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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 1, 2011 9:00am-12:00pm EDT

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representatives and the congress as a whole. first of all, the department of defense is not in the lead for energy security in the united states. for the federal government, that's my colleagues at the department of energy, department of homeland security, department of defense is in support of them. but let me emphasize the department of defense cannot execute its core missions in service of this nation unless we have a secure flow of commercial electric power. and that's for a simple reason. the department of defense depends for its energy, 99% on the commercial sector. we don't own the commercial sector. we never will. we have no regulatory authority over it. but we're utterly dependent on the flow of that commercial power. let me talk a little bit about why that's the case. in the modern way of warfare, since 9/11, our forces deployed
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abroad fighting in afghanistan and iraq, operating elsewhere, depend to an increasing extent on military facilities back here in the united states, to conduct and support those operations, to generate, deploy, and operate forces abroad, we depend on military facilities and the state's represented here today. and if there's an interruption in the flow of commercial power to those facilities, for a short period, they have backup power generation. but for a longer disruption of the grid, we'd be facing a situation of potentially devastating effects on our conduct of defense operations abroad. and we could face serious challenges at home. i'll talk about those consequences in a moment. but first i want to talk a little bit about the nature of the threat. first of all, the cyberthreat is
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something we take very, very seriously. that's why i'm so strongly in support of the administration's cybersecurity legislative proposal. but i want to emphasize that cyber is only one of the threat vectors that the nation faces. simple kinetic attacks intelligently conducted by the adversary could have significant disruptive effects on the flow of commercial power to department of defense facilities in the united states. we heard congressman franks speak eloquently about the risk of solar flares, again, something we take very, very seriously. mr. chairman, looking at you and the ranking member, the states that you're from, as well as other states represented here, i'd like to turn for a moment to the new madrid fault and the threat that earthquakes owes as a sort of representative way of looking at the nature of natural hazards. and the natural level exercise
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we just conducted two weeks ago that had a 7.7 earthquake on the new madrid fault and our friends at nerc estimated there would be a multistate long-term power outage, long term, weeks, potentially month. rolling blackouts in chicago and in the east coast. and what i'd like for you to think about is the downstream effects of such an event, both on critical department of defense operations in fort campbell, for example, every place else, all the facilities represented here today, but also in the immediate area. two things to think about. first of all, the way that the loss of electric power would magnitude the scale of the catastrophe to which we would all be responding. municipal water systems in memphis and elsewhere, they depend on the flow of commercial power. when that power stops, drinking
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water gradually gets turned off. and in a situation like a new matry fault, gas lines are going to be broken, fires are going to be breaking out. where is the water pressure to fight those fires? where is the gas to fuel the trucks that would be going to fight the fires or collect water elsewhere? because, of course, as you all know, gas pumps and diesel pumps -- they run on electric power. we very quickly would be in a situation where we need to get emergency diesel power flowing to nuclear power plants, state emergency operation centers, everything else required to deal with the disaster and this would be in a situation where roads and bridges are down and there is so much demand for backup diesel power compared to the amount of diesel fuel that's prepositioned at these facilities. these examples are the kinds of
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ways that these disasters would be magnified but i'm looking at it franchise additional perspective. the department of defense would be supporting the governors of your states through fema, of course, and there would be big demand to provide additional support. at the same time that our response operations would be severely disrupted. with the loss of electric power, how are we going to receive the massive forces would be coming in at the request of governors? how are we going to stage them? move them forward? these are challenges that we need to take on very, very seriously. the department of defense is doing so and i want to do briefly is talk about some of the remediation efforts we're taking. first of all, we're working closely with the department of energy to partner together in the federal government so we can reach out to industry and find out how we can work together with industry to provide industry with what we'd call the
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better design basis to ensure the resilience of the electric power grid. against all of these hazards, i believe today's power grid has very strong resilience. but it's not designed for the kinds of threats that we're talking about today. above all, cyber or carefully designed kinetic attacks. we need to work together with industry to find a way to enable them to build more resilience into the grid and then inside the department of defense family, we need to do a better job of securing the flow of electric power to our critical defense facilities in all of the states represented here today to make sure that single points of failure on the flow of electric power coming in, we take care of those problems and we remedy those in partnership with the utilities in the same neighborhoods as our military facilities. mr. chairman, i look forward to answering your questions.
