WASHINGTON, May 1, 2020 – In an effort to better protect the electric grid from attacks from foreign adversaries, President Trump today signed an Executive Order, “Securing the United States Bulk Power System,” banning the purchase and installation of some equipment for power plants and the transmission system, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

In response, Jim Cunningham, executive director of Protect Our Power, issued the following statement:

“This Executive Order is an important first step — one that Protect Our Power supports — to address dangerous cyber-related vulnerabilities in the electric sector supply chain. The order highlights a looming threat that Protect Our Power and other security experts have identified for some time now.

“In November 2018, Protect Our Power and security firm Ridge Global issued a report that assessed our nation’s increasing dependence on foreign suppliers. More recently, in conjunction with Ridge Global, we released a report in late February that examined cybersecurity risks in the power industry’s supply chain and called for a collaborative effort among buyers, sellers and regulators to build an acceptable supply chain protocol to assure the integrity of the industry’s supply chain. We continue to work on this project and today’s action highlights the importance of that effort.

“And only weeks ago, the Cyberspace Solarium Commission issued a report with recommendations aimed at better securing our nation’s critical infrastructure, including the electric grid which is vital to the ability of so many other critical sectors to continue functioning. The commission’s report specifically stated the United States ‘can limit market access to untrusted or high-risk vendors where the risk of supply chain compromise is unacceptable.’

“The president’s Executive Order appropriately empowers the Energy Secretary to act with input from the new Task Force established in the order. This should allow for needed coordination between our intelligence agencies and Homeland Security to implement timely and informed actions. This also highlights the pressing need to establish in-depth protocols to guide the actions of buyers, sellers and regulators to assure the cyber integrity of our nation’s electric sector supply chain.

“While we should be sensitive not to dramatically increase costs to consumers, we absolutely must work more urgently and comprehensively to better secure the supply chain and protect Americans from the consequences of a high-impact cyberattack.”

Media Contact:

Steve Kerekes
Protect Our Power