- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The head of U.S. Northern Command said Tuesday’s power outage in the nation’s capital proved backup systems were successful at keeping key agencies up and running but also showed the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure.

Much of downtown D.C. lost power Tuesday afternoon, including the White House and State Department. News reports suggest that the widespread outages were caused by a small explosion at a power plant in southern Maryland.

Adm. Bill Gortney said the fact that power could be wiped out showed vulnerabilities in the electric grid and critical infrastructure that could affect everything from banking to railways if disturbed.

“All of those critical infrastructures are fragile, and when I say fragile it’s because we really don’t know the vulnerabilities, but we try and mitigate them as best we can,” Adm. Gortney told reporters in a briefing at the Pentagon. “But it causes me great concern.”

In the days ahead, Adm. Gortney said he will look at if backup systems worked properly and were adequate to keep key buildings secure during the outages, or if more systems need to be put in place. Just hours after the outage, he said initial indications showed that everything worked as it was supposed to.

“At the moment what I’ve been told is they kicked in and they are working, everyone is back up on backup power,” he said. “So as we look forward to look at how well those back up systems did work, did they perform as advertised? Do we need to strengthen them in some areas?”

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