Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 08/2006

Neglected Defense: Mobilizing the Private Sector to Support Homeland Security

Stephen Flynn, Daniel Prieto

March 2006

Council on Foreign Relations


The recent Dubai Ports World controversy has highlighted the extent to which America's critical infrastructure is not only largely in the hands of private companies, but that private sector ownership does not stop at the water's edge. This fact of twenty-first-century life makes all the more complex the task of securing the modern foundations upon which we depend. Americans must also be mindful of the reality that our energy, financial, information technology, food supply, transportation, and logistics sectors are interconnected with global systems. Safeguarding so many of the things that Americans depend upon is both a domestic and global challenge.

In this Council Special Report, Stephen E. Flynn and Daniel B. Prieto argue that there has been too little attention paid to the issue of critical infrastructure protection. They did not reach this conclusion by cloistering themselves in an ivory tower. Instead, they benefited from the experience and practical insights of a group of private sector leaders in the Council's Corporate membership. Over the course of one year, this group met with leading national experts on trade security, global disease, terrorism, risk management, emergency preparedness, and energy.