CYBERCOM planning major exercises to detect and defend against hacking of U.S. power grid

( Amid rising cyber threats to the U.S. power grid, financial sector and other critical infrastructure by nation-states and independent hackers, U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) is conducting large-scale exercises this week as part of an ongoing training cycle.

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, Cyber Guard 16, the name of the exercise, originates from CYBERCOM’s Fort Meade, Maryland-based headquarters, and is the latest annual exercise involving scores of military and civilian personnel responsible for the nation’s cyber defense.

Others involved in the exercise include Pentagon, FBI and Homeland Security officials, as well as players from the private sector.

“Cyber Guard offers a fascinating, realistic (but not predictive) scenario of a cyber attack of significant consequence on U.S. critical infrastructure,” Maj. Gen. Paul Nakasone, head of the command’s National Mission Force, said in recent days, as the WFB noted/

Nakasone’s team is charged with defending military networks from cyber attack. He is also commander of a military unit that would be tasked with countering and responding to cyber attacks and other threats against critical U.S. infrastructure.

The exercise, which is scheduled for a full month, will highlight cooperation between interagency security divisions and appropriate private sector entities that are most likely to be targeted by hackers and cyber actors, Nakasone told Federal News Radio, the WFB reported. The exercise is scheduled to conclude June 29.

Cyber Guard 16 will take place amid heightened concerns in Congress and the White House that not enough is being done to protect the nation’s power grid, which many experts believe is the most critical of 16 different elements of the nation’s vital infrastructure, since most others require power in order to function. Plus, some doomsday experts have predicted that large-scale loss of power for an extended length of time in the U.S. would lead to millions of deaths and mass social chaos.

Earlier this spring CYBERCOM commander Adm. Mike Rogers said he wasn’t sure that the Pentagon could defend against multiple cyber attacks simultaneously against the nation’s power grid.

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