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Homeland Security 5 Year Anniversary 2003 - 2008, One Team, One Mission Securing the Homeland

Homeland Security Components

Critical Infrastructure Sector Partnership

Sector Partnership Background

Critical infrastructure protection is a shared responsibility among federal, state, local, and tribal governments and the owners and operators of the nation's critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR). Partnership between the public and private sectors is essential, in part because the private sector owns and operates approximately 85% of the nation's critical infrastructure, government agencies have access to critical threat information, and each controls security programs, research and development, and other resources that may be more effective if discussed and shared, as appropriate, in a partnership setting.

Sector Partnership Structure

Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD-7) and the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) provide the overarching framework for a structured partnership between government and the private sector for protection of CIKR. This sector partnership structure encourages formation of Sector Coordinating Councils (SCCs) and Government Coordinating Councils (GCCs) as described below.

Sector Coordinating Councils (SCC)

SCCs foster and facilitate the coordination of sector-wide activities and initiatives designed to improve the security of the nation's critical infrastructure.  They are self-organized, self-led, broadly representative of owners and operators (and their associations) within the sector, and are focused on homeland security and critical infrastructure protection. The Department has a strong preference that each SCC be chaired by an owner and/or operator. Government agencies may suggest the inclusion of various parts of a sector but it is the responsibility of each SCC to identify the sector's boundaries, establish the criteria for membership, seek broad participation and representation of the diversity of the sector, and, establish the governance, business case, and work processes of the sector's SCC.

Government Coordinating Councils (GCC)

The GCC brings together diverse federal, state, local and tribal interests to identify and develop collaborative strategies that advance critical infrastructure protection. GCCs serve as a counterpart to the SCC for each critical infrastructure and key resource sector. They provide interagency coordination around CIKR strategies and activities, policy and communication across government, and between government and the sector to support the nation's homeland security mission. GCCs coordinate with and support the efforts of SCCs to plan, implement and execute sufficient and necessary sector-wide security to support the CIKR sector. GCCs can leverage complementary resources within government and between government and CIKR owners and operators.

Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC)

The Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC) provides the operational mechanism for carrying out the sector partnership structure. The CIPAC provides the framework for owner and operator members of Sector Coordinating Councils (SCC) and members of Government Coordinating Councils (GCC) to engage in intra-government and public-private cooperation, information sharing, and engagement across the entire range of critical infrastructure protection activities.

Successful execution of the sector partnership structure requires an environment in which members of the SCCs and GCCs can interact freely and share sensitive information and advice about threats, vulnerabilities, protective measures, and lessons learned. CIPAC, which has been exempted from the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), is the mechanism to allow meaningful dialogue on key critical infrastructure protection issues and agreement on mutual action between government and owner/operator entities.

CIPAC is a non-decisional body and includes sector members and government members. Sector members are the members of that sector's SCC that are owners and/or operators and the trade associations that represent them. Government members are the federal, state, local, and tribal government agencies (or their representative bodies) that comprise the GCC for each sector. The most current CIPAC membership list and further information is maintained on the internet and can be found on the Department's CIPAC website. 

As portrayed in the diagram, CIPAC consists of "Joint Sector Committees" that are made up of the GCC members and eligible SCC members for each sector. For example, there is a Food and Agriculture Joint Sector Committee made up of Food and Agriculture GCC and SCC members. The CIPAC also includes one Joint Cross-Sector Committee, most likely to consist of the designated private sector and agency leads from each Joint Sector Committee.

This page was last reviewed/modified on October 6, 2008.