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DHS Launches Groundbreaking "Shields Ready" Initiative for Enhanced Critical Infrastructure Security

In a joint effort, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have introduced the "Shields Ready" campaign. This initiative aims to encourage the critical infrastructure community to enhance its resilience against various disruptions caused by evolving conditions. The campaign was officially launched at the Port of Long Beach during a press conference, featuring speakers from the Long Beach community and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Strategic Focus: Shields Ready vs. Shields Up

The "Shields Ready" campaign complements CISA’s existing "Shields Up" initiative, which focuses on specific, time-sensitive actions to reduce risks during cyberattacks, physical security threats, or natural disasters. Unlike "Shields Up," "Shields Ready" takes a broader and more strategic approach. It emphasizes preparing critical infrastructure for potential disruptions and building resilience proactively into systems, facilities, and processes before a crisis occurs. The campaign aligns with FEMA’s Ready campaign, with both websites featuring and linking to each other for easy reference.

Leadership Perspectives on Building Resilience

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas emphasized the importance of staying ready and agile in the face of evolving threats. He expressed confidence that the "Shields Ready" campaign, led by CISA and supported by FEMA, will enhance the nation’s critical infrastructure's readiness and resilience against diverse threats, ranging from cyberattacks to natural disasters. CISA Director Jen Easterly highlighted the campaign's launch during Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, emphasizing the need for proactive measures to prepare for future incidents. FEMA Administrator Criswell underscored the importance of preparedness in helping communities respond and recover efficiently after disasters.

Key Strategies for Resilience

The campaign encourages critical infrastructure entities and organizations to "Resolve to be Resilient" by adopting specific practices. These include identifying critical systems and dependencies, assessing risks comprehensively, developing strategic risk management plans, creating actionable incident response and recovery plans, and continuously improving through realistic exercises and evaluations. The overarching goal is to foster a culture of continuous improvement based on lessons learned from both exercises and real-world incidents.

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