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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) announced its contribution of $750K in funding to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies (PIPS), an independent, non-partisan, science and technology think tank. Drawing on their capabilities in data analytics, cybersecurity, and deep learning, PNNL and PIPS will jointly generate findings and recommendations for CESER to understand geopolitical-based cyberactivity and its implications on U.S. energy security.

“The well-being of our entire society and economy depends on reliable energy sources. It’s therefore crucial to clearly understand how geopolitical risks can spawn malicious cyberattacks from our adversaries,” said CESER Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Sean Plankey. “This collaboration with PNNL and PIPS will enable us to better understand the geopolitical aspects of the global energy market and draw clear connections between international developments and potential threats to U.S. energy security.”

Over the next nine months, PNNL and PIPS will use analysis from at least 10 geopolitical events to create a final report detailing types of threats that exist and the energy industry sectors that are most vulnerable to them. PNNL will then use trends identified to deliver an analytical toolset that CESER can use to identify and analyze new potential threats.  The ability to better understand the threats will enable new and specific mitigation measures.

DOE is committed to continuous collaboration with its partners at the national laboratories and in industry to address the potential threats facing America’s energy critical infrastructure.

“The threats to our energy security and infrastructure from hostile actors around the world are continuously evolving and often influenced by world events,” said Carl Imhoff, Electricity Infrastructure Sector Manager at PNNL. “By better understanding the geopolitical context in which these threats evolve, this CESER-sponsored project will help us anticipate new threats to the nation’s energy security and develop effective mitigation strategies.”