Research Initiative: Assessing Climate Competencies in Critical Infrastructure Sectors
Understanding and protecting our national infrastructure requires understanding each critical infrastructure sector’s specific functions and needs in the context of the envirophysical factors that can impact them. It is also critical to ensure proper workforce training to design and implement resilience and adaptive planning strategies across these sectors.
Continued power outages and lack of access to clean water continued to plague Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands a month after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria, gas prices spiked nationally after Hurricane Harvey left Houston’s oil refineries offline for weeks, hundreds of thousands of acres of agricultural land burned in Northern California due to several intense wildfires and strong winds, leaving behind scorched orchards and vineyards that will take years to regrow, and strong storms and winds from Tropical Strom Phillippe left 1 million customers without power across the northeast.
ACCO has been contracted by the National Institute for Hometown Security (NIHS), on behalf of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to assess the workforce’s capacity to effectively engage in preparedness of 5 critical infrastructure sectors in 4 distinct regions of the country.
Overview of Sectors Selected for this Project:
DHS identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors essential to the nation’s security and prosperity. For this assessment, ACCO will assess five sectors based on two factors; their susceptibility to envirophysical risks, and conversely, the need for these sectors to remain functional during and immediately after envirophysical events. The sectors selected for this project are:
- Food & Agriculture,
- Water & Wastewater,
- Communications, and
- Emergency Services.
Overview of Regions Selected:
To ensure that the project incorporates a representative and diverse set of geographic inputs, ACCO will focus on Colorado, Maryland, Southeastern Florida, and the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Each region has been chosen due to factors including:
- A cross section of critical infrastructure sectors chosen for the analysis,
- Susceptibility to various, continued and increasing envirophysical risks,
- Density of ACCO’s existing non-Federal relationships that can be leveraged for this project,
- Volume and diversity of extreme events impacting the regions in recent years,
- Economic significance, and
- Breadth of Federal agency operations and mission interests.