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
  • 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].


European Definitions

Council Directive 2008/114/EC

The EU directive identifies the following two sectors and their respective sub-sectors[2]:

I Energy

  1. Electricity: Infrastructures and facilities for generation and transmission of electricity in respect of supply electricity
  2. Oil: Oil production, refining, treatment, storage and transmission by pipelines
  3. Gas: (a) Gas production, refining, treatment, storage and transmission by pipelines, (b) LNG terminals

II Transport

  1. Road transport
  2. Rail transport
  3. Air transport
  4. Inland waterways transport
  5. Ocean & short sea shipping and ports

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. [3]

National Definitions


Australia's national critical infrastructure is categorised by seven critical sectors [4]:

  1. Energy
  2. Water services
  3. Communications
  4. Transport
  5. Food Chain
  6. Health
  7. Banking & Finance


Austria's national critical infrastructure is categorised by thirteen critical sectors [5]:

  1. Energy
  2. ICT
  3. Water
  4. Food
  5. Health
  6. Finance
  7. Transport
  8. Chemical industry
  9. Research
  10. Constitutional institutions
  11. Social system
  12. Distribution system
  13. Search and Rescue


Belgium's National Critical Infrastructure is categorised by four critical sectors [6]:

  1. Energy (electric power, oil, gas)
  2. Transport (road, rail, air, inland shipping, sea and ocean shipping & harbours)
  3. Financial sector
  4. Electronic Communication

Although another law applies, the Space sector is likewise treated as a Critical Infrastructure.


Canada's national infrastructure is categorised by ten critical sectors [7]:

  1. Health
  2. Food
  3. Finance
  4. Water
  5. Information and Communication Technology
  6. Safety
  7. Energy and utilities
  8. Manufacturing
  9. Government
  10. Transportation

Czech Republic

Czech Republic's national critical infrastructure is categorised by nine critical sectors [8]:

  1. Energy
  2. Water management
  3. Food industry and agriculture
  4. Health services
  5. Transport
  6. Communication and information systems
  7. Financial market and currency
  8. Emergency services
  9. Public administration


A critical infrastructure sector is defines as follows:

(in French)Secteur d’activités d’importance vitale (SAIV): secteur constitué d’activités concourant à un même objectif: qui ont trait à la production et la distribution de biens ou de services indispensables à la satisfaction des besoins essentiels pour la vie des populations, ou à l’exercice de l’autorité de l’État, ou au fonctionnement de l’économie, ou au maintien du potentiel de défense, ou à la sécurité de la nation, dès lors que ces activités sont difficilement substituables ou remplaçables; ou qui peuvent présenter un danger grave pour la population. [9]

A non-official translation follows:

Sector consists of activities contributing to a same objective: related to the production and distribution of goods or services essential to satisfy the basic needs of the population, or related to the exercise of state authority or the functioning of the economy, or the upkeep of the defence capacity, or the security of the nation, since these activities are difficult to substitute or replace; or that may seriously affect the health or life of the population.

Below a list of the sectors and the responsible ministry can be found. [10] [11]. This is a non-official translation in English and the Ministry in charge may change name at each nomination of a new government.

Critical Sector Responsible Ministry
Civil activities of the State Ministry of Home Affairs
Judicial activities Ministry for Justice
Military activities of the State Ministry of Defence
Power Ministry for Agriculture
Electronic communication, audiovisual and information Ministry for Electronic communications
Energy Ministry for Energy
Space and Research Ministry of Research
Finance Ministry of the Economy and Finance
Water management Ministry for Ecology
Industry Ministry for Industry
Health Ministry of Health
Transport Ministry of Transport


In Germany, the following sectors (and industries) are assigned to critical infrastructures [12]:

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


Japan's national critical infrastructure is categorised by ten critical sectors [13]:

  1. Information and communications
  2. Finance
  3. Aviation
  4. Railways
  5. Electricity
  6. Gas
  7. Government and administrative services (including local public authorities)
  8. Medical services
  9. Water
  10. Logistics


The 2015 Critical Infrastructure review [14] redefined the Dutch critical infrastructure sectors and the critical products and services:

