Inaugural Alabama Power Grid Defense Conference 2016 (PGDCon 2016)

September 20-21, 2016
U.S. Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) Education and Training Facility (ETF) and Huntsville Marriott Huntsville, Alabama


The purpose of this inaugural two-day 2016 Power Grid Defense Conference in Huntsville is to spearhead crucial and long-overdue initiatives to safeguard electrical power grids in the United States from natural and man-made threats. The Conference will address some of the causes and threats to life in the case of catastrophic power grid loss. It will provide a platform for appeals to the federal government to take concrete actions; while enabling parallel efforts at both State and local levels in formulating contingency and risk mitigation plans. Huntsville's unparalleled foundation in defense and space programs provides the wealth of expertise and the credibility needed to rally support for this cause and stimulate future conferences addressing this topic.

To accomplish this, the first day would be the conference with a series of guest speakers and panel discussions with a special dinner event speaker (Ambassador Henry F. Cooper - Former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Office (SDIO). The second day will be a smaller planning committee meeting, by invitation only, to develop an action plan to get Alabama to harden its power grid, and to approach the US congress after that. The final program book can be found here. A big special thanks to U.S. Space and Rocket Center for the use of their facility and break items.

Sponsors and Supporters

Event hosted by:

Our Speakers



Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, a Congressional Advisory Board dedicated to achieving protection of the United States from electromagnetic pulse (EMP), cyber-attack, mass destruction terrorism and other threats to civilian critical infrastructures on an accelerated basis. Dr. Pry also is Director of the United States Nuclear Strategy Forum, an advisory board to Congress on policies to counter Weapons of Mass Destruction. Dr. Pry served on the staffs of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States (2008-2009); the Commission on the New Strategic Posture of the United States (2006-2008); and the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attack (2001-2008). [Learn More]



Ambassador Henry F. Cooper

Ambassador Henry F. (Hank) Cooper is Chairman of the Board of High Frontier, a non-profit, non-partisan educational corporation, formed to examine the potential for defending America against missile attack. Founded by General Daniel O. Graham in the early 1980's, High Frontier played a key role in developing the framework for President Ronald. [Learn More]



Mitzi Adams

Mitzi Adams is a solar scientist for NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), where she studies the magnetic field of the Sun and how it affects the upper layer of the solar atmosphere, the corona. Ms. Adams, a daughter of Atlanta, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics with a mathematics minor from Georgia State University. In 1988, the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and NASA made her an "offer she couldn't refuse" and she moved to Alabama, where she earned a Master of Science degree in physics and began work at NASA/MSFC. With a professional interest in sunspot magnetic fields and coronal bright points, friends have labelled her a "solar dermatologist". [Learn More]



Brig. Gen. Ken Chrosniak (U.S. Army, Ret)

Ken Chrosniak enlisted in the Army in 1965, was commissioned through Officer Candidate School, and went on to serve 37 years of combined duty in the Regular Army, Army Reserve, and the National Guard. Ken was promoted by New York Governor George Pataki in 2005. He has an undergraduate degree in Secondary Education from Daemen College, a Master in Education from Saint Bonaventure University, and is an Army War College graduate. He has served in varied command and staff assignments in the U.S. and overseas, including Vietnam, Bosnia, Kuwait, and Iraq. [Learn More]



Dr. David Falconer

Dr. David Falconer is a research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 1994 with a Ph.D. in Physics. He began using vector magnetograms to study coronal heating. In 2000, he started looking into quantitative methods of forecasting flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from active region magnetic measures. In 2008, Dr. Falconer partnered with NASA/SRAG to develop MAG4 (short for magnetogram forecast) which is an automated flare/CME forecasting tool. MAG4, unlike the earlier basic research, is Research to Operations (R2O). MAG4 became active in 2011 with the new Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)/(Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager) HMI line-of-sight magnetograms which were available for near-real-time forecasting. [Learn More]



Jay Kurowsky

Jay Kurowsky, President and CEO of Aleta Technologies, has extensive experience via careers as a U.S. Army civilian and as an officer in both large and small corporations. This experience includes serving as the Chief of the Information Operations Division of the Communications-Electronics Command. He built this Division from his own concept to be the Army's largest provider of security Certification and Accreditation and other services where he supported over 1,000 systems across the Army. [Learn More]



