CIPP - Critical InfraStructure Protection Priorities

By John G. Voeller, P.E.

In June of 2002, Black & Veatch was asked to become involved in Homeland Security in a different manner than its early efforts were directed. Early efforts such as those of BV Special Projects and Americas Water involved assessments of overall security and vulnerability of infrastructure in the water environment as well as BVSPC long time efforts in support of defense facility security and its bolstering. However, B&V has also become nation's infrastructure and its
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aggressive concern for knowledge management which is one of the involved in several other industry lead initiatives. In each of these, B&V was asked to lead efforts because of its tremendous base of knowledge concerning the key concerns in all that one must do to aggregate experts and knowledge to anticipate, meet, mitigate and rebuild any situation involving terrorist threat. The following describes these three initiatives and provides a picture of how all of our business units may become involved in future efforts like these.

A workshop on Critical Infrastructure Protection Priorities sponsored by a diverse group of associations and agencies was hosted by the Executive Office of the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), on September 23 - 24, 2002. Over 90 senior industry leaders and government officials came to exchange facts and information on the security of the built environment. They worked to address key topics of concern, raised in publications such as Making the Nation Safer, by the National Research Council (NRC).

Dr. John H. Marburger, III, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and Science Advisor to the President, delivered the keynote address and emphasized the need for the workshop dialogue among industry executives. He also described steps the Administration is taking to create the Department of Homeland Security. Four other keynote speakers specifically addressed the workshop focus areas of Research and Development Needs, Codes and Standards Challenges, Risk Analysis, and Application of New Technologies. The speakers were, respectively, Dr. Larry Papay, Sector Vice President for the Integrated Solutions Sector at SAIC, Dorothy Harris, Assistant Secretary of State for New York State, J. Robert Sims, Engineering Associate with Bechtel Engineering, and John Voeller, Senior Vice President, Chief Knowledge Officer, and Chief Technology Officer for Black and Veatch.

The attendees represented a broad cross-section of industry including engineers, designers, builders, researchers, facility owners, codes and standards developers, and members of the financial community. Participants developed seventeen recommended program initiatives to fill the gaps and needs identified during the first day of the workshop. The proposed programs were then ranked to develop a prioritized list of steps that could be taken by the industry to address new security challenges. The following four prospectuses ranked as top priorities:

Guidance on Risk Assessment

Guidance documents, tools, and methods need to be developed to provide consistent, integrated, and objective guidance on the application of risk analysis/assessment. This guidance would include approaches for including vulnerability assessment for use at all levels, global screening to set priorities, qualitative analyses by industry sector and type of threat, and detailed analyses to justify individual actions.

Recommended Practices For Addressing Terrorist Threats For Buildings

Performance-based recommended practices for vulnerability assessment and mitigation for new and existing buildings must be developed to provide cost-effective, standardized, and verified alternative approaches for facility owners, builders, and designers. These practices should offer flexibility to adapt protection from terrorist threats throughout the life of the buildings.

Facility Knowledge Systems For First Responders

Knowledge management and decision support systems, using real-time information, need to be provided to maximize effectiveness of first response to man-made attacks or natural disasters. Such systems would save lives, minimize facility damage, and mitigate overall consequences. The systems should be integrated with handheld PDA-accessibility for rapid emergency decisions using information from the building itself, and could provide day-to-day knowledge for normal building operations.

Develop And Implement A Collaborative Infrastructure Security Matrix

The current lack of coordination of information regarding infrastructure security can be addressed by developing a web-based information matrix. The matrix would be designed to identify knowledge areas, technologies, and subject matter experts, and to make the information accessible to designers, builders, owners, and first responders. Ideally, the matrix would be Internet-based with provision of applicable references, criteria, and design guidelines including lessons learned and sources of training.

Other prospectus topics included:

  • National Policy On Risk Assessment For Homeland Security
  • Building Systems Catastrophic Avoidance & Mitigation
  • Mechanisms For Integrating Monitoring and Response Systems
  • Mechanism For Rapidly Developing and Commercializing Viable Products and Projects
  • Develop Immune and Responsive Building Concepts
  • Overcoming Legal Barriers with Respect to Information Disclosure and Product Liability
  • Building Owner and Occupant Education and Training for Response to Terrorism
  • Accountability for Safe Building Performance
  • Alternative Building Regulatory Strategies for Homeland Security
  • Make Retrofits Affordable and Lower Financial and Insurance Barriers
  • Risk Communication and Education
  • Risk Analysis Data Needs and Availability
  • Establish a Formal, Collaborative Government and Private Partnership for Conducting Risk Assessments

The prospectuses were developed in breakout sessions corresponding to the four workshop focus area topics:

  • The Research and Development Needs group was designed to define needed research in a focused framework to speed response from the R&D community, generate necessary partnerships, and identify appropriate resources to proceed.
  • The Codes and Standards Challenges group addressed Recommendation 19 from the NRC study, which calls for "expeditious means for integrating performance standards with building codes" for technologies resisting blasts, impacts, and fire. Its goal was to identify specific ways to create beneficial change in the system of codes and standards that would allow for the accelerated introduction of innovations for multi-hazard protection based on building vulnerability assessments.
  • The Risk Analysis group focused on issues raised by Recommendations 19 and 20 of the NRC study, which advocate the use of probabilistic risk assessment for quantifying performance and ranking, as well as prioritization of investment and resources. The group worked on ways to integrate risk analysis into standard public policy and programming decisions.
  • Finally, the Application of New Technologies group examined the potential for innovation that could address specific vulnerabilities, whether adapting new technologies and practices or taking new approaches to building design and construction.