Critical Processes Category Product, service or location Sector Responsible Ministry
Nation-wide power transmission and distribution A Power Energy Economic Affairs
Regional power distribution B
Gas production & nation-wide gas transport and distribution A Gas
Regional gas distribution B
ICT - internet access and data transport, voice, satellite, time & navigation t.b.d. ICT/Telecom Economic Affairs
Drinking water A Drinking water Drinking water Infrastructure and the Environment
Stemming and managing water quantity A (part of) primary water works, (part of) regional water works Water Infrastructure and the Environment
Air traffic control and Flight & air craft handling B Mainport Schiphol Transport Infrastructure and the Environment
Shipping B Mainport Rotterdam
Large scale production, processing and/or storage of (petro)chemical substances B (petro)chemical industry Chemical Infrastructure and the Environment
Storage, production and processing of nuclear materials A Nuclear industry Nuclear Infrastructure and the Environment
Retail payments B Payment infrastructure Financial Finances
Massive electronic payments (giraal betalingsverkeer) B
Inter bank transactions B
Stock transactions B
Emergency services communication (1-1-2 and C2000) B Public order and Safety Public order and Safety (OOV) Security and Justice
Deployment of Police B
Availability of integer base information set about persons, organisations, information exchange between base data sets and availability of data systems in operation for critical processes of multiple government agencies B Digital government (under review) Public Administration The Interior and Kingdom Relations

Netherlands' national infrastructure was (2005 definition) categorised by twelve critical sectors and 31 subsectors [15]:

  1. Energy: electric power, gas, and oil
  2. Telecommunications and IT: fixed and mobile communications, radio, broadcasting, and internet
  3. Drinking water (supply)
  4. Food: food supply, and food safety
  5. Health: emergency and other hospital care, medicines, and vaccines
  6. Financial services: payments (bank retail), and financial transfers by the Administration
  7. Surface water: water quality and water quantity (stemming and managing)
  8. Public order and safety
  9. Legal order/justice: courts and detention, and law enforcement
  10. Public administration: diplomacy, information services by the Administration, defence, and decision-making
  11. Transport: mainport Schiphol, mainport Rotterdam, main road infrastructure, main inland shipping infrastructure, and rail infrastructure
  12. Chemical and nuclear industry: transport, storage, production, and processing of dangerous materials

Each critical sector falls under the responsibility of a designated ministry.


Norway distinguishes six critical infrastructures and eleven critical societal functions.

Critical infrastructures:

  1. Electric Power
  2. Electronic communications
  3. Water supply and Sewage
  4. Transport
  5. Oil and Gas
  6. Satellite-based infrastructure

Critical Societal Functions:

  1. Banking and Finance
  2. Food Supply
  3. Health Services, Social Services and Social Security Benefit
  4. Police
  5. Emergency and Rescue Services
  6. Crisis Management
  7. Parliament and Government
  8. The Judiciary
  9. Defence
  10. Environmental Surveillance
  11. Waste Treatment


The critical sectors which comprise Qatar's national critical infrastructure include but are not restricted to [16] [17] :

  1. Energy, Electricity, and Water
  2. Finance
  3. Government
  4. Healthcare
  5. Information and Communications Technology
  6. Transportation

Republic of Slovenia

Sectors Critical Infrastructure of the Republic of Slovenia [18]:

  1. Energy support
  2. Transport
  3. Food
  4. Drinking water
  5. Medical care
  6. Finance
  7. Environmental protection
  8. Information and communication

Republic of Trinidad & Tobago

The national cyber security strategy recognizes the following critical (information) infrastructure sectors [19]:

  1. Banking and financial services
  2. Communications infrastructure
  3. Public health
  4. Public safety
  5. Public transportation
  6. Key infrastructure


Spains' national infrastructure is currently categorised by twelve critical sectors[20]:

  1. Administration
  2. Chemical Industry
  3. Energy
  4. Financial and Tax System
  5. Food Supply Chain
  6. Health
  7. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
  8. Nuclear Industry
  9. Research Laboratories
  10. Space
  11. Transport
  12. Water


Swedens' national infrastructure is currently categorised by eleven critical sectors providing a set of critical societal functions [21]}}:

  1. Energy Supply
  2. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
  3. Financial Services
  4. Social Insurances
  5. Public Health, medical services and special social services
  6. Protection, Security and Safety
  7. Transport
  8. Municipal Services
  9. Food
  10. Trade and Industry
  11. Public Administration (governance, support functions, service sector)


Switzerlands' national infrastructure is currently categorised by ten critical sectors and 28 subsectors which are subcategorised very high critical, high critical and regular critical [22]:

