On 11 May the first direct railway connection in history between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan was opened in the presence of the Kazakh and Turkmen presidents. The inaugurated railway line is part of the North-South project which links Central Asia (and China and Russia) with the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. The last section of the line will be completed by the end of this year and will ensure Iran and Turkmenistan are connected. The current capacity of the railway line is 3-5 million tonnes annually and estimations predict that in the medium term this figure will increase to 10 million tonnes annually. The construction of the new railway line has been financed by the countries involved in this project and the Asian Development Bank (as part of the CAREC programme). This route will be used above all for exports of Kazakh wheat and oil as well as for the transit of goods to and from Afghanistan, including oil products which are now transported mainly through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
This week the ISN takes a closer look at the fluid, expanding threat to those assets which are essential to the proper functioning of society and economy. Governments are finding that answers to the question of how best to protect this ‘critical infrastructure,’ ranging from telecommunications to transportation systems, remain elusive.
The Special Report contains the following content:
- An Analysis by Dr Myriam Dunn Cavelty of the ETH Center for Security Studies examines a dual challenge facing governments: how best to protect critical infrastructure from attack and how to most quickly rebound following an inevitable attack.
- A Podcast interview with researcher Jennifer Giroux explores the blurring of lines between political and criminal intent in pipeline attacks.
- Security Watch stories about cybersecurity threats from Washington to Estonia.
- Publications housed in our Digital Library, including a recent Center for Security Studies’ paper on the challenges of public-private cooperation for critical infrastructure protection.
- Primary Resources, like the full text of the US Department for Homeland Security’s ‘National Infrastructure Protection Plan.’
- Links to relevant websites, among them the Critical Infrastructure Protection Blog, which provides extensive information on CIP programs in the US and Europe.
- Our IR Directory with relevant organizations, including the Center for Secure Information Systems at George Mason University that examines information secrecy, integrity and availability problems in military, civil and commercial sectors.