The sponsoring organizations included the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Civil Engineering Research Foundation/International Institute for Energy Conservation (CERF/IIEC), the National Science and Technology Council's Construction and Building Subcommittee, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Veterans Administration (VA), the General Services Administration (GSA), with assistance from the Construction Industry Institute (CII) and The Infrastructure Security Partnership (TISP).

This workshop represents a milestone in collaboration and cooperation within the building and construction industry, and could lead to more specific collaboration as industry works to help implement the recommendations. As a result of the enthusiastic response from attendees, preliminary consideration is being given for up to three more workshops in the Critical Infrastructure Protection Priorities series dealing with topics such as energy and power, water systems, and transportation.

CAPI - Critical Asset Protection Initiative

The next major effort involving B&V was the offer to chair the ASME effort known as Critical Asset Protection Initiative. The structure of this group is shown on the organizational chart below. I was asked to chair this group along with Bernie Meyers, head of Bechtel's Hazardous Materials business. However, he is tied up in Europe with NATO and cannot participate for at least a year.

CAPI Charter

As a premier technical organization, ASME International has a responsibility to be at the forefront of organizing and mobilizing mechanical engineering expertise to respond quickly to terrorist attacks. The Critical Assets Protection Initiative (CAPI) will coordinate the ASME effort on multiple fronts, including:

  • Through coordination with jurisdictional federal agencies, the Steering Committee will identify threat areas where ASME has specific content expertise. Teams of experts in the threat areas will be established that could be mobilized on short notice to provide technology-based assistance to Federal, State and local emergency response agencies. Areas to be addressed will include:
  • 1. Pipelines
    2. Power Generation (fossil)
    3. Refining and chemical
    4. Mechanical Building Systems
    5. Nuclear Facilities
    6. Biological/pharmaceutical
    7. Transportation
    8. Risk Analysis
  • The Steering Committee and staff will seek to establish relationships with key federal agencies (i.e. NIST, DoE, DoD, FEMA, etc.) and the Office of Homeland Security to facilitate the utilization and deployment of ASME teams.
  • The Steering Committee will identify funding needs of the initiative and will provide guidance for all funding requests, both internal and external to ASME.
  • The Steering Committee will support efforts of ASME Codes and Standards to work with NIST and other federal agencies to identify design and code challenges brought on by the issues directly related to homeland security.
  • The Steering Committee, working in conjunction with the Industry Advisory Board and the Council on Engineering, will explore ways ASME can identify emerging technologies to meet the infrastructure needs of the country. In addition, through collaboration with the ASME Inter-Council Committee on Research and Development, the Steering Committee will inform policymakers about the emerging technologies and associated R&D funding needs.
  • The Steering Committee and associated teams will assist in the identification of education needs for engineers relative to enhancing homeland security.

The steering committee and associated teams will operate under the auspices of the Council on Public Affairs, with support from the ASME Industry Advisory Board. Staff support for this initiative will be provided by public affairs.

TISP - The Infrastructure Security Partnership
Infrastructure Security for the Built Environment (ISBE)

The third effort involving B&V and knowledge management is the TISP effort which involves over 140 organizations. The website for the group is These are not companies, but groups like ASME, CERF, etc. The group recently held a four day conference with dozens of speakers and we were asked to run the session on Sharing Knowledge in Sensitive Situations, the subject of our last article. We had the CKO from Fluor, CDM and SAIC as well as Jim Baird of BVSG to discuss attack scenarios. The results were exceptional as over half of the 700 attendees to the conference attended our session even though there were four tracks available.

This group is fostering a variety of communications and discussions and will continue to provide forums for interaction between agencies and industry. However, its diverse make-up and large size will likely cause it to continue to be more informal than the more focused efforts like CAPI.

Overall, these three areas are focused on many issues, but all understand that identifying, preparing and dispatching the right expertise in the right situation with the right support knowledge is critical to all homeland security efforts. A miniature model of this is needed inside B&V to support our clients in the same manner.

About the Author: John G. Voeller, P.E., is Senior Vice President, Chief Knowledge Officer, and Chief Technology Officer of Black & Veatch, an international engineering firm. Mr. Voeller can be reached at

©  Copyright 2007, The Construction Sciences Research Foundation, Inc. Updated March 5, 2005.
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