Cybersecurity and Physical Security

Trump signs executive order aimed at securing bulk-power system

President Donald Trump on May 1 signed an executive order that authorizes U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette to work with the Cabinet and energy industry to secure the country’s bulk-power system (BPS).

The EO, which the American Public Power Association is currently reviewing, prohibits federal agencies and U.S. persons from acquiring, transferring, or installing BPS equipment in which any foreign country or foreign national has any interest and the transaction poses an unacceptable risk to national security or the security and safety of American citizens.

“Evolving threats facing our critical infrastructure have only served to highlight the supply chain risks faced by all sectors, including energy, and the need to ensure the availability of secure components from American companies and other trusted sources,” DOE said in a news release. 

Under the executive order, the Secretary of Energy is authorized to do the following:

  • Establish and publish criteria for recognizing particular equipment and vendors as “pre-qualified” (pre-qualified vendor list);
  • Identify any now-prohibited equipment already in use, allowing the government to develop strategies and work with asset owners to identify, isolate, monitor, and replace this equipment as appropriate;
  • Work closely with the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior; the Director of National Intelligence; and other appropriate federal agencies to carry out the authorities and responsibilities outlined in the executive order

In addition, a task force led by Brouillette will develop energy infrastructure procurement policies to ensure national security considerations are fully integrated into government energy security and cybersecurity policymaking, DOE noted.

The task force will consult with the energy industry through the Electricity and Natural Gas Subsector Coordinating Councils to further its efforts on securing the BPS.

The Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) includes CEOs and executives from electric companies, public power utilities, and rural electric cooperatives, as well as their trade association leaders, who represent all segments of the electric power industry.

Kevin Wailes, administrator and CEO of Lincoln Electric System, serves as co-chair of the ESCC, while Joy Ditto, President and CEO of APPA, serves on the ESCC Steering Committee.

The full text of the executive order is available here.