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>> thank you, mr. stockton. mr. mcclelland, you're recognized for a 5-minute opening statement. >> thank you. mr. chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the privilege to appear before you today to discuss the security of the power grid. my name is joe mcclelland, and i'm the director of the office of electric reliability at the federal regulatory commission. i'm here today as a commissioned staff witness and my remarks do not necessarily represent the views of the commission or any individual commissioner. in the energy policy act of 2005, congress entrusted the commission with a major new responsibility to oversee mandatory enforceable reliability and cybersecurity standards for the nation bulk care system. this authority in section 215 of the federal power act. it is important to note that the authority under section 215 is under the quote bulk power system end quote which clues alaska and hawaii, transmission facilities in certain large cities such as new york as well as local distribution systems. under section 215, ferc cannot
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author or modify reliability or cybersecurity standards. but must depend upon an electric reliability to have this task. nerc as the ero. the ero developing and proposes cybersecurity standards or modifications for the commission's review. which it can then either approve or remand. if the commission approves the proposed cybersecurity standard, it becomes mandatory in the united states applying to the users, owners and operators of the bulk power system. if the commission remands a proposed standard, it is sent back to the ero for further conversation. puberty -- in january of 2008, ferc approved 8 cybersecurity standards known as the critical infrastructure protection or
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standards but directed nerc to make significant modifications to them. compliance with these eight standards first became mandatory on july 1st, 2010, although nerc has filed and the commission has approved some modification to the standards, the majority of the commissions directed modifications to the cip standards have not been addressed by nerc. it's not clear how long it will take the cip standards to be modified to take care of the gaps in them. the smart grid technologies are to the system greater protections will be required given that this technology provides more access points thereby increasing the grid's vulnerabilities. the cybersecurity standards will apply to some but not most smart grid applications. moreover, there are non-sybiler threats that pose national security concerns. naturally occurring events or physical attacks against the power grid can cause equal or greater destruction and cyberattacks and the federal government should have no less
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ability to protect against them. one example is electromagnetic pulsed or emp. an emp could degrade or shut down a large part of the power grid. in addition to man maid attacks, emp events are naturally generated caused by solar flares, disrupting the earth's magnetic field. it can be powerful and cause significant and prolonged disruptions to the grid. in fact, ferc, dhs and doe recently completed a joint emp study through the oakridge national laboratory. the study evaluated both manmade and naturally occurring emp events to determine their effects on the power system and to identify protective mitigation measures that could be installed. included among its findings was that without effective mitigation if the solar storm of 1921 which has been termed a 1 in 100 year event were to occur today, well over 300 extra high voltage transformers could be
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damaged or destroyed thereby interrupting power to 130 million people for a period of years. although section 215 of the federal power act can provide a adequate statutory foundation for the development of routine reliability foundations for the bulk power system, a threat of cyberattacks or other intentional malicious acts against the electric grid is different. these are threats that can endanger national security that may be posed by criminal organizations, terrorist groups, foreign nations or others intent on attacking the united states through its electric grid, excuse me. widespread disruption of electric service can quickly undermine our government, our military, our economy as well as endanger the health and safety of millions of our citizens. given the national security diadministration to this threat there may be a need to act quickly to act where is necessary and voluntary and protect certain information from public disclosure. faced with other security threat reliability there may be a need
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to act decisively in hours and days rather than weeks, months and years. the commission's legal authority is inadequate for such action. new legislation should address several key concerns. first, ferc should be permitted to take action before a cyber or physical national security incident has occurred. second, ferc should be allowed to maintain appropriate confidentiality of security-sensitive information. third, the limitations of the term, quote, bulk power system end quote should be understand as our current jurisdiction under 215 does not apply to alaska and hawaii as well as some transmission facilities. and they should be able to recover costs that they occur to mitigate vulnerabilities and zmrentsz any legislation on national security threats to reliability should cover not only cybersecurity threats but also natural events and intentional physical malicious acts including threats from an emp. the grid act addresses many of
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these issues. thank you for your attention today and i look forward to any questions that you may have. >> well, thank you all for your testimony. many of you heard congressman franks and mr. langevin also talk about the need to expand. i noticed the white house in their cybersecurity proposal is exactly that. it's focused only on cybersecurity. and that was a suggestion that made -- mr. franks made did. let's do cybersecurity on one bill and let's address the other issues in a separate bill. do you have any thoughts as far as strategy or is that something the committee should attempt to do or not? ms. hoffman? >> as was mentioned earlier, is that cybersecurity is a difficult and complex issue. and emp and other issues are -- are different in nature,
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although the impact to the country can be devastating, either one. so in order to tackle things one at a time, the administration is looking just comprehensively at the cyberlegislation individually. >> okay. mr. stockton, do you have a comment? >> yes, sir. i think that the cyberlegislation proposed by the administration is a critical step towards protection of infrastructure as a whole. greatly benefited the energy sector as well. clearly, there are threats that we've been discussing that wouldn't be encompassed by this legislation but it's a critical building block on which we need to make progress. >> mr. mcclelland? >> i don't see where the administration's bill would conflict with the grid act. the administration's bill provides a broad umbrella to partner with industry to bring the practices to a higher level. the commission's authority under 215 doesn't have to conflict.
