NERC Gets It

Press Release
Michael J. Assante Named as NERC Chief Security Officer

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PRINCETON, N.J., August 18, 2008 – The North American Electric Reliability Corporation announced today that Michael J. Assante has been named its new Chief Security Officer. The move comes as part of the organization's plans to improve its response to cyber security and critical infrastructure protection concerns for the bulk power system in North America. In this newly created position, Assante will formally establish Critical Infrastructure Protection as one of NERC’s program functions, alongside its existing standards development, compliance and enforcement, and reliability assessment programs. Assante will also serve as the single point of contact for the industry, NERC’s Electric Sector Steering Group, and government stakeholders seeking to communicate with NERC on cyber and infrastructure security matters. Assante will officially begin at NERC on September 2. Assante comes to NERC from the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Labs (INL) as a widely recognized expert and visionary in the fields of security and infrastructure protection. Assante also presently serves as a sitting member of the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency of the United States. Prior to assuming his strategic leadership position at INL, Mr. Assante was a vice president and Chief Security Officer at American Electric Power, one of the largest generators of electric power in the U.S. “Accepting this position with NERC has offered me the opportunity to help ensure that the bulk power system in North America remains as reliable as possible,” commented Assante. “I look forward to working closely with the many experts in the NERC community and Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. governments who have helped to bring cyber security and critical infrastructure protection to the forefront of reliability concerns. I firmly believe that these issues are our industry’s greatest challenge. My new role at NERC will allow me to become a stronger part of their solution.” “The leadership and expertise Mike brings to NERC will improve our organization’s ability to effectively address cyber security and critical infrastructure protection while adding greater depth to our overall management team,” commented Rick Sergel, president and CEO of NERC. “We are pleased to bring him on board.” The North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) mission is to ensure the reliability of the bulk power system in North America. To achieve that, NERC develops and enforces reliability standards; assesses adequacy annually via a 10-year forecast and winter and summer forecasts; monitors the bulk power system; audits owners, operators, and users for preparedness; and educates, trains, and certifies industry personnel. NERC is a self-regulatory organization, subject to oversight by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and governmental authorities in Canada. Learn more at