Critical infrastructure protection policy in the United States is broad and complex. The partnership of actors lead by the Department of Homeland Security incorporates “traditional” areas of infrastructure such as water treatment plants and road construction, but also new areas such telecommunications, banking, the food supply, and information systems or “cyberinfrastrucure.” Critical infrastructure protection policy depends upon these actors working together in large, yet loose partnership to identify and mitigate risks to critical infrastructures. In many cases, however, the only thing that these actors have in common is that DHS has designated them to be “critical infrastructure.” How can DHS exhort participation on the parts of different actors? Is this exhortation working?This article examines the efforts of DHS to build a partnership for CIP by specifically looking at mechanisms by which DHS can build commitment to CIP amongst partners (in this case, actors in sectors). A broader contribution of this article, however, is to assess the relative infrastructure focus or coherence of each DHS-designated sector of CIP that is involved in the national plan to protect critical infrastructure. The article relies upon data from federal budgets, sector participant attention to CIP, congressional hearings, and public laws to examine efforts to build new or leverage existing commitment in partners for CIP. I conclude that many of DHS efforts are working, but that success in building commitment is largely confined to sectors with existing ties to earlier conceptions of CIP.
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