  1. Energy: natural gas supply, oil supply, and power supply
  2. Financial services: banks, and insurance companies
  3. Information- & communication technologies (ICT): information technology, media, and telecommunication
  4. Industry: chemical and pharmaceutical industry, and mechanical and electrical engineering industries
  5. Public administration: foreign representations and headquarters of international organisations; national cultural property; parliament, government, justice, administration; research institutes
  6. Public health: medical care and hospitals; laboratories
  7. Public safety: armed forces; civil defense ;emergency organizations (police, fire service, emergency medical service and rescue services)
  8. Transport: air transport, water transport, postal services, rail transport, road transport
  9. Water and food: food supply, drinking water supply
  10. Waste disposal: waste, waste water


Turkey's national infrastructure is currently categorised by five critical sectors [23]:

  1. Energy
  2. Manufacturing
  3. Water management
  4. Transportation
  5. Telecommunication

The Turkish security council has decided that Banking and Finance as well as Critical Public Services need to be added to this list, but that has not happened yet.

United Kingdom (UK)

UK's national infrastructure is categorised into nine sectors [24]:

  1. communications
  2. emergency services
  3. energy
  4. financial services
  5. food
  6. government
  7. health
  8. transport
  9. water

United States

The 2009 NIPP [25] 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[26] identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors:

  1. Chemical Sector
  2. Commercial Facilities Sector
  3. Communications Sector
  4. Critical Manufacturing Sector
  5. Dams Sector [27]
  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).

See also


  1. E. Brunner, M. Suter, International CIIP Handbook 2008/2009: An Inventory of 25 National and 7 International Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Policies, A. Wenger, V. Mauer, M. Dunn (Eds.), CRN Handbooks, Vol. 4, no. 1, Center for Security Studies (CSS), Zurich, Switzerland, September 2008.
  2. Council Directive 2008/114/EC of 8 December 2008 on the identification and designation of European critical infrastructures and the assessment of the need to improve their protection.
  3. 2009 UNISDR Terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), Geneva, Switzerland, May 2009.
  4. Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy
  5. APCIP
  6. Service Public Fédéral Intérieur/Federale Overheidsdienst Binnenlandse Zaken F./N. 2011-1799; C-2011/00399 (2011)
  7. Public Safety Canada - Critical Infrastructure]
  8. Crisis management act
  10. Arrêté du 3 juillet 2008 portant modification de l’arrêté du 2 juin 2006 fixant la liste des secteurs d’activités d’importance vitale et désignant les ministres coordonnateurs desdits secteurs. JOURNAL OFFICIEL DE LA REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE N°0156 du 5 juillet 2008, NOR : PRMD0813724A.
  11. [ Arrêté du 2 juin 2006 fixant la liste des secteurs d’activités d’importance vitale et désignant les ministres coordonnateurs desdits secteurs. JOURNAL OFFICIEL DE LA REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE N°0129 du 4 juin 2006, NOR : PRMX0609332A ]
  12. Unpublished working glossary of UP KRITIS and BSI, 2014
  13. Cyber Security Strategy (2013)
  14. Voortgangsbrief nationale veiligheid 9 april 2015
  15. Vitale infrastructuursectoren
  16. QATAR National Cyber Security Strategy (May 2014)
  17. الاستراتيجية الوطنية للأمن السيبراني QATAR NCSS - Arabic version (May 2014)
  18. [ Osnovni in sektorski kriteriji kritičnosti za določanje kritične infrastrukture državnega pomena v Republiki Sloveniji (2012)]
  19. Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, National Cyber Security Strategy (December 2012)
  20. CNPIC
  21. Action Plan for the Protection of Vital Societal Functions & Critical Infrastructure, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) (2014).
  22. The Swiss Programme on Critical Infrastructure Protection - factsheet
  23. < Decree no. 2011/2237 on the Regulation Amending the Regulation on Military Forbidden Zones and Security Zones, 18-10-2011
  24. Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI)
  25. National Infrastructure Protection Plan, Partnering to enhance protection and resiliency, US Department of Homeland Security, 2009
  26. Presidential Policy Directive -- Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, PPD-21, 2013
  27. Note: The Dams Sector comprises dam projects, navigation locks, levees, hurricane barriers, mine tailings impoundments, and other similar water retention and/or control facilities. Dams are vital to the nation's infrastructure and provide a wide range of economic, environmental, and social benefits, including hydroelectric power, river navigation, water supply, flood control, and recreation.