how it happened and help spread the word. “Sometimes, an
attack or a malware infection in one company or one sector could infect the broader critical infrastructure. We try
to do a good job of information sharing ... so that we can
inoculate the overall critical infrastructure,” Edwards says.
It is not clear which sector sees the most attacks, but
some call for help more than others. “Energy and manufacturing seem to be repeat customers of ours. I’m not sure
if that correlates to their being targeted more often or if
they’re, for example, more mature and better able to detect
the infection or the intrusion,” Edwards suggests.
Of course, digital threats are not the only concern for
the department. It also is enhancing its training on physi-
cal threats to the critical infrastructure. Bob Kolasky, DHS
deputy assistant secretary for infrastructure protection,
describes the training as part of the department’s “capacity
Web-based video training as well as instructor-led
courses cover chemicals, dams, emergency services
and nuclear reactors, materials and waste. “We’ve been
focused on where we see the biggest gaps and the most
requests from owners and operators. Among the things
we’ve done training on is countering improvised explo-
sive devices (IEDs); awareness and detection of materials
that can be used for bomb making; some training around
defeating vehicle-borne IEDs; and active shooter pre-
paredness,” Kolasky says.
The active shooter courses, which the DHS has provided
since about 2011, have become some of the most popular
offerings, he adds. “We just went through a significant
upgrade of our active shooter preparedness training,”
Kolasky says. Originally, the training was focused on reacting to a shooting scenario. Now, it includes options for preventing active shooters, keeping employees informed and
recovering from these incidents.
The department also has had some of its active shooter
training materials translated into multiple languages and
is exploring ways to help people with disabilities during
active shooter events. “Those improvements have been
ongoing. That has been one of our biggest expansions,”
To help meet the growing demand for active shooter preparedness training, he reports, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate is developing a game-based solution. It
should be available this year or next, Kolasky says.
His team also offers business continuity training and has
created a CD that uses a “TurboTax-like approach” to help
organizations more effectively develop plans.
Additionally, Kolasky stresses the need to train the private sector to be aware of bomb-making efforts. “We’re seeing, unfortunately, overseas a lot of interest in using IEDs
and bringing in explosive precursors—easy-to-acquire
materials. We’re trying to get out the message to those folks
who have or sell these materials that a little is no big deal,
but a lot could cause harm,” he says, adding that his team
also focuses on training for suspicious activity reporting.
Over the years, DHS courses have evolved to take a
“train the trainer” approach that helps meet demand. Officials initially traveled around the country training “people
on the front lines of protecting infrastructure,” Kolasky
recalls. “But we quickly realized that our capacity to do
that was exceeded by the demand.”
In response, the department started helping organizations establish internal training programs. “It is more
effective to actually train a corporation on how to set up
a training program ... or to train state governments, for
example, on how to build a bomb-making awareness program rather than go out and do our own training with
hardware stores and agricultural vendors,” he says.
Despite such changes, it still is difficult for the department to keep up with demand. “We ask folks to put together
requests for additional resources based on evidence, and they
always show us that there is a lot of unmet need,” Kolasky
contact: George I. Seffers, firstname.lastname@example.org
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