GAO: Gov’t, Industry Should Coordinate to Address Electromagnetic Risks to US Power Grid System

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power gridThe Government Accountability Office has called for greater coordination between federal agencies and external partner organizations to explore potential approaches to mitigate the impact of electromagnetic pulses on the U.S. electrical grid system.

GAO said Tuesday more opportunities exist within the Department of Homeland Security to assist in federal programs to address electromagnetic risks to grid infrastructure.

The government watchdog found that DHS and the Energy Department did not report implementing efforts to identify critical electric power assets as part of the White House’s National Infrastructure Protection Plan.

GAO added DHS failed to identify internal roles and responsibilities in order to address EMP risks as well as collect risk inputs such as threats, vulnerabilities and consequence data to inform risk assessments of electromagnetic events.

“Enhanced coordination to determine key research priorities could help address some identified research gaps and may help alleviate concerns voiced by industry regarding the costs and potential adverse consequences on grid reliability that may be caused by implementation of [protective] equipment,” the agency noted.

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