The Pentagon is finally taking seriously the fact that threats to the nation’s power grid are a major national security liability. So, to bolster the security of the grid around its military installations in the U.S. and abroad, the Defense Department is considering placing new requirements into contracts regarding infrastructure. Lucian Niemeyer, the assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, thinks that energy grids providing power to U.S. military installations is a key vulnerability and he will address it in any way he can. “We’re here to find out what the most efficient and effective way we can get toward providing resilient power, [and] to provide redundant power to be able to allow us to continue to operate in case something happens to the grid,” Niemeyer said. Any changes to the way military installations handle power will take some time, as, in Niemeyer’s words, “it’s not something that can happen in a year.” However, there are some measures his office is currently considering to begin tackling the two key challenges on the table when it comes to securing the military’s power grid. The challenge is two-fold: Securing the power grid outside military installations, which Niemeyer has less control over, and ensuring bases can continue to operate if external sources of power are cut off. That means installing “microgrid” redundancies on military bases using backup generators and other equipment. “We’re not trying to apply a template, we’re just saying, ‘what does this base really need and what’s the most effective and efficient way to support those critical needs?’” [source]
Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.