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and with that, with that concept. and, in fact, any further enhancement of the commission's authority or any regulatory authority may actually complement that concept >> well, you know, mr. langevin pointed out the need to expand from bulk systems to expand your section 215 authority. do all of you agree that should be done? i'm assuming you do, mr. mcclelland? >> as i pointed out in my testimony, the commission, you know -- our position -- or my position is that the distribution systems aren't covered. and so we wish to point out that if the term bulk power system is followed, there would be significant pieces of the power grid that would not be protecting it from if the grid act passed from either a cybersecurity or a physical perspective. >> mr. stockton do you or ms. hoffman have any comments on that part? >> i think it's important to take a holistic look at cybersecurity.
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as you look at the administration's proposal, it wants to take a comprehensive approach so that would include entities that's determined critical or a bulk power system or a distribution. the important thing to note is we need everybody to understand how to advance cybersecurity procedures and pos tours and i would say that includes state governments as well as any federal action. >> how would you all describe the coordination between doe, dod, and ferc today on these types of issues? >> the coordination between dod and doe primarily looks at the facilities and the interface with the energy sector. we do provide some support work on studies and looking at the interdependency and we're looking at microgrids and we're looking at advance technologies in terms of the defense facilities. our coordination with ferc
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provides tools and technologies to look at improved reliability for the electric sector. we do coordinate with information-sharing to the extent possible. looking technologies that will improve the posture of the system. so the coordination with ferc they're a regulatory entity. the department of energy funds public/private partnerships. so in a sense we are incentivizing changes within industry and ferc looks at regulating aspects of it. >> anybody else have any comment? >> i'd say there are formalized mechanisms as ms. hoffman pointed out. there are formalized mechanisms such as the government coordinating council where the department of energy and the energy sector says ferc leads in these formalized initiatives with the other agencies and we have excellent working relationships on informal or an impromptu basis with the department of energy and department of defense, department of homeland security, cia, nsa and nrc so we reach out
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as necessary to either borrow expertise or provide expertise pursuant to power grid and individual needs. >> when we talk about cybersecurity attacks in the u.s., i'm not aware of any major attack and internationally what comes to my mind in iran is the nuclear power systems. are you aware of any other major cybersecurity attacks that have had significant impact? >> am i aware of any significant attacks?
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there are incidents that may occur that we need to be prepared to be able to respond to those incidents quickly. and promptly. and so as we move forward it's looking response plan to be able to address the event quickly so looking at information, its change, the ability to deter and prevent any further damage. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, i want to thank the witnesses. in the last congress, when we worked on this issue in a bipartisan manner, the administration provided the members of this committee with classified briefing that helped us understand the vulnerability
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to our electric grid and the need to protect that same grid. i just have to ask each of you, in light of the fact we have some new members, a lot of new members on this subcommittee, would each of you agree at a time determined by the chairman, to return and brief the members of this committee again on the vulnerability of our cyber security >> well, let me just ask ms. hoffman. you seem to say as though -- the impression that i get is that you seem to feel as though this is -- okay, this is a step in the right direction. but it's narrow. and what the administration is looking at is a much broader
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view, they've taken a more universal or broader view of this particular issue. if you were to overlay the administration's efforts, this bill, this proposal, and the grid act, what would we see and what would you see as being some of the most significant differences? >> some of the administration's proposed discussion drafts focuses on several things. it looks at criminal aspects with respect to criminal charges and enforcement. it looks at voluntary information-sharing. it looks at voluntary assistance. so it's building a public/private partnership to actually build capabilities and support to the industry sector which is critically needed at this point in time.
