Thank you. I am delighted to have you with us today.
I know that some of you have been seeing a lot of me lately in conjunction with activities related to the rollout of the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. I certainly want to thank all of you -- both those in government and those in the private sector -- who have contributed to this effort, including many of you for having traveled to Palo Alto to attend Wednesday’s event. In particular, I thank John Tritak, Nancy Wong, and others in the CIAO, who have been instrumental in the development of the National Strategy. It’s a real treat to work with John Tritak, and I have learned an enormous amount about critical infrastructure protection from him. I also want to thank Ken Watson, who has played such an important leadership role in presiding over this group and stimulating private sector efforts related to critical infrastructure security.
Over the last week and a half, we have been remembering and reflecting upon the events of September 11, 2001. A year ago, the terms "homeland security" and "critical infrastructure protection" were virtually unknown to the public. Today, these subjects are being openly and widely discussed in virtually every public forum -- from Capitol Hill to CNN to Oprah. And rightly so. Homeland security affects us much more personally and intimately than any other challenge to our national security, in large part because homeland security cannot work without significant participation by the public and private sectors.
This observation is nothing new to this group. Many of you are here from critical infrastructure companies and industry associations, and your participation speaks volumes about the commitment of the private sector to protecting our critical infrastructures. The Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security (PCIS) has long recognized the bedrock principle that partnership must be the foundation of any effective effort to secure the homeland. This principle was also a key theme of Wednesday’s public release of the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. The PCIS and many individual infrastructure sectors have devoted a significant amount of time and resources to the efforts to secure cyberspace and have, as I mentioned, played an important, contributory role in developing the National Strategy. Many doubted that industry and government could work together in a partnership, share information and expertise, and develop trust. While we have worked together, there is much more work to be done.
The National Strategy is but one part of the broader Homeland Security Strategy that the Administration published earlier this summer. It soon will be followed by the publication of a strategy to secure the physical aspects of our critical infrastructures. Ultimately, these efforts will be integrated into one single national plan for cyber and physical security.
Taken together, these Strategy documents perform a vital function. They communicate a framework within which public policy is debated, developed, and implemented. They also provide the means by which the respective roles and responsibilities of government, private industry, and the public are defined and clarified. But as important as these functions are, they are not self-executing.
The advantage of speaking to an informed and knowledgeable group such as yourselves is that I can dispense with further preliminaries and cut to the chase. The question I put to you is this: Now that the National Strategy is out, how can the PCIS continue to play a constructive role in advancing the strategic interests of homeland security? How can the PCIS continue to distinguish itself from the growing number of other organizations springing up to address these issues?
Let me be frank. It has been suggested to me by more than a few of you that there are too many private organizations and working groups involving the same people discussing the same issues. This is a serious charge. It implies that there is considerable duplication and diffusion of effort. Both are potentially fatal to organizations that must necessarily rely on people who have full-time day jobs and very limited budgets.
By design, the PCIS was established to avoid these problems. Its unique mission has been to focus on cross-sectoral issues arising from infrastructure interdependencies and to engage in value-added work on common issues that builds on -- rather than recreates -- work done by others. The challenge now is to identify specific public policy issues that have not been adequately addressed already and for which this group has the competence and the resources to add value. Success will be measured by the level of participation by members of multiple sectors in producing results, and the degree to which these results are adopted by each critical infrastructure sector. Participation and adoption reflects usefulness and relevance.
The PCIS is now considering a work plan that addresses a number of very important homeland security issues, including the security of digital control systems, the identification of best business practices from each of the infrastructure sectors, and the management of risks arising from infrastructure interdependencies. Your ability and willingness to carry out this very important and ambitious work plan will greatly distinguish this organization, especially if the work produced truly draws on the collective experience and expertise of the respective infrastructure communities.
Ultimately, the PCIS will succeed, not on the size the audience that attends its annual or semi-annual meetings or the quality of the briefings presented at those meetings, but on the sustained commitment and hard work that is done by its members between those meetings. Your dedication to, and hard work on, these issues over the course of the next year will fortify our resolve, strengthen our cooperation, and build a level of leadership by the private sector -- in conjunction with government officials -- in protecting our homeland and in sustaining confidence and engagement in our economy, despite the fact that terrorist attacks, inevitably, may hit their mark from time to time. We in government are confident that you in the PCIS will continue to distinguish yourselves by your leadership under Ken Watson and others, and by your continued outstanding work.