Public-Private Partnerships for Critical Infrastructure Protection
August 19, 2013
The last twenty years have been an experiment in how to adapt traditional governmental bureaucracies to a new environment that reflects the growing role of private actors as well as the transnational nature of the world today. One approach to this has centered on the public-private partnership approach as outlined in the Presidential Decision Directive 63 (PDD-63), signed by President Clinton in 1998.
Generally, project-oriented public-private partnerships have been more successful than process-oriented public-private partnerships. The former’s missions tend to be more clearly defined, include a definite timeline, and usually enjoy a greater sense of urgency and support among senior leadership. On the other hand, institutionalizing process-oriented public-private partnerships has proved more challenging. The goals of such partnerships are often less clearly defined. Still, some process-oriented partnerships, namely in the financial and IT sectors, have developed sustainable models of success, which will be outlined in greater detail in this report.
Five common elements emerged from an analysis of the various forms of collaboration: senior leadership support, leadership in the partnership, institutional design, incentives and value, and proper timing. Senior leadership support was crucial for the Y2K project to effectively institutionalize collaboration in the financial sector. Senior leadership support facilitates the provision of resources to build up operational capacity, adds urgency, provides assistance in crucial moments, and helps break dependencies. Exercising effective leadership by those implementing the partnership is equally important to achieve early results and form the proper foundation for further growth. Such leadership is particularly important to ensure a smooth transition in the early stages of the partnership.
Still, institutions can only flourish if they have been designed intelligently. Such design includes a sustainable funding model, a clear division of labor, and the identification of appropriate counterparts. Their success is ultimately dependent on the underlying incentive structure, which can be partly influenced endogenously, creating value for the participants early on, and through specific and focused projects. Preferences and the cost-benefit perceptions of the participating actors will ultimately determine the success or failure of the partnership.. A sense of urgency helps to create a bond between the public and the private sectors, fostering a willingness to collaborate and achieve a common vision, ultimately allowing the partnership to mature and endure. The longevity of the partnership depends on the interplay between these factors and is a dynamic process with periods of both weak and strong performance.
The first part of this report outlines a short history of how public-private partnerships for critical infrastructure protection have evolved. The second part constitutes a mapping of the current system. It is followed by an analysis of three examples of collaborative governance, one project-oriented and two process-oriented partnerships. Part four summarizes the lessons learned outlining what makes public-private partnerships work. Methodologically, this research is based on a review of existing literature, complemented by 38 qualitative and semi-structured interviews with experts in government, the private sector, and academia.