In the past few decades, extreme events such as natural disasters, industrial accidents, and high-profile terrorist attacks in the United States and other parts of the world have highlighted the importance of having a disaster-resilient infrastructure. Critical infrastructure includes the assets, systems, facilities, networks, and other elements that society relies upon to maintain economic vitality, public health and safety, and national security.
The federal government has designated four critical functions: transportation, water, energy and communications. Each one of these functions requires a reliable operation, and they are so critical that a disruption or loss of one of these functions will directly affect the security and resilience of physical and cyber infrastructure within and across numerous sectors. The interconnectivity of these lifeline functions adds to the complexity of the resulting network such that disruption of one or more functions has a direct impact on the everyday activities of society. Indicators have shown that potential extreme natural, accidental and malicious events are increasing in frequency and severity, and this creates opportunities for research and engineering efforts to create methods to mitigate vulnerabilities or, at least, minimize the consequences of catastrophic events.