Private Sector Partnering with FBI

I was at a recent conference where the FBI gave a presentation on its InfraGard program. It is a liaison between the private sector and the FBI and focuses on critical infrastructure, cyber and physical security. Today the program has close to 38,000 members with representatives from more than 350 of the top Fortune 500 companies.

It recognizes that security is everyone's responsibility -- that the more we talk and share with each other in a secure environment the better we can protect the country and our businesses. The group is a partnership that includes the FBI, private business, academics, state and local law enforcement and others. Its goal is the "sharing of information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States." It has also established Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that focus on specific sectors or areas of interest and chemical is one of those SIGs.

InfraGard was started in the FBI Cleveland field office in 1996 and mainly focused on cyber security. It quickly gained popularity and was adopted by the FBI nationwide. After 9/11 its focus broadened to include physical security. The group is organized into chapters that are associated geographically with FBI field offices and territories. An FBI Special Agent Coordinator is assigned to each chapter. The chapters have regular meetings to share information and also invite a variety of speakers from law enforcement and public and private agencies.

In additional to supporting the sharing of information the InfraGard website lists the follow as the objectives of the group:

• Increase the level of information and reporting between InfraGard members and the FBI on matters related to counterterrorism, cyber crime and other major crime programs.

• Increase interaction and information sharing among InfraGard members and the FBI regarding threats to the critical infrastructures, vulnerabilities, and interdependencies.

• Provide members value-added threat advisories, alerts, and warnings.

• Promote effective liaison with local, state and federal agencies, to include the Department of Homeland Security.

• Provide members a forum for education and training on counterterrorism, counterintelligence cyber crime and other matters relevant to informed reporting of potential crimes and attacks on the nation and U.S. interests.

InfraGard is another way to stay informed and connected. Anyone can apply for membership. There is a background check for all potential members because of the sensitive nature of the information being shared. It is a good way to represent your company and develop an effective relationship with law enforcement at all levels.


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