Breakout Sessions

Technical Session Summary

Moderators: James Beck and Gary McIntire

Defense Special Weapons Agency

Mr. McIntire summarized the technical and operational issues associated with UGFs used for the protection of critical infrastructures that were raised in the technical breakout session:

  • Threats to infrastructures are both physical and cyber; an overriding concern is that most infrastructures reside in the private sector.

  • Many solutions, and any overall solution, will require a partnership between the private sector and government. The current private-sector record in infrastructure protection is mixed.

  • It is essential to define what infrastructure is critical.

  • There is a lack of tools for exploring the long-term trade-offs between UGFs and other solutions. Data must be developed that can be used by decision makers in considering various means of protection, including UGFs. There are clear benefits to going underground, such as improved security and dual-use opportunities.

  • Cost is a major issue at the technical level. In the United States, if not in Scandinavia, the initial construction cost of new UGFs can be considerably higher than that of above-ground facilities. Cost will be considered a barrier by some infrastructure owners and operators considering underground relocation. Over time there are operations and maintenance cost savings, and the financial trade-offs tend to improve. Over the entire life cycle, UGFs can be considered very cost competitive. Specific factors that should be included in the cost equation are location, geology, construction depth, and the presence of groundwater.

  • A well-defined facility makes an attack more difficult. Generally, UGFs provide improved physical security and are at least neutral on the cyber-threat.

  • Other technical issues include external connections, fire, and the ability of the facilities to be protected against chemical, biological, and radio frequency weapons.

UGFs are among the tools in the arsenal of those who would protect critical infrastructures. In reality, a combination of protection methods for most system-type architectures is probably the best approach. This would include mobile units, alternate routing, improvements in training and procedures, and the development of rapid recovery teams. All of these are important when



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Use of Underground Facilities to Protect Critical Infrastructures: Summary of a Workshop Breakout Sessions Technical Session Summary Moderators: James Beck and Gary McIntire Defense Special Weapons Agency Mr. McIntire summarized the technical and operational issues associated with UGFs used for the protection of critical infrastructures that were raised in the technical breakout session: Threats to infrastructures are both physical and cyber; an overriding concern is that most infrastructures reside in the private sector. Many solutions, and any overall solution, will require a partnership between the private sector and government. The current private-sector record in infrastructure protection is mixed. It is essential to define what infrastructure is critical. There is a lack of tools for exploring the long-term trade-offs between UGFs and other solutions. Data must be developed that can be used by decision makers in considering various means of protection, including UGFs. There are clear benefits to going underground, such as improved security and dual-use opportunities. Cost is a major issue at the technical level. In the United States, if not in Scandinavia, the initial construction cost of new UGFs can be considerably higher than that of above-ground facilities. Cost will be considered a barrier by some infrastructure owners and operators considering underground relocation. Over time there are operations and maintenance cost savings, and the financial trade-offs tend to improve. Over the entire life cycle, UGFs can be considered very cost competitive. Specific factors that should be included in the cost equation are location, geology, construction depth, and the presence of groundwater. A well-defined facility makes an attack more difficult. Generally, UGFs provide improved physical security and are at least neutral on the cyber-threat. Other technical issues include external connections, fire, and the ability of the facilities to be protected against chemical, biological, and radio frequency weapons. UGFs are among the tools in the arsenal of those who would protect critical infrastructures. In reality, a combination of protection methods for most system-type architectures is probably the best approach. This would include mobile units, alternate routing, improvements in training and procedures, and the development of rapid recovery teams. All of these are important when

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Use of Underground Facilities to Protect Critical Infrastructures: Summary of a Workshop discussing critical infrastructure protection. The perceived threat ultimately will drive the solution. The psychological impact of UGFs on workers is not a major problem but must be considered. Dual-use facilities present their own set of challenges. Having disparate users with different requirements and cultures in a single facility must be considered in developing a satisfactory working arrangement. Policy Session Summary Moderators: Paul Byron Pattak, PME, Ltd., and Wayne A. Schroeder, Logicon/RDA Dr. Schroeder discussed the top issues affecting the use of UGFs for the protection of critical infrastructures that were raised in the policy breakout session. Those attending the session believe that compelling arguments must be developed to communicate that underground relocation reduces the risks to a specific threat. Public opinion and the American psyche also are of concern. While the Norwegians are very comfortable using underground facilities, there is an entirely different attitude in the United States. There would be a need for a psychological adjustment if UGFs are to be used more aggressively, and ultimately there would be political costs for doing so. Session attendees perceived that affordability would be a problem in the United States, and this is an important issue for the underground community to address. If the underground community is to publicly advance the use of UGFs for the protection of critical infrastructures, it must first have a better understanding of the costs. Up-front construction costs certainly are a major part of that equation. Other issues include the perception that there is little direct relationship to the more visible information warfare problem, consolidation issues in which fewer facilities present more lucrative targets, and the need for a clearinghouse for data on UGFs. A number of different challenges were discussed, including: increasing public-and private-sector awareness of UGFs, creating a government-industry partnership, obtaining industry support, assisting infrastructure owners in determining if UGFs can meet their requirements, defining the role and extent of government support, and implementation. The policy session did not extensively address implementation, but it is something that the PCCIP has addressed in terms of whether implementation would be through direct support of R&D, tax incentives, or simply an education and awareness campaign.

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Use of Underground Facilities to Protect Critical Infrastructures: Summary of a Workshop In conclusion, the top policy issues were identified as follows: Public perception is the key issue. Corporate America needs to be made aware of the benefits UGFs offer. Education is needed to make the uses and benefits of UGFs for infrastructure protection better known to the public. A number of different ideas were broached, including continued work with the Underground Construction Association and a more integrated effort with the NRC and its Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment. Cost is a major policy issue. The apparent differences in comparative costs for UGFs relative to above ground structures presented at the workshop are cause for concern. Before a more aggressive public effort is mounted, more definitive cost data must be developed. Dual-use opportunities were emphasized in the policy breakout session, as throughout the workshop. Workshop participants learned a great deal from the Norwegian dual-use experience with UGFs, and this issue should be given a higher priority in future programs on UGFs. There was considerable discussion concerning how to proceed in the future. Two approaches were considered. The first involved evaluating a broad selection of infrastructures to determine where UGFs might be of use. A second approach was to narrow the focus and identify a few suitable projects. A good approximation of the design and cost data for going underground would be developed for those particular infrastructure elements, and then the specific audiences for which the projects apply (e.g., corporate executives, government) would be approached. A longer-term program would be adopted to test how the projects were received. The second, and more focused approach was considered the appropriate course to pursue. Mr. Pattak concluded the policy breakout session by reminding the group that it is never easy to propose new policies, new initiatives, and new ways of doing things. People are naturally skeptical of change, and it is incumbent on those who are knowledgeable about UGFs and committed to their use to make the case for their use. The key points he raised were: In the pursuit of saving money, industries may be making themselves more vulnerable. Cost analyses on UGFs need to be divided between construction on the one hand and operations and maintenance on the other. Ninety-five percent of U.S. critical infrastructures are owned by organizations other than the federal government.