Vital Infrastructure, Technology, and Logistics (VITAL)

Protecting Our Critical Infrastructures

US critical infrastructures encompass highly visible sectors like transportation, water, and agriculture as well as less conspicuous sectors like energy, finance, and information technology (IT). If any of these infrastructures were attacked, whether by hostile nation-states or by non-state actors, it would have major negative impacts on our national security and the economic well-being of our country. Even less nefarious disruptions to the supply chain, caused by inclement weather for example, are increasingly worrisome as the global economy becomes more intertwined and interdependent.

Due to the number, scale, and complexity of these sectors, no one entity can tackle the issue of critical infrastructure vulnerability alone. Both government and industry have a shared interest in the continued stability of domestic infrastructures and their global supply chains and are thus natural allies in the efforts to secure these systems. Through improved communication and strategic planning, industry and government entities can combine and coordinate efforts in comprehensively securing critical infrastructures.

The DCIP defines the following 16 sectors as critical based on their influence on the nation’s economic health and security: chemicals, commercial facilities, communications, manufacturing, dams, defense, emergency services, energy, finance, food and agriculture, government facilities, healthcare, information technology (IT), nuclear facilities, transportation, and water. The number of sectors considered vital to the US is simply too great to be managed by one office of the federal government, or even by the federal government alone. Taken together, the 16 critical sectors identified by the DoD account for thousands of companies, millions of jobs, and billions of dollars of revenue changing hands across the country. The only effective way to provide comprehensive critical infrastructure protection is through a coordinated effort, both among government agencies and between government and industry. The VITAL Center aims to bridge the gap between government and industry security efforts by connecting diverse stakeholders from both worlds, creating a community of interest to create more comprehensive mechanisms of action for critical infrastructure protection.


Microelectronics: Foundations and Futures, A Virtual Executive Course

The four half-day virtual course will explore the history of microelectronics, detail the current state of the practice, as well as review legacy and state of the art technology needs and their impact on the United States economy and national defense. Instructors will include industry leaders, government officials, technical experts, and key decision makers and influencers to understand the big picture of this technology area that affects every part of American culture and economics. This policy-oriented course is perfect for industry, government, and academic professionals alike with a shared goal of identifying and addressing the challenges the US faces in the microelectronics industrial arena.




 Hardware Security Symposium


On Thursday August 16th, the Potomac Institute hosted Mr. Kevin Zawicki of Guardtime Federal, who discussed alternative blockchain technologies for government applications. The promise of an immutable public trust anchor is a driving force behind the excitement to apply Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) blockchains to many business processes. Unfortunately, some key features of DLTs make them unattractive to, and potentially unusable for, certain customers. Fortunately, there are other "blockchain" technologies available that can be used to provide a desired immutable public trust anchor without some of the challenges associated with DLTs. Mr.Zawickidiscussed use cases showing how the Guardtime Federal Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) alternative blockchain effectively leverages a public trust anchor in a federated execution business process to allow distributed verification, assuring end-to-end integrity of the data, the business process, and even the product. You can view Mr. Zawicki’s presentation here.

Prior to joining Guardtime Federal in 2015, Mr.Zawickispent 20 years in various capacities working in acquisition for the DoD. He started as a program analyst at the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, then moved to the Air Force's B-2 program. He began taking on System Administration duties for local networks and eventually transitioned to full-time IT support for the Directorate of Special Programs, Air Force Acquisition. For the last 12 years of his tenure, he served as the IT Lead for the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.

 Mr.Zawickihas a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware and a Master of Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.