Critical Infrastructures: Background and Early Implementation of PDD-63 [Updated June 19, 2001] [open pdf - 129KB]
"The nations 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 (e.g. electricity, the power plants that generate it, and the electric grid upon which it is distributed or financial capital, the institutions that manage it, and the record- keeping and communications that move it from one institution to another). 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 nations critical infrastructures vulnerable to 'cyber' attacks. In May 1998, President Clinton released Presidential Decision Directive No. 63. The Directive sets up groups within 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 nations critical infrastructures by the year 2003. PDD-63 identified 12 areas critical to the functioning of the country: information and communications; banking and finance; water supply; transportation; emergency law enforcement; emergency fire service; emergency medicine; electric power, oil, and gas supply and distribution; law enforcement and internal security; intelligence; foreign affairs; and national defense."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30153
U.S. Department of State: http://fpc.state.gov/