The term infrastructure has been around since 1927. It usually refers collectively to roads, bridges, rail lines, and similar public works that are required for an industrial economy, or a portion of it, to function. This often includes telecommunications facilities, such as telephone lines and microwave towers. The term has had specific application to the permanent military installations necessary for the defense of a country.    1
  Perhaps because of the word?s technical sound, people now use infrastructure to refer to any substructure or underlying system. Big corporations have their own financial infrastructure of smaller businesses, for example, and political organizations have their infrastructure of groups, committees, and admirers. This political sense may have originated during the Vietnam War in use by military intelligence officers, whose task it was to delineate the structure of the enemy?s shadowy organizations. Today we hear that conservatism has an infrastructure of think tanks and research foundations and that terrorist organizations have an infrastructure of people who are sympathetic to their cause. This extended use referring to people does not sit well with the Usage Panel, however. Seventy percent found it unacceptable in the sentence FBI agents fanned out to monitor a small infrastructure of persons involved with established terrorist organizations.    2