Dr. Frédéric Petit

Risk and Infrastructure Science Center, Global Security Sciences Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Computation Institute, University of Chicago




1047 ERF



The United States faces significant challenges in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters. Of particular concern are the impacts that natural hazard and manmade threats, including cyber threats, have on the Nation’s critical infrastructure systems. Enhancing the protection and resilience of U.S. infrastructure has emerged as an urgent goal—a goal made more challenging by the complexity of these systems and their inherent interdependencies. Consideration of critical infrastructure interdependencies analysis and their integration in risk management and business continuity processes are important elements of the Presidential Directive 21 on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience (PPD-21), the 2013 National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), and the Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Program (PS-Prep™).

All of these documents from the strategic level through the operational standards support a change of paradigm from purely protective approaches to a combination of security and resilience measures. Furthermore, they require the consideration of interdependencies that can exist among infrastructure and how they affect security, and resilience management. However, none of these documents define dependency or interdependency and how they should be integrated into risk and resilience management processes. This is certainly deliberate to provide flexibility on the selection of risk assessment and management approaches. However, it makes difficult the operationalization of the concepts presented.

Assessing infrastructure protection and resilience requires consideration of many interconnected socioeconomic, ecological, climatic, and technical elements. These interconnections mean that disruption or failure of one element can lead to cascading failures in others. Interdependencies among infrastructure systems lead to a level of complexity that masks many systemic risks. As a result, an impact to a single node or link—the proverbial “single point of failure” that is often hidden deep within these interconnected systems—can result in important economic and physical damage on a city-wide, regional, or even national or international scale.

To manage all phases, types, and dimensions of interdependencies, and address the entire resilience management spectrum, a scalable approach is needed that uses all available data and integrates currently separated capabilities. There is no standardized methodology (or combination of methodologies) to consider interdependencies. Depending on the scope of the project, specific approaches are developed and implemented.

This presentation will provide an overview of conceptual elements for assessing and modeling infrastructure interdependencies, resilience, and risk; and propose a roadmap defining the four phases for developing a comprehensive and holistic interdependency assessment.


Frédéric Petit is a Research Scientist specializing in critical infrastructure interdependencies and resilience at Argonne National Laboratory. With a background in earth sciences and civil engineering, Dr. Petit has focused on risk management and business continuity since 2002. Dr. Petit leads the development of methodologies for the assessment of preparedness, mitigation, response, recovery, and overall resilience capabilities of facilities, communities, and regions. He also lends his expertise to work on risk, vulnerability and threat analysis of critical infrastructure. Dr. Petit received his PhD from the École Polytechnique de Montreal in Civil Engineering, focusing on vulnerability analysis techniques for critical infrastructure cyber dependencies. Dr. Petit is member of various program committees for conferences, such as the Symposium on Risk Management and Cyber-Informatics (RMCI) and the National Symposium on Resilient Critical Infrastructure, and has recently been appointed Regional Director for North America of the International Association of Critical Infrastructure Protection Professionals (IACIPP).

Host: Dr. Sybil Derrible

Launch Event