Solar Storm Threat to Global Electrical Grid

Solar Storm Threat to Global Electrical Grid

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White House OSTP Releases National Space Weather Strategy and Plan

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about.

As members of the disaster resilience community, we spend a lot of time preparing for potential disasters. We have disaster response and continuity of operations plans for hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, ice storms, and other weather events. But there is a different form of weather that has the potential to create a massive disruption of our critical infrastructure. It is called Space Weather, and it could be caused by a massive solar storm that could severely impact all electrical systems around the globe.

Sounds far-fetched? It isn’t.

“In 2012, NASA said the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with Earth. “If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,” physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado told NASA two years after it happened.

NASA said a direct strike could’ve caused widespread power outages and other damaging effects. More troubling, it cited research which suggests that there is a 12 percent chance of something like this happening in the next decade.”
(The Washington Post)

The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 7:49 p.m. EST on Feb. 24, 2014.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which keeps a constant watch on the sun,
captured images of the event in multiple wavelengths.
Credits: SDO/NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio


Terrorism – A Two-Headed Monster

Terrorism – A Two-Headed Monster

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International and Domestic Terror Threats in the United States

After 9/11, our nation suddenly woke up to the threat of International terrorism and the possibility of attacks on U.S. soil. Despite public anxiety about extremists inspired by Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, the number of violent plots by such individuals has remained relatively low. Since 9/11, an average of nine American Muslims per year have been involved in an average of six terrorism-related plots against targets in the United States. Most were disrupted, but the 20 plots that were carried out accounted for 50 fatalities over the past 13 and a half years.

In contrast, domestic terrorists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities, according to a study by Arie Perliger, a professor at the United States Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center. The toll has increased since the study was released in 2012.

Different researchers use widely different methods of cataloguing violent acts so there is much debate about what constitutes a terrorist act. However, no matter what statistics are used, it is fairly evident that our nation must contend with both foreign-inspired and domestic terrorism.




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Interview with Denise Anderson, HN-ISAC

As our nation moves forward in converting sensitive healthcare information from paper-based systems to electronic records, the cyber-security threats to this sensitive data increases. The responsibility of coordinating the efforts of a wide range of healthcare stakeholders to develop effective cyber and physical security safeguards to protect this data falls upon the National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center or NH-ISAC.

Led by the nation’s health sector, NH-ISAC is recognized by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Health Sector-Coordinating Council (SCC), the US Dept. of Homeland Security, the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), Law Enforcement and the National Council of ISACs (NCI Directorate), representing all national critical infrastructures.

In a recent interview on “Disaster Resilience for America” on Federal News Radio, Denise Anderson, the Executive Director of the NH-ISAC explained the organization and its mission. “The NH-ISAC is a community of the Healthcare Industry and its mission is to enable its members to share information to improve the overall resiliency of the Sector. This mission is enabled by sophisticated threat monitoring information that our members share with each other.”

Discussing the current level of threats to electronic healthcare data, she said, “If you asked me three years ago how we are doing, I would have said we weren’t doing so bad. Now however, obviously the bad guys have healthcare in their crosshairs. We’ve seen major breaches such as Anthem and Blue Cross/Blue Shield and a number of other corporations.”

Its not just basic healthcare data at risk. Anderson explains, “If you look at healthcare data, it’s a rich set of data that goes for high value on the criminal underground for private data, but also, when you look at some of the health data and intellectual property such as pharmaceutical intellectual property and all the research they do and investment data.”Continue



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Interview with Brad Gair, NYU Langone Medical Center

Close along the East River in New York City lie three major hospitals; New York University Medical Center, Bellevue, and the VA Medical Center New York Campus. These three hospitals provide healthcare delivery for most of Manhattan.

During Hurricane Sandy, a combination of storm surge and high tides inundated the entire area encompassing these hospitals. New York University’s Langone Medical Center, which is located only 200 feet from New York City’s East River, suffered severe storm damage. This caused the hospital staff to evacuate many patients under dangerous circumstances. Following the disaster, NYU Langone undertook one of the most successful recovery and mitigation efforts to ensure that this type of scenario will not occur again.




January 2016 Sensitive Information Sharing Environment Working Group

The Sensitive Information Sharing Environment Working Group has been developing a framework to support sensitive operational information sharing over the past year. In December 2015, the first of several agreements was approved providing a foundation for future agreements to support public/private information sharing based on use cases and identity vetting.

The Sensitive Information Sharing Environment (SISE) will provide a mechanism to support the private sector‘s need to share operational information with government. This environment will provide identity vetting and proofing, along with legal, policy, procedure, and technology components that will support multiple use cases across several sectors in the future. (read more)

February 1, 2016 Test-bed Project with NOAA National Weather Service and StormCenter

Working in partnership with NOAA and the National Weather Service, the Multi-State Fleet Response Working Group is conducting a test-bed project with NOAA’s contractor StormCenter Communications, Inc. The purpose of this project is to further develop a visual decision-support tool to support regional decision-making during a disaster.

This unique technology allows for geocollaboration of information in multiple formats from multiple sources. This simple, yet elegant technology allows for public and private sector decision-makers to come together quickly, visualize a number of datasets and data layers, analyze the information, and then make quick decisions. (read more)

March 3, 2016 Drone Webinar Series

The All Hazards Consortium in partnership with DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection, along with the Regional Consortium Coordinating Council conducted a webinar series on the topic of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

According to DHS, this was one of the largest webinars series they have ever conducted. The webinar series focused on three key topic areas:

  1. Drone Technology which addressed the current state of technology, sizes, prices, and capabilities.
  2. The second webinar focused on use cases, threats, and deterrents.
  3. The third webinar focused on policy barriers and recommendations for public/private coordination going forward. (read more)

March 22 Meeting of the Regional Integrated Planning Framework

On March 22, 2016, a meeting was conducted of the Regional Planning Framework, which is comprised of two working groups. The public sector working group called the East Coast Corridor Coalition or EC3 is comprised of state and urban area leaders on the East Coast. The second working group, guided by the private sector, is the Multi-State Fleet Response Working Group (FRWG).

This is a Bi-Annual meeting which brings the leadership together from both working groups to discuss key issues to set agendas and make decisions going forward for the next twelve to eighteen months. (read more)

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FEMA Strategic Foresight Initiative

Thinking Seriously About the Future to Enhance Disaster Resilience

The world is changing in ways that can have major effects on the emergency management community. Thinking more broadly and over a longer timeframe will help us understand these changes and their potential impacts. FEMA launched the Strategic Foresight initiative (SFI) to promote broader and longer term thinking on those changes and their effects.

We’re Looking for a Few Good Interviews!

We Want YOU!The All Hazards Emergency Network (AHEN) was created to allow Public and Private Sector Emergency Management stakeholders to share their insights, ideas and best practices.

Do you have a topic you would like to discuss with our audience in an interview?

Have an article you would like to submit?

Email Tim Karney, the Editor of the
All Hazards Emergency Network at

Make your voice heard on the All Hazards Emergency Network. Contact us today!


Tom Moran explains the Secure Information Sharing Pilot Project being conducted by the Multi-State Fleet Response Working Group. The Group is currently testing the use of Personal Identity Verification Interoperability (PIV-I) cards to establish secure communications between state & local emergency stakeholders and key private sector partners.

Click Above to View the Screencast (Approximately 5 minutes)