Through the context of our discussions thus far in class we have talked at great lengths about CI/KR and the problems that plague our National security. After discussing risk and the risk assessment model, how then do we tip the scales in our favor in regards to the threats against our CI/KR sectors?
One area that I believe is overlooked more often than not is the Food and Agriculture (FA) sector. Making up one-fifth of the Nation’s economic activity, one-fifth of the agricultural production is exported creating $144.1 billion in revenue, solidifying the US economy and making it the backbone of our society. This fact alone generates a great threat not only to the economy, but also the population of the United States. Given the vast consumption of food and agricultural resources in the US, any significant threat or action against this CI/KR sector would have vast consequences across the country. Be it natural disaster, terrorist activity or any number of other potential hazards, we must, as a Nation and department, mitigate the potential risks against this sector.
Within FA sector, there are internal sections that provide regulation and security from within. They are the Food and Drug administration (FDA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). These departments provide safety standards and protections with the products themselves, whether it be from contamination or a biological or chemical hazard, but there are other threats that they can’t protect against. Supply, storage and transportation also pose potential risks to the Food and Agriculture section, not to mention the human error that can affect any step of the process (from farmer/grower to seller).
Vast fields of corn, wheat, soybeans and hay make up approximately 350 million acres across the United States. How do we prevent against any potential threat against that magnitude of land mass? The reality is that we don’t. It comes down to individual or private entities protecting their self interest in those crops. After the production phase is where the government or private companies can step in with oversight and security protocols. Is there a large gap in this? Yes. But how do we mitigate that risk?