‘Energy Infrastructure: How Vulnerable Is It?’

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‘Energy Infrastructure: How Vulnerable Is It?’

SPEAKER: Ambassador R. James Woolsey

Chairman, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Former Director of Central Intelligence (1993-95)

TIME: 12.45 – 1.45pm, Wednesday 5th March 2014

VENUE: Committee Room 9, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

To attend please RSVP to:

The threat to critical electronic infrastructure, which underpins modern civilisation from natural or nuclear electromagnetic pulses, is one which government agencies from the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as leading insurance industry experts, have identified as both serious and potentially imminent. Such events may be caused by severe space weather, such as the 1989 Hydro-Quebec geomagnetic storm, by weapons detonation at the hands of terrorists or rogue states, by climate change, or through cyberattacks, and could ultimately lead the collapse of other infrastructure including water provision, transportation, communications and finance, and by extension, the very ability of a society to operate.

Unfortunately, so far very little has been done to deal with this vulnerability. Many electric utilities have not yet acted to protect themselves, particularly in the US, where the sheer number of providers and responsibility of government to respond to security threats makes this a slow and difficult process. The introduction of the ‘Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act’ to the US Congress, which would authorise the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to order emergency measures to protect critical electric infrastructure and require operators to implement protective measures, is one potential step that governments around the world could follow. However, a more general shift in the focus of governments and businesses is needed as well.

By kind invitation of the Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP, The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to a discussion with Ambassador R. James Woolsey, Chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Former Director of Central Intelligence (1993-95). Ambassador Woolsey will discuss the emerging risk faced by our energy infrastructure, and will examine ways in which this can be countered. He will identify the potential sources, both natural and man-made, of the threat, and will stress the importance of government action in mitigating these risks.


Ambassador R. James Woolsey, a former Director of Central Intelligence, chairs the board of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and is a Venture Partner with Lux Capital Management.

Woolsey also currently chairs the Strategic Advisory Group of the Washington, D.C. private equity fund, Paladin Capital Group, and the Advisory Board of the Opportunities Development Group, and he is Of Counsel to the Washington, D.C. office of the Boston-based law firm, Goodwin Procter. In the above capacities he specialises in a range of alternative energy and security issues.

Mr. Woolsey previously served in the U.S. Government on five different occasions, where he held Presidential appointments in two Republican and two Democratic administrations. From July 2002 to March 2008 Mr. Woolsey was a Vice President and officer of Booz Allen Hamilton, and then a Venture Partner with VantagePoint Venture Partners until January 2011. He was also previously a partner at the law firm of Shea & Gardner in Washington, D.C., now Goodwin Procter, where he practiced for 22 years in the fields of civil litigation, arbitration, and mediation.

During his 12 years of government service, in addition to heading the CIA and the Intelligence Community, Mr. Woolsey was the Ambassador to the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), Vienna, 1989– 1991; Under Secretary of the Navy, 1977–1979; and General Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, 1970–1973. He was also appointed by the President to serve on a part-time basis in Geneva, Switzerland, 1983–1986, as Delegate at Large to the U.S.–Soviet Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) and Nuclear and Space Arms Talks (NST). As an officer in the U.S. Army, he was an adviser on the U.S. Delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I), Helsinki and Vienna, 1969–1970.

Ambassador Woolsey currently serves on a range of government, corporate, and non-profit advisory boards and chairs several, including the Advisory Boards of the Clean Fuels Foundation and the New Uses Council, and he is a Trustee of the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments. Previously he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents of The Smithsonian Institution, and a trustee of Stanford University. He has also been a member of The National Commission on Terrorism, 1999–2000; The Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the U.S. (Rumsfeld Commission), 1998; The President’s Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform, 1989; The President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management (Packard Commission), 1985–1986; and The President’s Commission on Strategic Forces (Scowcroft Commission), 1983.

Ambassador Woolsey has served in the past as a member of boards of directors of a number of publicly and privately held companies, generally in fields related to technology and security, including Martin Marietta; British Aerospace, Inc.; Fairchild Industries; and Yurie Systems, Inc. In 2009, he was the Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and in 2010-11 he was a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

Ambassador Woolsey was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and attended Tulsa public schools, graduating from Tulsa Central High School. He received his B.A. degree from Stanford University (1963, With Great Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa), an M.A. from Oxford University (Rhodes Scholar 1963–1965), and an LL.B from Yale Law School (1968, Managing Editor of the Yale Law Journal).

Ambassador Woolsey is a frequent contributor of articles to major publications, and from time to time gives public speeches and media interviews on the subjects of energy, foreign affairs, defence, and intelligence. He is married to Suzanne Haley Woolsey and they have three sons, Robert, Daniel, and Benjamin.

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