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it also looks at the ability to develop plans, risk-based plans. now, most of the critical infrastructure definition and the development of risk-based plans will, of course, be done a rule-making process through dhs but the administration has taken a holistic approach of trying to get all the sectors up to a cybersecurity baseline performance. now, indifference to the grid act, the grid act is focusing on transformers, emp. it's focusing on emergency and standard development, which is a slightly different approach from what the administration's position is but both those could be worked for a complementary effort. >> any of the other witnesses have any comments on this? well, let me ask you this -- it seems as know, my state, as i
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meanings before, members of my committee passed smart grid regulation and it seems some of the states are starting to move on their own. but the administration has a discussion draft or a bill, a pending bill, and i'm not sure whether or not these states who are starting to take actions are basing any of their efforts is what the administration is ultimately looking at. how much cooperation or how much sharing of information, how much enlightenment is the administration providing to these states so they won't come back and redo whatever the legislation they may pass prior to the administration getting its bill passed? and what is the status of the
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administration's proposal right now? those are two questions. ms. hoffman, you might want to -- >> the status of the -- is it the discussion draft and the administration of looking forward to working with members of congress to continue that discussion, to advance the components of that discussion draft. with respect to smart grid, there are security profiles and standards that are currently under development to provide security within the devices as they are being built. so we're working cybersecurity standards with the development of device as we deploy and implement smart grid technologies. one of the things that we're trying to do is provide improved system performance which can aid in -- provide benefit for restoration time out as management for more preventive versus of looking at the consequences if an event occurs. >> gentlemen, my time is up. >> thank you, mr. rush.
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at this time i'd recognize the gentleman from west virginia, mr. mckinley, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ms. hoffman, if i could maybe direct -- i've just got some -- i wasn't here when this bill passed last year. but i'm just curious if you can walk me through it or someone else on the panel perhaps. the way -- the way i'm reading this, the grid act, we start with subsection a of definitions and then we move into b which is the emergency response measures. and that refers very specifically to security threat. and you understand that subsection b, it has a subsection 6 which has cost recovery. so there is a vehicle, a mechanism, to recover cost for threat. then if we can skip c just for a moment, that has to do with
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vulnerability, and then you go to d, which is called critical defense facilities. under critical defense facilities there is a subsection on page 15 about cost recovery. i'm just curious back on the one i skipped over, b -- i'm sorry, yeah, b -- or c, that's the section that refers to grid security vulnerabilities. under vulnerabilities, there is no cost recovery by this particular piece of legislation. was that intentional? was vulnerabilities would not be able to recover the cost of the utility companies and anyone else who would not be able to recover their costs? i'm sorry. i singled you out but i don't care who it is answers that question.
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>> i can take a shot at that. i believe you're correct. i believe that threats are singled out for cost recovery. i believe that under the 100 most critical facilities for the dod, the user is required to pay for any upgrades or any enhanced measures. i didn't see costs for vulnerabilities either. >> did that make any sense that there's someone that could have the expense -- if you read down through all of the issues that you have for -- if nothing else, the large transformer vulnerability. there would be no way to recover the cost for having that on board? >> well, we've consistently said at the commission that we think, you know, there must be three aspects present. if you'd like to have someone move on one of these issues. one is you've got to identify the priorities. second, you have to identify mitigation and third you have to provide cost recovery. >> are you in agreement then we should probably have some cost recovery under vulnerabilities. >> personally, i would say yes. >> the rest of you have any problem of cost recoveries under
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vulnerabilities. >> we don't have any problems with cost recovery, just remember whatever the actions are will be recovered somewhere, from the rate payers from the entities that are being protected. >> assuming so. if the others are very clear, i'm not an attorney. i'm an engineer. it just tells me when you leave something else out, it looks like we left it out deliberately. there was another line that i caught under -- i think it must have been page 8. yes, page 8 on 22. it talks about there under cost recovery only those that were substantial costs. can we get that clarified and can you help us with some language that might be more appropriate to define what substantial costs would be? >> sorry, were you looking for a comment there? >> given the time, no. [laughter] >> i hope that we can get something back on that.
