GAO: Agencies need to identify critical assets

The General Accounting Office released on Wednesday an assessment of the efforts of the Departments of Health and Human Services, Energy, Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency to implement critical infrastructure protection measures outlined in a Clinton administration directive.

Overall, the GAO said agencies are making progress by forming infrastructure protection plans and appointing individuals to manage those efforts.

But several agencies have failed to adequately identify their critical assets and their dependencies on public sector infrastructures. "Neither the administration nor the agencies have established specific deadlines or estimated the total resource requirements to complete the asset and dependency identification process, and completing these tasks at the current pace could take years," the report said.

The GAO also analyzed the work of Information Sharing and Analysis Centers, which were created to bolster private-sector critical infrastructure protection. Participation in the groups varied among the energy, technology, water and other critical industries.

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