CISA Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released the Version 2.0 (attached) of its Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce advisory list on March 28 to help state/local entities protect their communities while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety as well as economic and national security. PCCA submitted comments on a previous version of this guidance last week. CISA noted that the list should not be considered a federal directive or standard but is intended to be the exclusive list of critical infrastructure sectors, workers, and functions. It “identifies workers involved in the construction and services that are typically essential to the viability of maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, including preforming the construction who support crucial supply chains and enable functions for critical infrastructure.”

More to come, but here’s where are we are now. “Version 2.0” of this report is attached. These bullets on essential workers are pulled directly from Version 2.0.  

Communications

  • Engineers, technicians and associated personnel responsible for infrastructure construction and restoration, including contractors for construction and engineering of fiber optic cables, buried conduit, small cells, other wireless facilities, and other communications sector-related infrastructure. This includes construction of new facilities and deployment of new technology as these are required to address congestion or customer usage due to unprecedented use of remote services;
  • Maintenance of communications infrastructure- including privately owned and maintained communication systems and manufacturers and distributors of communications equipment;
  • Installation, maintenance and repair technicians that establish, support or repair service as needed;
  • Central office personnel to maintain and operate central office, data centers, and other network office facilities, critical support personnel assisting front line employees;
  • Customer service and support staff, including managed and professional services as well as remote providers of support to transitioning employees to set up and maintain home offices, who interface with customers to manage or support service environments and security issues, including payroll, billing, fraud, logistics, and troubleshooting;
  • Dispatchers involved with service repair and restoration;
  • Retail customer service personnel at critical service center locations for onboarding customers, distributing and repairing equipment and addressing customer issues in order to support individuals’ remote emergency communications needs, supply chain and logistics personnel to ensure goods and products are on-boarded to provision these front-line employees; and 
  • External Affairs personnel to assist in coordinating with local, state and federal officials to address communications needs supporting COVID-19 response, public safety, and national security.

Electricity industry

  • Workers who maintain, ensure, or restore, or are involved in the development, transportation, fuel procurement, expansion, or operation of the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power, including call centers, utility workers, engineers, retail electricity, constraint maintenance, and fleet maintenance technicians- who cannot perform their duties remotely;
  • Workers at renewable energy infrastructure (including, but not limited to wind, solar, biomass, hydrogen, geothermal, and/or hydroelectric), including those supporting construction, manufacturing, transportation, 
  • Permitting, operation/maintenance, monitoring, and logistics;
  • Workers at generation, transmission, and electric black start facilities;
  • Mutual assistance personnel which may include workers from outside of the state or local jurisdiction; and 
  • Environmental remediation/monitoring workers limited to immediate critical needs technicians.

Transportation and Logistics

  • Employees supporting or enabling transportation functions, including truck drivers, bus drivers, dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, and towing/recovery services; 
  • Workers including truck drivers, railroad employees and contractors, maintenance crew, and cleaners supporting transportation of chemicals, hazardous, medical, and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions, and services, including specialized carriers, crane and rigging industry workers; 
  • Automotive repair, maintenance, and transportation equipment manufacturing and distribution facilities; 
  • Manufacturers and distributors of packaging materials, pallets, crates, containers, and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging and distribution operations; and
  • Workers critical to rental and leasing of vehicles and equipment that facilitate continuity of operations for essential workforces and other essential travel.

Critical Manufacturing

  • Workers necessary for the manufacturing of metals (including steel and aluminum), industrial minerals, semiconductors, materials and products needed for medical supply chains, and for supply chains associated with transportation, energy, communications, information technology, food and agriculture, chemical manufacturing, nuclear facilities, wood products, commodities used as fuel for power generation facilities, the operation of dams, water and wastewater treatment, processing and reprocessing of solid waste, emergency services, and the defense industrial base. Additionally, workers needed to maintain the continuity of these manufacturing functions and associated supply chains, and workers necessary to maintain a manufacturing operation in warm standby; 
  • Workers supporting the energy sector, regardless of the energy source (including but not limited to nuclear, fossil, hydroelectric, or renewable), segment of the system, or infrastructure the worker is involved in, or who are needed to monitor, operate, engineer, and maintain the reliability, safety, environmental health, and physical and cyber security of the energy system; 
  • Providing services related to energy sector fuels (including, but not limited, petroleum (crude oil), natural gas, propane, natural gas liquids, other liquid fuels, nuclear, and coal), supporting the mining, processing, manufacturing, construction, logistics, transportation, permitting, operation/maintenance, security, waste disposal and storage, and monitoring of support for resources; and
  • Manufacturing and distribution of equipment, supplies, and parts necessary to maintain production, maintenance, restoration, and service at energy sector facilities (across all energy sector segments).