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the last is a little bit of a concern, ms. hoffman to your answer. so much of our defense is actually overseas. and we're going to be very reliant on their -- the other countries' responses to threats and vulnerability. you said we would respond quickly. is there -- is -- what -- and you said you didn't know of any necessary attack. do we have any evidence of probing, inquiries, photography, suspicious work? is there something going on because one thing to have an attack, the other is have someone in preparation for it. can you share any -- >> i just don't have any information on that. with respect to overseas, i look at that. my focus is on the domestic u.s. infrastructure. >> what do -- what should we do then if overseas if we know that's certainly a possibility with the terrorism that's going
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on. do we just simply rely on them and react -- rely on the other countries to provide the same type of responses to threats and vulnerability and then we react after it's happened. what role do you see as playing in trying to promulgate something now? >> with respect to international grid structures, you know, europe has their own sort of response mechanisms for any sort of emergency that happens on their system. .. to promulgate something now. >> europe has mechanisms for any emergency that happens on their system. i have to admit i don't have a great insight or detail how to respond to overseas. >> is there any way we can maybe work something like that into here, something you could provide to us later? how we might be able to integrate both the european and american grid together?
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at least in terms of cyber security? >> thank you very much. >> yes, i'm willing to have further dialogue. thanks. >> i recognize the gentleman from massachusetts for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, very much. thank you for having this very important hearing. thanks to mr. franks and everyone else here for this issue. chairman upton has continued his efforts on the bipartisan grid act, which i introduced with him in the last congress. that legislation passed the house one year ago today. we worked together to pass a bill a year ago. this is a perfect example of bipartisanship. remarkably, 99% of the electric energy used to power our military facilities, including critical strategic command assets comes from the commercially operated grid.
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over the last several years, the grid's vulnerability has come into focus. hackers could use communications networks to physically destroy electric generators, transformers and other critical ass assets. over a week ago, lockheed martin suffered what it called a significant and tenacious cyber attack on its system. in today's "wall street journal," a description of the defense department's cyber security plan has a military official quoted as saying that if a terrorist or other adversary shuts down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smoke stacks. unlike the frequent outages experienced by pepco's customers every time the washington, d.c., area experiences a serious storm, a coordinated attack on the grid could literally shut down the u.s. economy.
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putting lives at risk. damages could take months or years to recover from. recovery may not just be a matter of rebuilding. three nuclear reactors in japan suffered near complete core meltdowns after the earthquake caused a loss of electricity needed to cool them down. the meltdown likely began a few short hours after the earthquake, tsunami and blackout. the hot, radioactive fuel is believed to have burned holes as much as ten centimeters wide through the pressure vessels. it is expected to take months to stabilize the reactors and decades to clean up the damage that the meltdown caused. mr. stockton mentioned that the power outage risk associated with earthquakes near the new madrid fault line is notable
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because there are extra nuclear reactors located near it. those several reactors could be vulnerable. let me ask you this. there have been 69 reports of emergency diesel generators failing at 48 nuclear reactors. 19 of these failor oo oures lase than six weeks and more required months. there aren't any requirements for backup power at all when there is no fuel in the reactor core. clearly, a blackout could cause a meltdown in this country, too. do you believe that the portions of the grid that supply electricity to our nuclear reactors are more secure than the rest of the grid? >> the commission has been
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working with the nuclear regulatory commission on this issue. there is the offsite power you asked about. >> they are more secure? >> are you saying they are more secure? >> there are agreements in place between the nuclear regulatory commission -- >> today, are they more secure than the rest of the system on not? today. >> in many cases, no. >> the answer is no. thank you. since the legislative hearing this committee held in october 2009, have sufficient measures been put in place to secure the american electrical grid from cyber and physical attack? >> there has been some progress on the nerc standards. >> have sufficient measures been put in place? >> we are -- >> sufficient is the keyword. >> we have issued inquiries to the nerc. >> are you saying there are sufficient -- >> there have been filings made and we are checking the status of the filings to see whether or not they do indeed represent progress. >> given that the number of cyber access points to the grid
