WASHINGTON, D.C.—The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, raised the nation’s awareness of the potential vulnerability of our critical infrastructure and key resources, and of the need for a unified and coordinated approach to their protection. Uninterrupted operation of basic services such as energy, communications, water, and transportation, and unbroken access to other goods and services used on a daily basis are essential to America’s security, safety, economic vitality, and way of life.

Civil and structural engineers are key players in an industry whose facilities and systems are potentially at risk in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Infrastructure Protection recently announced the availability of a new, web-based infrastructure protection training program.

Introduction to the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) is a web-based course developed jointly by the DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute. It provides an orientation regarding the key concepts of the NIPP and is designed to meet the training needs of a wide range of government and private sector security partners involved in implementing infrastructure protection programs.

The course addresses the importance of protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources, and provides an overview of many of the key concepts of the NIPP, including the risk management framework, the partnership model designed to facilitate coordination and cooperation between infrastructure owners and operators and the government, the networked approach to information-sharing, and the new risk-based approach to resource allocation. It describes the 17 sector-specific plans that address the particular needs of each sector, including the Dam Sector, and it underscores the opportunities and benefits of participation.

The course is available free of charge and may be accessed through the EMI Independent Study website at https://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/crslist.asp (select course number IS-860). The course can be taken for certificate credit or for information purposes only.

Additional information on the NIPP and other efforts to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure is available at www.dhs.gov/nipp.