Simulated attack on the US power grid planned for Wednesday — Thursday

November 12, 2013

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is quietly planning to launch a simulated attack on the U.S. power grid on Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 13–14) called GridEx II, according to an unpublished document obtained by KurzweilAI from NERC.

The updated objectives for GridEx II are:

• Exercise the current readiness of the electricity industry to respond to a security incident, incorporating lessons learned from from a former exercise, GridEx 2011.
• Review existing command, control and communication plans and tools for NERC and its stakeholders.
• Identify potential improvements in physical and cybersecurity plans, programs, and responder skills.
• Explore senior leadership policy doctrine and triggers in response to major grid reliability issues.

“During the one and a half days of the live exercise play, participants will receive sequenced email messages (“injects”) that detail notional scenario conditions,” the document says. “Based on this information, participants will engage in both internal response measures and external information sharing activities across the sector. An Exercise Control cell, based in Washington, D.C., will manage scenario distribution, monitor exercise play and capture response activities.”

The exercise is not open to media or non-participants.

No further information was available from NERC, but according to, “the participants include 65 utilities and eight regional transmission organizations. They will respond and interact just as they would in a real emergency.”

A power-grid outage was depicted in the recent National Geographic docudrama “American Blackout” (video below). As noted in  a recent analysis by the Langley Intelligence Group Network (, “If National Geographic’s docu-drama is unrealistic about anything, it understates the threat by creating a scenario in which a nationwide blackout lasts just 10 days. Among seven U.S. government studies conducted since 2004, a consensus has emerged that the electric power industry is not prepared to cope with manmade or natural EMP threats that could inflict a nationwide blackout lasting not days, but months or years.”