As we wrap up this year’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month blog series, I hope you now have a better understanding of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) commitment to protect the Nation’s power grid and oil and natural gas infrastructure from the cyber threat – a rapidly-evolving challenge that requires strong partnerships and a sustained focus on preparedness, cyber incident response and recovery, and innovative research, development, and demonstration of resilient energy delivery systems.

Next month, we will join our partners from industry and the public sector at GridEx IV, the exercise hosted every two years by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). These exercises, which simulate scenarios of cyber and physical attacks on the grid, are designed to test and improve the electricity sector’s ability to respond. Participants at GridEx IV will include representatives from electric utilities, Federal and regional government agencies, critical infrastructure cross-sector organizations such as Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs), and supply chain stakeholders. My colleagues and I look forward to again participating in this important activity.

Exercises such as GridEx are a critical component of our collaborative efforts with industry and government partners and provide an important opportunity to test frameworks and how they will function in real time. In the event of an incident, DOE would be responsible for collecting, evaluating, and sharing information on our energy infrastructure, and working with Federal, state, and local entities and industry to ensure robust response and recovery efforts.

Just as the focus on cybersecurity awareness in October encourages Americans to learn more about how to better protect themselves in the cyber world, November’s Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month is intended to generate greater awareness of the Nation’s commitment to strengthen and maintain secure and resilient critical infrastructure sectors. As the Department of Homeland Security notes, critical infrastructure, including the Nation’s power grid and oil and natural gas infrastructure, is vital to the safety, prosperity, and well-being of our communities and businesses.

As threats evolve, we will continue working closely with our private and public partners to protect against all hazards – both manmade and natural – and help ensure the secure, reliable and resilient flow of electricity needed for the vital services that Americans rely on every day.

To learn more about the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability’s efforts to drive electric grid modernization and resiliency in the energy infrastructure, visit the OE website.


Patricia A. Hoffman
Acting Assistant Secretary Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Electricity
more by this author