The nation's health, wealth, and security rely on the supply and distribution of certain goods and services. The array of physical assets, processes and organizations across which these goods and services move are called critical infrastructures. Computers and communications, themselves critical infrastructures, are increasingly tying these infrastructures together. There is concern that this reliance on computers and computer networks makes the nation's critical infrastructures vulnerable to "cyber" attacks, be they from mischievous teenage hackers or information warriors from foreign countries. In May 1998, the President released Presidential Decision Directive No. 63. The Directive organizes the federal government to develop and implement plans that would protect government-operated infrastructures and calls for a dialogue between government and the private sector to develop a National Infrastructure Assurance Plan that would protect the nation's critical infrastructures by the year 2003.
CRS Report for Congress, 98-675