Critical Infrastructure Resilience

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European Definitions

National Definitions


In the context of critical infrastructure, resilience refers to: (a) coordinated planning across sectors and networks, (b) responsive, flexible and timely recovery measures, and (c) the development of an organisational culture that has the ability to provide a minimum level of service during interruptions, emergencies and disasters, and return to full operations quickly. In this way, building capacity in organisations to be agile, adaptive and to improve by learning from experience is part of the concept of CIR (see Organisational Resilience). [1]
New South Wales
Critical infrastructure Resilience (CIR) is the capacity of CI to withstand disruption, operate effectively in crisis, and deal with and adapt to shocks and stresses. [2]

It includes the flexibility to adapt to present and future conditions. At the national level, CIR is the term used to describe an ‘all hazards’ approach to CI activities across the spectrum of prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.


Resiliencia nacional (nivel 1): El gobierno tiene un control mínimo, de infraestructura tecnológica; las redes y sistemas son delegados a terceros, con potencial de adopción por parte de mercados de terceros poco fiables; puede haber una dependencia de otros países en tecnología de la seguridad cibernética. [3]


Critical Infrastructure Resilience (CIR) Critical Infrastructure Resilience can be defined as a dynamic process that applies an ‘all hazard’ risk-based methodology to reduce the magnitude/scope, severity, or duration of a disruptive shock to the State/society and facilitates the resultant recovery. [4]

This type of resilient approach employs a holistic set of procedures and measures that ensures the ability to risk assess, mitigate, prepare for, absorb/adapt to, and recover from a disruptive shock.

United Kingdom

Critical Infrastructure Resilience (CIR) encompasses activity to prevent, protect and prepare for natural hazard. [5]

United States

Infrastructure resilience is the ability to reduce the magnitude and/or duration of disruptive events. The effectiveness of a resilient infrastructure or enterprise depends upon its ability to anticipate, absorb, adapt to, and/or rapidly recover from a potentially disruptive event. [6]

Other Definitions

A resilient infrastructure is a component, system or facility that is able to withstand damage or disruption, but if affected, can be readily and cost-effectively restored. [7]

Resilience is the joint ability of infrastructure systems to resist (prevent and withstand) any possible hazards, absorb the initial damage, and recover to normal operation. [8]

Resilience is capacity of a system to prevent a crisis occurrence, and when a crisis occurs, the capacity to absorb the impact and recover rapidly to the normal state. [9]

A resilience assessment framework should encompass the following attributes: (a) Systems structure (the physical static parameters of the infrastructure, i.e. design and topology parameters of the system), (b) Systems dynamic (the dynamic behavior of the infrastructure systems, e.g. emergency preparedness, response management, and recovery activities) and (c) Human and Organizational capacities (human and organizational factors whose contributions are essential to the overall infrastructure resilience).[10]

See also



  1. Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy, 2010
  2. NSW Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy Partner, Prepare, Provide (2018)
  3. La Estrategia Nacional de Seguridad Cibernética (June 2018)
  4. Strategi Emergency Management 2019
  5. Strategic Framework and Policy Statement on Improving the Resilience of Critical Infrastructure to Disruption from Natural Hazards (2010)
  7. Critical Thinking: Moving from Infrastructure Protection to Infrastructure Resilience, CIIP Resilience Series Monograph. CIP Program discussion paper series. Virginia: George Mason University.
  8. Ouyang M., Dueñas-Osorio, L. & Min, X. (2012). A three-stage resilience analysis framework for urban infrastructure systems, Structural Safety, Volumes 36–37, May–July 2012, Pages 23-31, ISSN 0167-4730.
  9. Labaka, L., Hernantes, J., & Sarriegi, J. M. (2015). Resilience framework for critical infrastructures, International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, vol. 6(4).
  10. Alsubaie, A., Alutaibi, K., & Marti, J. (2015). Resilience Assessment of Interdependent Critical Infrastructure, In Rome, E., Theocharidou, M., & Wolthusen, S. (eds.) Proceedings of CRITIS 2015 , Critical Information Infrastructure Security, LNCS, Springer Berlin Heidelberg (to appear).