Infrastructure is the multi-billion dollar elephant in the room. At every level, the U.S. government struggles with how to repair, replace, and maintain our nation’s aging water and wastewater pipes, power lines, and roads. When compared alongside other advanced industrialized nations, our broadband infrastructure is lacking both locally and nationally. You’d have to be living under a rock to have missed the Flint, Mich., water crisis–but that is just the surface.
In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers released their Infrastructure Report Card for the nation, and the results were abysmal. By their estimation, the U.S. needs $3.6 trillion by 2020 to adequately address issues such as oil pipelines, hazardous waste, aging dams, and even school buildings.
Our country is staring down the barrel of a significant infrastructure crisis for two reasons: an infrastructure failure would not only inhibit daily life in the community it is meant to serve but also present a threat to national security.
When pundits and politicians speak about our degraded infrastructure, they rarely speak about it from a national security perspective. Conversely, when they speak about cybersecurity we rarely hear them talk about infrastructure. Did you know that much of our infrastructure is monitored in unmanned facilities with decades-old equipment and with human interface happening only over the internet? Did you know that an enterprising young hacker could disrupt services in communities nationwide with little more than the hacking tools easily found online?