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is increasing rapidly with the growth of smart grid applications, do you believe the threat facing the grid is greater or less than it was a year ago when the house overwhelmingly passed grid security legislation, given the fact a smart grid actually winds up with more vulnerabilities, ironically? >> yes. >> you think there could be greater vulnerability? >> undoubtedly, yes. >> do you believe the way the grids are set to lead to standards sufficient to responding to the threat that our grid faces? >> the commissioner said when it comes to national security, the process is too slow. it's too open and too unpredictable. >> do you agree with that? >> he is better positioned to
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assess. >> yes or no? >> there is room for improvement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. mr. mcclelland, i appreciate it. in the shield act versus the grid act on ferc authority, do you feel you need additional level of authority to respond to a national security threat? can you be more specific in that? on the flip side of that additional authority is how we balance that with state regulatory entities? >> the shield act provides the commission with a proviso if it finds the nerc standard insufficient, it can offer a measure to put into place to address a security vulnerability. the commission currently under
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the 215 process cannot author or modify reliability standards. we can provide input, but we cannot author or modify. i feel it's important that the commission be given that direct authority to be able to order measures to be put into place to write those measures, and to direct they be put into place to address vulnerabilities to the power system or threats. >> do you see working with the state regulatory issues? >> i think it's very important the commission cooperate with the electric reliability organization and entities the commission communicates with. yes, it's very important. >> ms. hoffman, do you have any thoughts in regard to the jurisdictional request? >> i think it's absolutely important for the federal ferc to coordinate with the state
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entities in looking at cyber security vulnerabilities, mitigation measures, solutions. as we move forward, the more consistent across the board, the more we'll benefit, not only the electric sector but other sectors that may have the involvement with states or other entities. >> thank you. the other question i have, what type of solutions exist out there that you have under the shield or grid act the appropriate ability authority to, for want of a better word, mandate the technology and is there any conclusion on what the costs would be nationally to adopt the hardware solutions?
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mr. mcclelland. >> there are several aspects electro magnetic pulse. e-1 is a high energy radio frequency burst. e-3 is ground-induced currents. the ground-induced current attack will find their way on to the bulk power transformers and destroy those transformers quickly. one tried and true method is serious compensation. putting capacitors to the line. back to e-1, it's more difficult. it's more challenging. i did receive some information from, recently from an israeli scientist that shows promising technology for erecting a
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feredet cage that is a simple spray-on coating that looks very promising. there are others in the world that have deployed effective mitigations against electro magnetic cost. we have not done so. >> at what cost? >> i can get back to with you those numbers. i have those numbers, but not at my finger tips. e-1 is most challenging. >> ms. hoffman? >> i would just add to that, joe adequately talked about some of the hardening type activities that could be done. the other thing to keep in mind is current state of health from the transformers. you can do hardening, but if the current health of the transformer is not where it should be, there won't be vulnerabilities. assessing the current health will impact to what level of deterrent or capability they
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will have to withstand any geo magnetic solar flare. how much do we want to harden against? are we talking about 200 amp type thing or what is currently tested up to an 80 amp? the other thing is, do we have enough manufacturing capability of transformers in the united states? as we look at it, hardening is only one solution. there are several sets of solutions we must keep in mind. >> let me follow up. building resilience into the system to provide for rapid return of functionality is another alternative to hardening. we need to be able to to be sure we can, from a department of defense mechanism, to get back to conducting our core missions no matter what. sometimes hardening will be the best, most cost-effective approach. other times quick restoration of enough power to do the bare minimum to operate those core functions.
