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Utility Vulnerabilities Jeopardize Missions, Security

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Army Environmental Command
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Army is making a renewed effort to protect electrical, natural gas and water service to its installations in the face of cyber and physical threats and other potential disruptions. “Without energy and water, the Army fails,” said Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham, the assistant Army chief of staff for installation management, in recent congressional testimony.

“The Army views sustainability of energy, water and land resources as mission enablers,” Bingham said, noting that an Army directive issued in February sets new requirements for installations to maintain a minimum 14-day availability of energy and water to enable critical missions. “This requirement, tracked by new installation energy and water security metrics, is a key step as we embed energy and water security into Total Army readiness posture and make strategic investment decisions to reduce the greatest vulnerabilities first.”

Utility disruptions are nothing new to military installations, but the primary cause has been aging equipment that breaks down rather than security threats from physical attacks on utilities to cyber threats that could disrupt technology networks required for modern utilities.

The Army is taking a three-pronged approach to the problem. It is stepping up security and defenses against threats, reducing energy demands, and working with private partners on renewable and alternative energy sources for installations, she said.