Attacks on the Energy Grid and the Future of Democracy

Sarah Lohmann

Sarah Lohmann

AICGS Senior Cyber Fellow

Dr. Sarah Lohmann is currently the Senior Cyber Fellow with the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She manages projects which aim to increase agreement between Germany and the United States on improving cybersecurity and creating cybernorms. Since 2010, Dr. Lohmann has served as a university instructor at the Universität der Bundeswehr. She achieved her doctorate in political science there in 2013, when she became a senior researcher working for the political science department. Dr. Lohmann also serves as Communications Lead Faculty at the University of Washington, where she teaches classes on big data and preventing disinformation and misinformation and has helped develop a new Emerging Technology Certificate.

Prior to her tenure at the Universität der Bundeswehr, Dr. Lohmann was a press spokesman for the U.S. Department of State for human rights as well as for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (MEPI). Before her government service, she was a journalist. She has been published in multiple books, including a handbook on digital transformation, Redesigning Organizations: Concepts for the Connected Society (Springer, 2020) and written over a thousand articles in international press outlets. Her current areas of research include cybersecurity as it relates to election security, national security, transatlantic relations, energy, international law, and big data.

AICGS’ Senior Cyber Fellow Sarah Lohmann spoke on “Attacks on the Energy Grid and the Future of Democracy” and “Confidence Building Measures for Transatlantic Cooperation” at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on March 7 and 8. The conference was jointly supported and contributed to by AICGS at Johns Hopkins University, the Naval Postgraduate School’s Energy Academic Group, Virginia Tech, the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence, and the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, among others. Academic and military participants from across NATO and Partnership for Peace countries gathered at NATO to discuss how to best protect the energy sector from hybrid threats.

Dr. Lohmann noted that the energy sector has the infrastructure that has been the most frequently targeted by cyberattacks. She talked about how new risks to the sector increase as it becomes increasingly reliant on IoT, smart grids, and smart devices. As Europe and the United States face similar challenges, Dr. Lohmann discussed options for burden sharing and a long-term innovation strategy. The group aims to work jointly on a “Research Roadmap” to prevent hybrid threats to the energy sector.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.