12/04/2010 02:49 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Happy Critical Infrastructure Protection Month: Let's Invest

December is Critical National Infrastructure Protection Month. And, it's about even more than safeguarding our homeland in a post-9/11 world through securitizing our airports, information systems, and financial institutions from attacks.

Like President Eisenhower, President Obama sees targeted investments as central to ensuring that our critical national infrastructure promotes our national security. In his proclamation establishing December as Critical Infrastructure Protection Month, Obama says:

My Administration is committed to delivering the necessary information, tools, and resources to areas where critical national infrastructure exists in order to maintain and enhance its security and resilience. I have proposed a bold plan for renewing and expanding our Nation's infrastructure, including its critical infrastructure, in the coming years.

Eisenhower looked abroad at how other countries were using infrastructure to protect their own homelands. Particularly the German Autobahn. Germany's high quality national road system investments meant that it could use its roads as a platform to launch attacks and move munitions. According to Eisenhower, a national road system was essential to move our forces across the country quickly in case of a coastal attack.

Obama too realizes that a high quality critical national infrastructure is essential for national security. However, unlike Eisenhower who faced twentieth century security challenges, Obama and America must address twenty-first century ones.

On this front, Obama has drawn a key lesson from the impact of President Eisenhower's security-directed investments - the federal highway system came to be the foundation of our post-War boom. As were our military investments during the Cold War which created the Internet which laid the foundation of today's American economy.

In other words, infrastructure investments feed our economic growth which is our best guarantor of, in fact essential to - in the words of the proclamation -

the security, economic welfare, public health, and safety of the United States.

Investing in economic growth to ensure our national security is certainly something bipartisan. The Department of Homeland Security's National Infrastructure Protection Plan makes clear that our success depends upon us coordinating all levels of government (federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial) and also the private sector. This insight applies to our re-investment in American infrastructure - we must create public-private-partnerships united in a common purpose.

Moreover, as Chris Matthews speaks eloquently about - it's about patriotism - investments in a genuinely national infrastructure can ensure that we are not a fly-over nation but a sea-to-shining-sea one.