and state infrastructure
plans; Address life-cycle costs and Increase & improve investment
from all stakeholders.

Of these solutions, the most important with regard to national
security is the promotion of resilience of our infrastructure to
withstand both natural and man-made hazards. ‘Resilience’ in this
instance refers to the capability of systems to protect against, or
indeed prevent, serious threats as well as the ability to recover
rapidly in the event of an attack or natural catastrophe. Events over
the last decade, from 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina, have proven how
important a resilient infrastructure is to national security and the
safety of US citizens.

For more information on the 2009 ASCE 2009 Infrastructure Report Card, follow this link:

Security for a New Century is a bipartisan study group for
Congress. We meet regularly with U.S. and international policy
professionals to discuss the post-Cold War and post-9/11 security
environment. All discussions are off-the-record. It is not an advocacy
venue. Please call (202) 223-5956 for more information.

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