Critical Infrastructure Sector

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Each national or international strategy and policy identifies different categories of sectors that are considered to offer vital services and thus require protection. A 2008 survey examined the policies of 25 countries and identifies as the most frequently mentioned the following sectors:

  • Banking and Finance,
  • Central Government / Government Services,
  • (Tele-)Communication / Information and Communication Technologies(ICT),
  • Emergency / Rescue Services,
  • Energy / Electricity,
  • Health Services,
  • Food,
  • Transportation / Logistics / Distribution, and
  • Water (Supply).

The study comments that "these are the core sectors of modern societies, and possibly the areas where a large-scale interruption would be most devastating" [1].


Official European Definition


Other International Definitions


UNISDR presents the following examples of critical infrastructures: transport systems, air and sea ports, electricity, water and communications systems, hospitals and health clinics, and centres for fire, police and public administration services [2].

National Definitions


The 2009 NIPP [3] defines a sector as a logical collection of assets, systems, or networks that provide a common function to the economy, government, or society.

Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21): Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience[4] identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors:

  1. Chemical Sector
  2. Commercial Facilities Sector
  3. Communications Sector
  4. Critical Manufacturing Sector
  5. Dams Sector [5]
  6. Defense Industrial Base Sector
  7. Emergency Services Sector
  8. Energy Sector
  9. Financial Services Sector
  10. Food and Agriculture Sector
  11. Government Facilities Sector
  12. Healthcare and Public Health Sector
  13. Information Technology Sector
  14. Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector
  15. Transportation Systems Sector
  16. Water and Wastewater Systems Sector

Each sector falls under the responsibility of a designated Sector-Specific Agency (SSA).


In Germany, the following sectors (and industries) are assigned to critical infrastructures [6]:

  • Transport and traffic (aviation, maritime shipping, inland waterway transport, rail traffic, road traffic, logistics)
  • Energy (electricity, mineral oil, gas)
  • Information technology and telecommunication (telecommunication, information technology)
  • Finance and insurance sector (banks/financial institutes, insurance companies, financial service providers, stock exchanges)
  • State and administration (government and administration, parliament, judicial institutions, emergency and rescue services including disaster control)
  • Food (food industry, food trade)
  • Water (public water supply, public wastewater disposal)
  • Health (medical care, pharmaceuticals and vaccines, laboratories)
  • Media and culture (broadcasting (television and radio), printed and electronic press, cultural assets, highly symbolic buildings)

See also