Critical Infrastructure: The National Asset Database [Updated July 16, 2007]   [open pdf - 134KB]

"The Office of Infrastructure Protection (OIP) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been developing and maintaining a National Asset Database. The Database contains information on over 77,000 individual assets, ranging from dams, hazardous materials sites, and nuclear power plants to local festivals, petting zoos, and sporting good stores. The presence of a large number of entries of the latter type (i.e. assets generally perceived as having more local importance than national importance) has attracted much criticism from the press and from Members of Congress. Many critics of the Database have assumed that it is (or should be) DHS's list of the nation's most critical assets and are concerned that, in its current form, it is being used inappropriately as the basis upon which federal resources, including infrastructure protection grants, are allocated. According to DHS, both of those assumptions are wrong. DHS characterizes the National Asset Database not as a list of critical assets, but rather as a national asset inventory providing the 'universe' from which various lists of critical assets are produced. As such, the Department maintains that it represents just the first step in DHS's risk management process outlined in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. DHS has developed, apparently from the National Asset Database, a list of about 600 assets that it has determined are critical to the nation. Also, while the National Asset Database has been used to support federal grant-making decisions, according to a DHS official, it does not drive those decisions."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33648
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