Jeff Gaynor

Jeff Gaynor blogs on critical infrastructure and national resilience.

Mr. Gaynor’s national security career spans over 45 years. Mr. Gaynor created and served as the Director of the Emergency Response Senior Advisory Committee and Critical Infrastructure Task Force (CITF) of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC)—the Homeland Security Secretary’s senior advisory body.

Mr. Gaynor has been a leading national advocate for implementation of objectively measurable and sustainable Critical Infrastructure Resilience – and by extension – resilience-based national policies and programs. He has authored articles on resilience, is featured in domestic and international publications and conferences, consults with and has testified before Congress as an expert on Information Sharing, Critical Infrastructure and National Resilience issues.

Mr. Gaynor’s 15 years of policy and program creation and operational experience in the Intelligence, Critical Infrastructure, Mission Assurance, Operational Resilience and National Preparedness arenas includes Defense Intelligence Senior Executive assignments on the Secretary of Defense Staff as Special Assistant for Homeland Security; Acting Principal Director for Security and Information Operations and Director of Year 2000 (Y2K) Operations.

In those capacities Mr. Gaynor:

-Served as a post-9/11 Defense Department Representative to the White House Office of Homeland Security and the Intelligence Community;
-Ensured Joint Staff and operating forces infrastructure performance requirements were integrated into Defense Department operational planning and its Critical Infrastructure Program;
-Coordinated the Defense Department’s Critical Infrastructure, Information Assurance, Counterintelligence, Information Operations, and Security programs; and
-Created and led the operations of the Year 2000 Decision Support Activity (DSA).

Prior to his Senior Executive Service appointment, Jeff served as Special Assistant for Information Systems Security and later as Special Assistant for Information Assurance to the Assistant Secretary for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence. In those capacities, Mr. Gaynor reviewed the scope and adequacy of existing Defense Information Systems Security programs and, as its Principal Action Officer, spearheaded a Secretary of Defense Staff initiative that created Information Assurance policies and established the Defense-wide Information Assurance Program.

Mr. Gaynor is a retired United States Army Colonel. His service encompassed over 30 years of enlisted and commissioned communications, security, armor, infantry, and military intelligence experience. He is the recipient of the Silver Star, the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit.

Mr. Gaynor is the founder of American Resilience Consulting, LLC, a provider of 21st century infrastructure, business, community and national preparedness solutions. He is also an alumnus of George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy institute and is a member of the Executive Advisors Committee of the Council on Competitiveness.

Critical Infrastructure – Making Congress the Scapegoat

Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, speaking before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, made a “dire prediction.” She warned the Senate that if Congress does not give DHS “the authority to designate critical infrastructure and set risk-based cyber security standards for it” [in] “a year or 18 months…we would have suffered a major infiltration or attack, and we will find that some part of our critical infrastructure was a gap.” The Secretary’s prediction and roundabout effort to foist responsibility on the Congress for her Department’s obvious lack of progress in assuring, beyond their protection, the operational resilience of America’s interdependent cyber and physical infrastructure challenges is — at best —ill-conceived.

Critical Infrastructure Resilience – Effectively Addressing America's Achilles Heel

Today’s reality is the Internet is the repository of a huge and growing amount of code (including malware) whose origin and ultimate purpose are unknown. Yet, well-intentioned, repeated government calls for action have not and will not fix a problem enabled by globally deployed technologies. There has been (and continues to be) a great deal of rhetoric and staff activity on the subject, rhetoric is not results and activity is not accomplishment. The current approach to ensuring the operation of America’s critical infrastructures can only be characterized as lessons-observed because we have failed to change our behavior.

Resilience – The Foundation of National Preparedness

In the wake of “National Preparedness Month,” over the weekend the first edition of the National Preparedness Goal (NPG) was released. The NPG correctly recognizes resilience as a fundamental component of national preparedness – a desired outcome. The issue, however, is not what America can do but rather what America will do. There can be little doubt that since 9/11, America is far more physically protected. However, contrary to the assertion in the NPG, and as protected infrastructure failures and nature-driven consequences continue to demonstrate, America is anything but more prepared.

Resolving a Clash of Cultures – A Mission versus Organizational Focus

As America approaches the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, DHS veterans and homeland security practitioners are reassessing the Department’s performance and the direction the Department must take to continuously improve its operations and address the security and operational resilience challenges before the nation. At DHS, two cultures (one mission focused and one organizationally focused) remain operative. These near mutually exclusive and competing cultures are responsible for the historic and continuing “challenges” facing DHS.

Defining Resilience for America's Critical Infrastructure

Despite near-continuous pronouncements on the topic of resilience, the Administration decided not to define resilience in its latest Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-8: National Preparedness. It is precisely the difficulty of nationally defining resilience that should compel the government to do so. Deciding not to define resilience and its application to the Nation’s infrastructure condemns America to continuous validation of Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.”

Homeland Security Advisory Council: Empowering Critical Infrastructure and National Resilience

Yesterday, the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) released the recommendations of its Community Resilience Task Force (CRTF), which argue that it is impossible to build a resilient nation upon protected yet aged, overstressed, exploitable and consequence-amplifying infrastructure foundations.