The heat of this summer has been a burning reminder of how much we rely on a power grid that is resilient to attacks and events such as EMP. On November 16-17, 2021, more than 700 planners participated in GridEx VI to exercise their response and recovery plans in the face of simulated coordinated cyber and physical attacks on the North American bulk power system and other critical infrastructure. GridEx is the largest grid security exercise in North America, and the outcomes and lessons learned from GridEx exercises help improve the security of the North American grid. Hosted every two years by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC), GridEx gives E-ISAC member and partner organizations a forum to practice how they would respond to and recover from coordinated cyber and physical security threats and incidents.
Leading that invaluable effort, along with additional NERC and E-ISAC initiatives to strengthen this critical infrastructure sector, is Manny Cancel, who assumed the role as NERC senior vice president and chief executive officer of E-ISAC in January 2020. He is responsible for the management and oversight of the E-ISAC and leading security operations and information sharing, threat intelligence and analysis, and stakeholder engagement initiatives designed to protect critical electricity infrastructure in North America. Cancel also serves as the E-ISAC’s key representative to important constituencies, such as the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC), government partners, and key industry groups, and leads the E-ISAC’s strategic planning initiatives.
Prior to joining NERC, Cancel served as Con Edison’s chief information officer (CIO) leading all aspects of information technology, including cybersecurity initiatives. In this capacity, he also supported various industry initiatives, serving as chair of the sector’s Cyber Mutual Assistance Program and supporting the Member Executive Committee (MEC), an advisory group formed out of the ESCC that provides guidance to the E-ISAC. Prior to assuming the role of CIO at Con Edison, Cancel held various roles over his 39-year career, including leadership roles in operations, customer service, audit, and information technology. Cancel earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Baruch College and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Johnson School at Cornell University.