– Executive Summary –

Critical infrastructure (CI) comprises the assets and networks that assist in energy, health, defense, transportation, and other areas to promote an interconnected network of utilities and services. These assets must be monitored and improved in a prioritized manner to ensure proper working order and appropriate use of tax revenue designated to maintain those assets. This thesis explores implementation of a proven accountability system into the discipline of critical infrastructure to ensure communication, collaboration, and prioritization.

The CI discussed in this report is more than the ratings of potholes, roadway conditions, and bridges. CI conditions relate directly to Homeland Security concerns via evacuations during terror attacks or natural disasters as well as emergency response to those attacks and disasters or routine police, fire, and medical emergencies. The simple truth is that poor roadway conditions and construction projects slow down emergency vehicles during routine responses; a major catastrophe would result in substantially increased response times and, potentially, more lives lost.

The United States has a major problem with failing CI. This thesis examines a potential solution involving both real fixes in New York City (NYC) and also a planned system of accountability and communication that will enable that solution to become reality, possibly serving as a model for other U.S. cities. CI will continue to disintegrate without significant investment, and a proper system will ensure those investments go to best use in best practices. This thesis describes the federal system for CI beginning with federal orders and continuing through government critiques by the Congressional Research Service, the Government Accountability Office, and RAND—a nonprofit think-tank. However, when looking for specific research regarding municipal CI in New York City, the government review and oversight literature becomes nearly nonexistent. Any critiques found come from think-tank organizations and politicians in state and city government, rather than federal legislators or policy analysts. This thesis explores the gap between current system status and future improvements, and how to improve functionality and accountability of agencies performing repairs and improvements of Critical Infrastructure Key Resources (CIKR).

This thesis contains sample events taken from local media sources, elected officials’ reports, and personal observation, all of which demonstrate the severe effects of lack of communication between city agencies, including poor repairs, wasted taxpayer money, and delays in substantial genuine improvement to critical infrastructure. The goal of listing these sample events is to identify the need for pre-event, pre-construction communication to determine a correct course of action and ensuring this communication assists in developing and testing any post-event plans necessary in cases of evacuation and emergency response.

The transportation booms of the New Deal in 1933 and the interstate highway system in the 1950s have deteriorated to an unsafe condition infrastructure. What would a new New Deal investment look like for NYC CI, and how can accountability ensure improvement without waste?

An accountability system is needed to ensure agencies performing improvement and repair work to CIKR are working collaboratively and in a prioritized manner to provide protection and practical improvements. With so many different agencies, difficulties arise in accountability methods and are further complicated by necessary cooperation between different partners.

A system to promote communication and cooperation would address the prioritization of CI repairs and improvements. Homeland Security depends on CI to move people, products, and emergency equipment. Without proper functionality, a limit to improvements in CI will continue, due to the lack of government oversight, inadequate evacuation plans, lack of collaboration between city agencies and private entities, and shifting populations. The system of accountability recommended in this thesis requires private companies to be held accountable for inadequate work and communication to be established between city agencies and private companies.

CompStat is a crime reduction strategy employed by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) since 1994 that has significantly reduced crime in NYC while encouraging communication-enhancing accountability. With more than two decades of experience in the NYPD, 16 as a supervisor, and more than 13 years attending and presenting at CompStat, the author examines whether the NYPD CompStat model or a similar model would greatly enable the rebuilding and re-envisioning of CI.

The Mayor’s Office of Operations is tasked with rating city agencies and publishing their findings. It is overburdened and unable to monitor CI improvements adequately by fostering pre-event frequent periodic communication. This thesis recommends that the mayor’s office prioritize CI by creating the NYC Mayor’s Office of Infrastructure, and that the Office of Infrastructure implement a CompStat model to ensure CI fixes, by building on the existing Office of Operations Infrastructure theme, using NYC’s Emergency Management Emergency Support Functions to group agencies. Adapting the NYPD’s model of CompStat to CI improvement and protection will create a system of communication, accountability, and interagency collaboration. The application of CompStat principles and how they can be applied to CI protection and improvement is vital to this thesis topic.

The recommendations in this thesis are simple: New York City government must make agencies more interwoven in their responsibilities. The examples relate to city agencies entrusted with CI. The systems proposed should begin with those and expand to all disciplines. Currently, agencies track efforts on an individual, agency-based, silo-driven system. The proposed system for the NYC Deputy Mayor of Infrastructure and the CompStat Unit recommended within accomplishes three missions at once: increase accountability, improve communication, and promote inter-agency collaboration.

By bringing together principles from three city agencies—the Mayor’s Office of Operations Infrastructure theme, NYC Emergency Management’s Emergency Support Functions, and the NYPD’s CompStat model of accountability, the new Mayor’s Office of Infrastructure can promote and monitor communication and collaboration between agencies and private companies.

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