The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

The US is unprepared for attacks on critical infrastructure: RAND simulation

The United States is unprepared for attacks on critical infrastructure, according to a wargame simulated by the RAND Corporation.

Prepared for the head of the US spy community — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) — the RAND report, “Defending the United States Against Critical Infrastructure Attacks: Exploring a Hypothetical Campaign of Cascading Impacts” details a wargame from earlier this year called “Inverted Rook,” which simulated multiple attacks on critical infrastructure.

The authors note that although this scenario is a hypothetical use case of a future adversarial campaign, it is based on real-world examples that have targeted “communications, financial services, health care, municipal services, energy, transportation, and water.”

“The US government and other critical infrastructure stakeholders are not postured to successfully address multiple simultaneous attacks on US critical infrastructure”RAND, Inverted Rook, June 2024

In this fictional scenario, the motivation behind the simulated attacks was to interrupt US involvement in a conflict overseas by creating havoc, chaos, and mayhem on American soil through a combination of physical and cyber attacks on critical infrastructure.

These include:

  • Physical attacks on electrical substations
  • Ransomware attacks on government services
  • Malware attacks on power grids
  • Disruptions in transportation
  • Hackers remotely poisoning water treatment facilities
  • Cyber attacks on Wall Street

“Because of the interconnected nature of critical infrastructure systems, it is probable that damage to one system will adversely affect another”RAND, Inverted Rook, June 2024

The ripple effect from each attack, either simultaneously, or one after another would lead to:

  • Government services being shut down
  • Power outages affecting hospitals, transportation, refrigeration, heating, etc.
  • Sickness and death from poisoned water, hypothermia, exposure, civil unrest, etc.
  • Financial services being disrupted
  • Splitting factions between those blaming domestic extremists, foreign adversaries, and their own government
  • The inability of government to go after foreign adversaries in order to deal with all the domestic chaos

Read more at The Sociable

Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.


© 2024 The DEFCON Warning System. Established 1984.

The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.