Cyber-Attacks, Attacks on the Grid, Electromagnetic Pulses and Geomagnetic Storms, Oh My!

June 6, 2011
Cyber Security, FedCyber Wire
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via Green Tech Media

R. James Woolsey, the CIA Director under President Clinton, has said it would be hard to intentionally design an electricity delivery system more vulnerable and fragile than the one on which the U.S. presently relies.

Few in government or grid-related work disagree with Woolsey — not even the Republicans and Democrats on the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power that met for testimony on The Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense (GRID) Act (H.R. 5026). The grid must really be in trouble.

The GRID Act would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) emergency authority to respond to imminent physical and cyber-threats to the bulk-power transmission system and electric infrastructure critical to homeland security (on being so directed by the President).

The Act also instructs FERC to identify where the U.S. grid is vulnerable to cyber-attack, Electromagnetic Pulses (EMPs) and solar activity-driven geomagnetic storms and to develop standards to rectify these vulnerabilities.

Astonishingly in this stridently partisan time, the GRID Act was passed by voice vote in the House last year, though it succumbed in the Senate to election-year grandstanding.

“We must be more vigilant in securing the nation’s critical infrastructure, including the electrical grid,” said Subcommittee Chair Ed Whitfield (R-KY), opening the hearing.

“This bill represents the type of legislation that advances the security interests of all Americans and shows what can be accomplished when we choose to work together in a bipartisan manner,” added Ranking Member Bobby Rush (D-Il).

Continued here.