Military Readiness for Power Grid Cyberattacks

military readiness

Military readiness is a critical yet often overlooked aspect of emergency preparedness.  We depend on military personnel to help keep us safe, but the role of the military during a large-scale utility outage caused by terrorism or system hacking has not been adequately defined.  Luckily, this is about to change.

H.R.3855 – Securing the Electric Grid to Protect Military Readiness Act of 2017

H.R. 3855 was introduced by Rep. Jacky Rosen in September 2017, and it requires the secretaries of defense, energy, and homeland security to produce a report by the end of the year outlining a plan to maximize military readiness during times of extreme need.  The report will address risks to defense assets, plans for overcoming targeted network disruptions, and the desirability of isolating military infrastructure.  Read this article to learn more about these requirements.

H.R. 3855 is one of several related bills and government plans that have been introduced recently.  Even former president Obama, before leaving office, commissioned the development of an action plan to make the grid more resilient.

Impact on Utility Emergency Planning

These efforts are definitely beneficial to utility emergency preparedness.  Military readiness includes processes to keep people safe, clear roadways, maintain order, and obtain and allocate resources, all of which align with electric, water and gas utility restoration & recovery efforts.

Although attacks to our nation’s power grid are rare, there is evidence that these incidents will increase going forward, which makes now the perfect time to take a hard look at military plans and protocols applicable to such events.  The bottom line is that an increase in military readiness for malicious attacks on water, gas and electric infrastructure can only help to enhance the efficiency of utility outage restoration efforts as well.

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