The U.S. is poorly prepared for a major disruption of the Internet, according to a study that an influential group of chief executives will publish today.

The Business Roundtable, composed of the CEOs of 160 large U.S. companies, said neither the government nor the private sector has a coordinated plan to respond to an attack, natural disaster or other disruption of the Internet. While individual government agencies and companies have their own emergency plans in place, little coordination exists between the groups, according to the study.

"It's a matter of more clearly defining who has responsibility," said Edward Rust Jr., CEO of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., who leads the Roundtable's Internet-security effort.

Other companies with leaders active in the effort include FedEx Corp., International Business Machines Corp., Dow Chemical Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., CA Inc., Alcoa Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

The study points out that a massive Web disruption could potentially paralyze banks, transportation systems, health-care providers and voice calling over the Internet.

The chief problem: There are so many public and private institutions that handle security-related tasks that their responsibilities often overlap, creating inefficiencies that can bog down an emergency response, according to the study.

Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal (free content)