President Trump has signed an executive order that declares foreign cybersecurity threats to the U.S. electricity system a national emergency.
President Trump signed an executive order, May 1, to further secure the U.S. bulk-power system from foreign adversaries that he wrote are “increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities.” The executive order, declaring a national emergency over the hacking threat, bans the “acquisition, importation, transfer, or installation,” of bulk-power system electricity equipment from companies under foreign adversary control.
The executive order also confirmed that a task force had been established, with members including the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence, to work to protect against national security threats to energy infrastructure. What this order did not do is go as far as naming any specific foreign adversaries, nor the companies they may control.
However, President Trump did state that the acquisition or use of bulk-power system electricity equipment “designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied,” subject to the jurisdiction of these unnamed foreign adversaries adds to their ability to “create and exploit vulnerabilities,” with “potentially catastrophic effects.” Acknowledging that an open investment climate needs to be maintained for the growth of the economy, President Trump wrote that this openness has to be balanced with the requirement to protect against a “critical national security threat.”