US to curb use of foreign electric components in domestic electric grid

US to curb use of foreign electric components in domestic electric grid

US President Donal Trump has signed an executive order that will limit the use of foreign-supplied components in the country’s electric grid, saying that these components poses an “extraordinary threat to national security.”

Trump argues that the US would be safer if more critical systems were manufactured domestically.

The presidential executive order declares a national emergency providing federal oversight over private utility purchases of components from foreign suppliers deemed controlled or influenced by hostile governments.

The order reflects a consensus among US senior intelligence officials that foreign nations including China and Russia might have secured hidden footholds in electric components that could be used to cause blackouts.

Previously, national utility-sector security were largely left to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This is de facto the country’s first federally controlled process for compromised gear already embedded in the electric grid.

The order gives US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette the ability to help retool the security of the US electric grid.

Neal Path

Neal Path is a reporter covering international affairs and defense news. He leads a team of specialist technical journalists and defense forecasting analysts, working across a range of online products. Neal Path is a defense technology specialist and has written widely on most areas of defense technology, but his particular areas of interest include missile defense, precision weapons, naval warfare, sensor capabilities and military operations.