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


The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies hosts a monthly lecture series on hardware-based Trust and cybersecurity.  This is part of our effort supporting the DoD in their future strategy for assured access to state-of-the-art trusted microelectronics.   This is a critical need for the DoD in this age of complex global supply chains.

Mike Strizich from MicroNet Solutions gave an excellent talk on the state of the art of IC reverse engineering.   This is a rapidly progressing field making heavy use of sophisticated automation and pattern recognition software.   The main commercial applications are in the area of Patent and IP protection but the USG has interest in this technology for trust assurance purposes.    The lecture was very well attended both physically at the Potomac Institute and virtually online. Stay tuned for a list of upcoming lectures in this series.

For further information please contact Jennifer Lato:

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featuring Michael Strizich:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 

Time: 2:00 – 3:00pm 

Location: Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

  901 N. Stuart Street, Suite 1200 

Arlington, VA 22203


Microelectronics are key components in our defense systems, and assuring that they are both Trusted and secure is critical for US national security. Hardware-based exploits can have serious impacts on military or critical infrastructure, and hardware vulnerabilities include malicious insertions, Trojan horses, counterfeit parts, and rapid obsolescence. While the USG has made large investments in software-focused cybersecurity, hardware-based approaches have not received as much attention. The Hardware Security Symposium Speaker Series brings together leading experts in Trusted microelectronics from academia, government, and Industry, to discuss hardware security threats, and ways to mitigate them.

Speaker: Michael Strizich, MicroNet Solutions, Inc.

Michael Strizich is the President and CEO of MicroNet Solutions, Inc. Formed in 2013, MicroNet Solutions Inc (MSI) was the R&D Division of its legacy company, Analytical Solutions Inc (ASI). MSI focuses on security analysis, Pix2Net Circuit Extraction Software, reverse engineering of complex integrated circuits, and anti tamper and design analysis. 

The topic of the discussion was reverse engineering. Reverse engineering tools and software are becoming more sophisticated and advanced with time. Examples of future of state-of-the-art extraction tools used to either verify existing designs, or model unknown designs, were presented. Also included were examples of microcode extraction.