Welcoming Address

Maj. Gen. Gary L. Curtin,

U.S. Air Force Director, Defense Special Weapons Agency

Gen. Curtin noted the timeliness of the workshop in light of the current national focus on ensuring the viability of critical infrastructures and interest in this topic worldwide as well as in the United States. He outlined the purpose of the workshop and provided some thoughts on why underground facilities (UGFs) can be part of a broader solution to the problem of protecting our nation's infrastructures. He cautioned, however, that, although using UGFs to protect vital infrastructures seems both obvious and direct for those familiar with them, the topic requires much more investigation before a national initiative to use UGFs to protect critical infrastructures can be recommended.

To some degree, the image of UGFs goes back to the Cold War when bomb shelters were to be used in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States. Sometimes UGFs were viewed as something from science fiction, places where clandestine alien forces might be hiding. The natural American reaction to UGFs is negative and this aversion has permeated consideration of the issue over the years. We now have an opportunity to reconsider UGFs because the environment has changed since the end of the Cold War. Significant and formidable new threats have arisen, including weapons of mass destruction, transnational and terrorist threats, and cyber-threats and information warfare. These new problems will require new solutions, especially as they relate to protecting critical infrastructures.

The report of the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection (PCCIP) emphasized that infrastructure be seen through the lens of national security. The commission's suggestions have interesting implications. The primary emphasis of the commission's report is on cyber-threats, but strong recommendations are also made concerning research and development (R&D), vulnerability assessments, and the need for backup facilities. Unfortunately, at the same time that the use of UGFs to house vital security and infrastructure functions is growing worldwide, the United States is closing UGFs associated with national security.

The Defense Special Weapons Agency (DSWA) has been involved in the survival of UGFs for many years, primarily based on work done by its Springfield Research Facility (SRF), and DSWA holds an annual conference for site managers of UGFs. This has turned out to be an effective networking and communications vehicle for people interested in these facilities. After the 1997 meeting, SRF was asked by the site managers to explore the use of UGFs to protect critical infrastructures.

DSWA convened a working group, chaired by George Baker, SRF director, that was substantially involved in planning the present workshop. Dr. Baker also briefed Gen. Marsh, chairman of the PCCIP, on SRF's capability to



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 5
Use of Underground Facilities to Protect Critical Infrastructures: Summary of a Workshop Welcoming Address Maj. Gen. Gary L. Curtin, U.S. Air Force Director, Defense Special Weapons Agency Gen. Curtin noted the timeliness of the workshop in light of the current national focus on ensuring the viability of critical infrastructures and interest in this topic worldwide as well as in the United States. He outlined the purpose of the workshop and provided some thoughts on why underground facilities (UGFs) can be part of a broader solution to the problem of protecting our nation's infrastructures. He cautioned, however, that, although using UGFs to protect vital infrastructures seems both obvious and direct for those familiar with them, the topic requires much more investigation before a national initiative to use UGFs to protect critical infrastructures can be recommended. To some degree, the image of UGFs goes back to the Cold War when bomb shelters were to be used in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States. Sometimes UGFs were viewed as something from science fiction, places where clandestine alien forces might be hiding. The natural American reaction to UGFs is negative and this aversion has permeated consideration of the issue over the years. We now have an opportunity to reconsider UGFs because the environment has changed since the end of the Cold War. Significant and formidable new threats have arisen, including weapons of mass destruction, transnational and terrorist threats, and cyber-threats and information warfare. These new problems will require new solutions, especially as they relate to protecting critical infrastructures. The report of the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection (PCCIP) emphasized that infrastructure be seen through the lens of national security. The commission's suggestions have interesting implications. The primary emphasis of the commission's report is on cyber-threats, but strong recommendations are also made concerning research and development (R&D), vulnerability assessments, and the need for backup facilities. Unfortunately, at the same time that the use of UGFs to house vital security and infrastructure functions is growing worldwide, the United States is closing UGFs associated with national security. The Defense Special Weapons Agency (DSWA) has been involved in the survival of UGFs for many years, primarily based on work done by its Springfield Research Facility (SRF), and DSWA holds an annual conference for site managers of UGFs. This has turned out to be an effective networking and communications vehicle for people interested in these facilities. After the 1997 meeting, SRF was asked by the site managers to explore the use of UGFs to protect critical infrastructures. DSWA convened a working group, chaired by George Baker, SRF director, that was substantially involved in planning the present workshop. Dr. Baker also briefed Gen. Marsh, chairman of the PCCIP, on SRF's capability to

OCR for page 5
Use of Underground Facilities to Protect Critical Infrastructures: Summary of a Workshop perform vulnerability assessments and the potential role of UGFs in infrastructure protection. Gen. Curtin described a trip to Norway with Arnfinn Jenssen, of the Norwegian Defence Construction Service, who showed him some of Norway's numerous UGFs. Both Norway and Sweden have built many world-class facilities and Gen. Curtin was particularly impressed with an air traffic control center near Oslo—one example of the key infrastructures that Norway has put underground. Although air traffic control centers are not normally placed underground, this is a very capable and secure facility. Gen. Curtin noted that he has also visited a number of UGFs in the United States. Even though they are older facilities, they reflect a very high state of the art. After visiting many underground sites, Gen. Curtin has concluded that existing UGFs offer a number of advantages over above-ground sites: they are secure, adaptable, relatively inexpensive compared to some options, and already available because of cutbacks in other government programs. Gen. Curtin discussed some of the cost benefits compared to surface locations that could accrue as a result of moving infrastructure underground. First, the land at the surface can be used for other purposes. In a country like Norway, where flat terrain is at a premium, this is an important consideration. Second, energy costs are lower because temperature and humidity underground fluctuate very little. Third, from the commercial point of view, taxes and insurance tend to be low because underground space is not exposed to the same weather conditions and hazards as above-ground facilities. Gen. Curtin concluded by outlining his expectations for the workshop: identifying the missions and functions for which UGFs may be useful in supporting infrastructure; assessing the costs and benefits of going underground; flagging issues that need further evaluation; and, most important, bringing together government and the private sector to propose initiatives to the National Research Council and the PCCIP's successor organization.