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Key resources are

publicly or privately controlled resources essential to the minimal operations of the economy and government.[1]
[a] publicly or privately controlled asset necessary to sustain continuity of government and/or economic operations, or an asset that is of great historical significance.[2]


"The notable element of this definition is the emphasis on "minimal operation." This can be a helpful distinction in sectors where operational levels can be clearly delineated (e.g. from minimal to optimal). The power grid is one such example, where a complex network is required to produce real-time feedback in order to balance precisely between demand and supply, often across national borders."[3]


  1. 6 U.S.C. §101(10).
  2. NICCS, Explore Terms: A Glossary of Common Cybersecurity Terminology (full-text).
  3. Cyber Security and Global Interdependence: What Is Critical?, at 15.