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Now for the Hard Part: Renewing Regional Cooperation on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience

Critical infrastructure security and resilience (CISR) has been one of the core priorities for North American regional security cooperation since 9/11. More than a dozen years later, extensive consultation within and between the United States, Canada, and Mexico has finally begun to generate some tangible results, including ongoing information-sharing, the development of cross-border emergency response procedures, and joint exercises. These have been touted by some as signs of meaningful progress, but the nature of the results says more about the weakeness of the regional effort than its strength. To the extent that concrete steps have been taken, the focus has been on anticipating and responding to infrastructure crises, rather than preventing them through deeper protection measures or minimizing their impact through the elimination of points of vulnerability and the creation of systematic redundancies. Without a renewed political commitment to long-range consultation, planning, and spending, the regional CISR agenda will stall, wasting costly investments already made, leaving obvious vulnerabilities unaddressed, and ultimately putting lives at risk.

This is a joint publication with the Canada Institute and the Canadian International Council.


About the Author

Brian Bow

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more

Canada Institute

The mission of the Wilson Center's Canada Institute is to raise the level of knowledge of Canada in the United States, particularly within the Washington, DC policy community.  Research projects, initiatives, podcasts, and publications cover contemporary Canada, US-Canadian relations, North American political economy, and Canada's global role as it intersects with US national interests.  Read more