Abstract: The United States is (belatedly) waking up to the risk that adversaries will use social media and botnets to influence U.S. elections. However, we have only begun to analyze how adversaries might conduct information operations in the United States to help advance other political goals, especially during intense crises or escalating cyber conflicts. Strategies to counter such information operations in the U.S. homeland do not exist. To help begin filling that gap, this presentation examines the risk that adversaries will combine cyberattacks on the power grid with disinformation campaigns, tailored to maximize the disruptive effect of blackouts and gain leverage over U.S. leaders for conflict resolution. The presentation also proposes how the electric industry can build on its expertise for “unity of messaging” in hurricane-induced outages, and partner with government agencies to meet the very different (and vastly more difficult) challenges of countering information warfare.
Speaker Bio: Paul Stockton is the Managing Director of Sonecon LLC, an economic and security advisory firm in Washington, DC. Before joining Sonecon, Dr. Stockton served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs from May 2009 until January 2013. In that position, he helped lead the Department’s response to Superstorm Sandy and other disasters. Dr. Stockton also guided Defense Critical Infrastructure Protection policies and programs. Dr. Stockton was twice awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, DOD's highest civilian award. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and a BA from Dartmouth College. He is the author of Superstorm Sandy: Implications for Designing a Post-Cyber Attack Power Restoration System and numerous other publications on cybersecurity and infrastructure resilience.