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Transforming Critical Infrastructure: Our Role and Commitment

By Cory Simpson, CEO, ICIT

Cory Simpson, CEO, ICIT
Cory Simpson, CEO, ICIT

A generational transformation of America’s critical infrastructure is underway. The fabric of our daily lives is being reshaped and modernized, from bridges and roadways to power grids and pipelines. This transformation is fueled by three significant pieces of legislation—the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)—which collectively authorize over $2 trillion in federal funding and incentives for the next decade.


This investment aims to modernize and secure our Nation’s infrastructure, bolster our domestic semiconductor industry, and accelerate the transition to a green economy. While many elements must come together to realize this vision, the foundation has been laid, and the opportunity is ours to seize.


This transformation in America is unfolding in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which, like the three preceding industrial revolutions, is ushering radical, global societal change in how we live, work, and engage with one another and the world around us. This global change is characterized by a fusion of technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. Technologies like augmented reality, robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, quantum computing, genetic engineering, system integration (cyber-physical systems), and nanotechnology drive understanding and change at a speed, scope, and scale that humanity has not known. How this technology and increased understanding will impact our critical infrastructure's modernization, security, and resilience is not well understood, but the impact is certain and will be dramatic. 


Complicating things further is increased geopolitical competition between the United States and China and increased armed conflict. The competition between the U.S. and China is centered around technology and infrastructure, where advanced technologies like semiconductors, AI, and quantum computing are front and center along with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which exemplifies China’s strategic focus on infrastructure, aiming to expand its influence by exporting infrastructure projects globally. China’s BRI underscores the importance of infrastructure in global power dynamics. Also, in Ukraine, Gaza, and multiple armed conflicts in Africa, we are witnessing how vital critical infrastructure is to sustaining life for vulnerable populations and how often it is being targeted—especially by Russia in Ukraine—to gain a military or strategic advantage. 


With local-to-global impact, a more volatile physical world characterized by increased extreme weather events and an awareness of the urgent need to transition more quickly from carbon-based to green energy sources profoundly influences how critical infrastructure is being modernized, secured, and made resilient.

In this rapidly evolving and often volatile environment, it is imperative that American infrastructure not only keeps pace but also sets the standard for resilience and security. This will only be achieved through sustained focus by political leaders, policymakers, technologists, scientists, engineers, and business leaders to ensure our children and grandchildren inherit a world where their foundational needs are met. This is why I jumped at the chance to lead the Institute of Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT). 


Founded a decade ago as the first and only think-tank focused exclusively on critical infrastructure, ICIT has established itself as one of the Nation’s most trusted voices in this space. As a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, our approach to community building has earned the trust of government and private sector leaders. Through its events and collaborative initiatives, ICIT serves an audience of over 60,000 subscribers and strengthens public-private partnerships.  


The ICIT community is as diverse as the people depending on critical infrastructure. We are owners and operators of critical infrastructure, policy and security experts, CISOs, political leaders, philanthropists, technologists, and everyday people from big cities and small towns. The modernization efforts we undertake prioritize safety and resilience, addressing people's immediate needs while preparing for future challenges. In doing so, we can create a secure and prosperous future for everyone, ensuring that no one is left behind in this era of unprecedented change.


As the CEO of ICIT, my dedication to this cause is fueled by a desire to see every community thrive with a robust and resilient infrastructure that meets everyone’s foundational needs, including secure housing, energy, food, water, and healthcare. This mission is deeply personal to me. Growing up in a rural community on government assistance with a single, working mother and a little sister, I have firsthand experience of the profound impact that lacking secure access to these essentials can have on a family.


With that sense of purpose in mind, I’m proud to share that – with your help – we are embarking on an expansion of focus to honor that commitment and propel the nonprofit’s mission forward through several upcoming key initiatives to magnifying those real-world implications around why and how improving the security and resiliency of critical infrastructure is paramount to providing for Americans’ most essential needs.


I joined ICIT because of our community and our mission. Together, we will ensure the next generation inherits a world with modernized, secure, and resilient infrastructure that enables them to survive and thrive. As I said in my first address to you as CEO, “Together, there is nothing we cannot do. Thank you for your continued support and partnership in this critical endeavor. Now, let’s get to work!”


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