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Securing the World's Cyber Infrastructure

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CSIS Seminar

The Importance of Protecting Critical Transportation Infrastructure

Speaker:   Michael Lowder, Retd. Director of Office of Intelligence, Security, & Emergency Response at U.S. DOT; Principal, MWL Global Associates
When:   June 8, 2018, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Where:   Engineering Building, Room 4801


In today’s world, transportation is an essential element in everyday life. We all depend on it, in ways that we might not think about, until something goes wrong. Transportation is literally a life line in our society, in our way of life. Our survival, our well-being depend on it. How you say? Think about the food that we eat, how is it produced and get from the field to the processor, to the wholesaler, to the market, and ultimately to us, and our table? Think about what would happen if that transportation system was interrupted? The degree of that impact can vary depending upon a number of factors. What can cause that interruption? We often times think about a terrorist attack on our transportation systems. However, terrorism is not the only threat or risk to our transportation systems and the infrastructure they rely on. We face threats from accidents, natural disasters, man-made incidents, etc. Each of these threats can be just as catastrophic as terrorist attack. So, instead of focusing only on one threat, our protection must be ‘all hazard’ focused. An important concept I would like to talk about is called “Left of Boom”. This means before something happens, not after it happens. It means that we address something before it occurs instead of afterwards. Critical Infrastructure protection is not a “one size fit all” approach in this context. There are many tools that we can utilize to help us better protect our infrastructure, but to be really effective, we must address it “Left of Boom”.

Speaker Bio

Michael Lowder is an internationally recognized expert, with expertise in the Security, Intelligence, Crisis & Emergency Management, Critical Transportation Infrastructure Protection & Resilience, Counterterrorism and Business Continuity fields. In the past, he served as the Director of the Office of Intelligence, Security, & Emergency Response for DOT and earlier also served at FEMA. He is also a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award - Distinguished Executive. He has worked with government and private sector organizations in over 40 countries and brings a wealth of Senior Executive level leadership experience, expertise and guidance in the different areas of Crisis Management. He has provided crisis management leadership at the highest levels of government, and has guided many organizations through the development of highly effective business continuity programs. He has successfully lead efforts to expand the integration of intelligence and information sharing processes across both government and private sector organizations.