By Chuck McCutcheon
Newhouse News Service
WASHINGTON — A pipeline shuts down in Alaska. Equipment failures disrupt air travel in Los Angeles. Electricity runs short at a spy agency in Maryland.
None of these recent events resulted from a natural disaster or terrorist attack, but they may as well have, some homeland security experts say. They worry that too little attention is paid to how fast the country's basic operating systems are deteriorating.
"When I see events like these, I become concerned that we've lost focus on the core operational functionality of the nation's infrastructure and are becoming a fragile nation, which is just as bad — if not worse — as being an insecure nation," said Christian Beckner, a Washington analyst who runs the respected Web site Homeland Security Watch (www.christianbeckner.com). Continued.