Dr. Tommy Morris

Dr. Tommy Morris currently serves as Director the Center for Cybersecurity Research and Education (CCRE) and Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Dr. Morris received his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering in 2008 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX with a research emphasis in cyber security. His primary research interests include cyber security for industrial control systems and electric utilities and power system protective relaying. [Learn More]



Gale Nordling

Mr. Nordling is the President and CEO Emprimus. Mr. Nordling has 35 years' experience as an engineer, risk manager, risk management and insurance consultant, and expert witness. He has been involved with the preparation, negotiation, settlement, litigation, arbitration, mediation, and insurance coverage of over $500 millions of claims and contract disputes for engineers, contractors, suppliers and owners including universities, hospitals, states, airlines, casinos, and utilities. [Learn More]



Steven Smith

Dr. Steven P. D. Smith, Ph.D. is a retired physicist with careers spanning 40+ years at Redstone Arsenal's Army Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) starting as research aerospace engineer/general engineer working on diverse projects from various Army field missile systems, ballistic missile defense propulsion and propellant technology, nuclear effects research on propellants and propulsion systems to chemically-pumped and nuclear-pumped lasers. [Learn More]

Final Conference Schedule

Energy Huntsville Meeting, Sept. 20 at USSRC ETF (a seperately charged event by Energy Huntsville)

8:30 AM - 10:30 AM Risk Management Framework: Made Simple Stephen Brewster, Cybersecurity Manager Johnson Controls

Power Grid Defense Conference - Meeting 1, Sept. 20 at USSRC ETF

Session 1. The Threat
12:00 PM - 12:10 PM Welcome and Why a Space Group Advocates Power Grid Defense Greg Allison, Conference Chair
12:10 PM - 1:00 PM Full Spectrum Power Grid Threats - What We Must Do Dr. Peter V. Pry, Executive Director of the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security, a Congressional Advisory Board
Session 2. Cyber Attacks on the Power Grid
1:00 PM - 1:25 PM Cybersecurity for the Power Grid Jay R. Kurowsky, President & CEO Aleta Technologies, Inc.
1:25 PM - 1:50 PM Power Grid Cyber Security Dr. Tommy Morris, Director, Center for Cybersecurity Research and Education, UAH.
1:50 PM - 2:00 PM Break
Session 3. Solar Coronal Mass Ejections (CME)
2:00 PM - 2:50 PM CME Panel Discussion Dr. David Falconer - UAH/NASA Solar Research Scientist;
Mitzi Adams, Solar Scientist, NASA MSFC
2:50 PM - 3:00 PM Break
Session 4. Electro Magnetic Pulse - The Toughest Threat
3:00 PM - 3:30 PM EMP Physics and Effects Dr. Steven Smith, US Army EMP Expert, Retired
3:30 PM - 4:00 PM Protecting the Grid From EMP Gale Nordling, EMPrimus
4:00 PM - 4:30 PM What Must Be Done to Protect the Grid Brig. Gen. Ken Chrosniak (Ret), EMPact America
4:30 PM - 4:40 PM Potential EMP Impacts on Nuclear Power Plants Brig. Gen. Ken Chrosniak (Ret) and Greg Allison
Session 5. Closing Remarks - A Call to Action
4:40 PM - 5:00 PM A Call to Action Dr. Peter V. Pry and Greg Allison

Power Grid Defense Conference - Meeting 2 Main Dinner Event, Sept. 20 at Huntsville Marriott Ballroom

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Cash Bar, Social and Networking
7:00 PM - 7:30 PM Dinner
7:30 PM - 8:00 PM Opening Remarks Greg Allison and Dr. Peter V. Pry
8:00 PM Defending Our Power Grid Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, Former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO)

Power Grid Defense Conference - Meeting 3, Sept. 21 at Huntsville Marriott

8:30 AM - 11:00 AM Legislation and Regulations for Alabama to Harden it's Grid. How to get these Items through the legislature, Public Services Commission, and Governors Office
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Lunch on Your Own
1:00 PM - Till Forming an Alabama Power Grid Advocacy Group, Political Action Network, and plans to get proposed legislation, and regulations approved