In the News – This Week in Critical Infrastructure: Week of August 1, 2016

Posted: August 5, 2016 at 11:25 am

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This Week in Critical Infrastructure, we have articles discussing energy, transit, and the potential that elections might someday be considered critical infrastructure. First, from Foreign Policy, a piece on the biggest threats facing the electric grid, and they might not be what you think. Then, from the DCist, a look at a recent derailment on the Washington, D.C. metro system and its ties to aging infrastructure. Finally, the New York Times reports on comments from U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson on the need for greater protection of the nation’s election systems in the wake of reports that Russian hackers may have infiltrated the networks of Democratic Party officials.


The Threat to America’s Electrical Grid Is Much Bigger Than You Can Possibly Imagine

In this Argument piece from Foreign Policy, the author discusses why hackers, cyberwar, and EMPs are far from the greatest threats faced by the United States electrical grid on a daily basis. While these all have the potential to cause devastation, the electric grid has this year already suffered 67 combined days of outages affecting over six million people, and the source may surprise you.

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From WMATA, Derailment Likely Result of Deteriorating Infrastructure

From the DCist, Rachel Sadon reports on the latest information from a recent incident on the Washington metrorail system. Following a derailment of a train carrying 75 passengers near the East Falls Church metro station in Northern Virginia last week, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is now reporting that the incident was the result of deteriorating track infrastructure near the station. Ties on the tracks near the station degraded, resulting in a widening of the space between tracks. This comes in the midst of WMATA’s SafeTrack accelerated maintenance program and a series of highly publicized safety incidents affecting the metrorail system.

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U.S. Seeks to Protect Voting System From Cyberattacks

From the New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis reports on the latest reactions to recent revelations that the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee were hacked, resulting in the public leak of sensitive and embarrassing e-mails. Suggestions that these attacks originated in Russia have raised concerns that the integrity of U.S. elections may be at risk. Some officials, including Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, have suggested that the nation’s election system should potentially be designated as critical infrastructure.

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Write to the Editors at ciprpt@gmu.edu