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Iowa Unclear on the Concept of 'Critical Assets' for Homeland Security Protection


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I see a Krispy Kreme drive thru made it on the list of 'critical assets' :doh:

State's list of 'critical assets' trimmed by thousands



January 6, 2006

Thousands of public facilities and tourism spots that were characterized as "critical assets" by Iowa homeland security officials have been removed from a list of sites most worthy of protection from a terrorist strike.

The state's list of 11,600 critical assets, reviewed by The Des Moines Register last summer, has been pared to 1,360 entries after consultation with business leaders, researchers and security experts. Hundreds of dams, schools and family farms were removed from the list, while some icons such as county courthouses and the 35-story Ruan Center in downtown Des Moines were added.

The list is intended for use by police, fire and emergency crews to pinpoint Iowa's most vulnerable or potentially crowded locales. But state records show that key officials in three-fourths of Iowa's counties have not read the updated list, and nearly one-fourth have seen neither list.

"Our survivability depends on how well we can protect our critical infrastructure," David Miller, the state's homeland-security chief, said. "Not everybody, in truth, is fully engaged in it. I can't guarantee it's being used as a planning tool."

Strained process

Efforts to identify and protect America's critical assets at the state and federal levels have been slow and strained, as governments struggle to reach a consensus on what qualifies. As a result, many states have bogged down their lists with questionable entries, which has hindered plans to improve security measures where they are most needed.

Just as members of the national 9/11 Commission last month lambasted the federal government for moving too slow to identify critical assets, national-security experts continue to question some of the choices on Iowa's list.

Included are the Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville, the Boone Railroad Museum, the De Soto National Wildlife Refuge in Harrison County, and the Grotto of the Redemption shrine in West Bend.

A decision by emergency-management officials to keep a watchful eye on food-production facilities resulted in critical-asset designations for Sprouts Unlimited Inc., a vegetable producer in Marion; Snappy Popcorn Co. in Breda; and a Krispy Kreme drive-through in Clive.

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