A major cyber attack will one day disrupt life as we know it in the United States.
The then-Obama administration official stated during a speech that it was a matter of “when” not “if” the power grid would go down due to a cyber attack. Many feel that smart grid technology and an increase in the installation of smart meters will make the power grid even more susceptible to hackers.
Janet Napolitano described her time heading the Department of Homeland Security as successful because no terror attacks occurred during her tenure.
Napolitano spoke at length about the need to prepare for a downed power grid caused by hackers. The vulnerable electrical grid system in the United States is also ill-prepared for a direct hit by a solar flare (CME) or an EMP attack. As previously reported by Off The Grid News, the power grid achieved a D+ rating by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The outgoing DHS secretary was speaking in front of the National Press Club.
“Our country will, at some point, face a major cyber event that will have a serious effect on our lives, our economy and the everyday functioning of our society,” Napolitano said. “While we have built systems, protections and a framework to identify attacks and intrusions, share information with the private sector and across government, and develop plans and capabilities to mitigate the damage, more must be done, and quickly.”
Napolitano acknowledged that terrorist threats against the United States have not subsided, but she said the federal government and intelligence agencies have become more “flexible” and “nimble” at dealing with such dangers.
Little is being done to mitigate the threat to the grid.
The SHIELD Act has been stalled in Congress for weeks. Of course, protecting the power grid should not be a partisan issue but looked at as an integral part of America’s national security plan. An economic collapse and civil unrest would surely follow a downed power grid, regardless of the cause for the massive outage.
Janet Napolitano had this to say in applauding the efforts of FEMA during Hurricane Sandy:
“After the storm passed, FEMA sent teams into impacted areas to set up Disaster Registration Centers and conduct damage assessments. For the first time, we activated the DHS Surge Capacity Force, an all-volunteer corps that we created in 2011 to leverage the shared talents and experience and capabilities of employees from across the department.”
The report card from the National Society of Civil Engineers said the number of power outages in the United States has grown from 76 in 2007 to 307 in 2011. The major outage figures do not take into account all of the smaller outages which routinely occur due to seasonal storms.
The American Society of Civil Engineers power grid grade card rating means the energy infrastructure is in “poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of their service life.” The report card said a “large portion of the system exhibits significant deterioration” with a “strong risk of failure.”
Concerns about a power grid failure are rarely discussed by the mainstream media. Continuing to ignore the mounting issues surrounding the viability of the power grid and both the man-made and natural threats the system faces could soon leave millions of Americans in the dark, shuttering in the cold, rubbing their empty bellies and thinking about just how important the power grid is (or was), for the very first time.