In his paper –Interdependency Effects on the Electricity Grid Following a ‘Black Sky’ Hazard Jonathon Monken says the interdependencies of the grid is both its strength and its weakness. Monken presented the paper at the 15th Annual Conference on Systems Engineering Research Disciplinary Convergence: Implications for Systems Engineering Research held in Redondo Beach, Calif., in March 2017.  He gives editor credit to: Azad M. Madni, Barry Boehm Daniel A. Erwin, Roger Ghanem; University of Southern California Marilee J. Wheaton, The Aerospace Corporation.

Monken is PJM Interconnection’s Senior Director, System Resiliency and Strategic Coordination, and is one of the panelists at the upcoming NetDiligence Cyber Risk & Privacy Liability Forum. He begins the paper with an overview of the operations of a Black Sky triggering event — an Electromagnetic Pulse attack, or EMP — and demonstrates how it can have an impact “far larger than anything experienced.” 

“[D]ue to the interdependencies between the electricity, natural gas, and communications infrastructures, the large scale of the EMP triggering event introduces failure modes not experienced in previous power outages. . . . [S]ystems and processes developed for recovering from more common hazards will not be able to correct these new types of failures . . . .  [A]ttempting to recover by using these conventional procedures actually has the potential to damage additional equipment, placing recovery farther away than ever.” Read the complete paper. Download it now.