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that makes better sense from a cost perspective. thanks, mr. chairman and thanks to all the witnesses being here today. i appreciate your testimony. we certainly heard about the vulnerabilities and it suggests there does need to be better coordination between the private sector and the government. commissioner mcclelland and the rest of the panel, what are the standard operating procedures when a credible threat is received? how does ferc communicate? does it direct nerc? how are those standards communicated to users of the system and what is the protocol for nerc? >> it's mr. mcclelland. i'm not a commissioner. >> oh, yes. that's right. >> thank you. i'll answer your question saying
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it depends on the issue. if it's an urgent matter, it may be very appropriate. the commission has done this to bring in members of the affected utility who have security clearances, to brief them in detail on the perceived vulnerability or threat and work out a table top solution as to how they might increase their preparedness for some interim period of time. it wouldn't be appropriate, necessarily appropriate, to try to develop a standard around the very sophisticated targeted threat that exploits a vulnerability with a handful of entities. if it's a larger issue, the commission engages in rule-making procedure. so the commission would order nerc upon filing or upon its own motion, to address a specific issue, security issue. nerc would then receive the order, engage industry through
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industry volunteers and standards development process. that process routinely takes years. at the end of that time period, nerc would submit a standard and the commission would be in a position to approve the standard at which time it would become mandatory enforcible or remand the standard for further work which time nerc would take it back, consider the commission's comments and pick up that issue and work on the standard. >> if i may add to that? >> please. >> with respect to a cyber event, generally we follow the national cyber security response framework. cyber events will generally be coordinated through u.s. cert. they'll go through some analysis and forensic coordinator and do risk and consequence analysis to determine how is that going to impact the sector, share it with the industry, the information that is available, then be able
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to actually move forward with the industry's help on mitigation measures. so it's really key to having that information sharing and that quick response keepability. that's very important. >> may i add one thing to that? >> please. >> the only action that is mandatory is a standard. until such time as the e.r. or nerc develop as standard and submits it to the commission and it's approved, there is nothing mandatory. they do show levels of increasing urgency. nerc can convey the information to the industry and ask for a follow-up response. and then communicate to the industry the importance of those levels. outside of a standard, nothing is mandatory. >> do you believe that the current system is effective? and how could it be enhanced? >> i think that the current system can be effective for routine reliability matters.
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when it comes to national security issues, these are fast-moving, very sophisticated, sometimes highly targeted situations. we've come to the conclusion, no the standards development process is not adequate to address these types of issues. although it can raise the bar to narrow the universe of attackers. it is not adequate in the case where national security is jeopardized. >> if i may add, there is room for improvement. from the perspective we need to do a better job with respect to information sharing, and that goes back to what is in the administration's comprehensive bill as well as looking at protection of information, that information sharing is a key critical component to getting to an effective response in mitigation measures whether, done by the industry, by themselves or it's actually looked at from a different action point of view. >> thank you, everyone.
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>> thank you. you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. i would like to welcome the witnesses and thank you all for coming and giving us your expertise and your time. i've got a couple questions for you, mr. mcclelland and you, miss hoffman. specifically, if the ferc and d.o.e. had to order a generated unit to operate for reliability purposes or emergency situation, and doing so resulted in that unit receiving an environmental permit, would they indemnify the operator from any private citizen action? >> it is my understanding we do not have jurisdiction over another agency's fines, penalties, regulations.
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>> the commission has acted in conjunction with d.o.e. on one other occasion, to my memory. it was the first time section 207 had been invoked. dod invoked section 202. in that particular case there were generating units serving the washington, d.c., region, and transmission upgrades that needed to be performed. in that case, however, both d.o.e. and ferc did not need to conflict or clash with the environmental regulations. i know of no case where that's already occurred. we can certainly, i can certainly posit that back to our general counsel and get that information to you. >> what could happen? what is the possibility of a company that obeys orders from you, but in doing so exceeds some environmental limitations from some other agency? this is a serious problem. if they ask, if you tell them to do this because of those
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liability issues and emergency situations, by gosh, they are going to do that and that's the right thing to do. we certainly don't want to have exposure to do what wore arm of the government says to do and the other arm says you exceeded permitting process and we will punish you for doing that. i would gradually appreciate answers to your question. i had operator backs home in texas ask me these questions. we have many disasters, hurricanes, tornados, freezes, all the above, that's impacted the reliability of our grid. we do have people out there who are very concerned about this. i would appreciate an answer to those questions. that's all i have. yield back my time. thank you. >> play, mr. olson. thank you all very much for taking time to come and testify. we appreciate your input. >> mr. chairman, if i may, this is something that kind of
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gnawing at me. i heard and i tried to get to this issue in my line of questioning. is there administration bill and has that bill been filed and here in the senate? is it in the senate? i know it's not in the house. >> maybe they'll be able to answer you. it is my understanding. i may be wrong that mr. rockefeller introduced a bill similar to the administration's request. maybe they can answer it. >> is that the bill, ms. hoffman? >> i don't have explicit knowledge. all i have right now is the discussion draft. i'm not aware. >> do you know, mr. stockton? >> the same. discussion. >> do you know, mr. mcclelland? >> sorry, it's the same. >> the white house doesn't talk to you all any more than it talks to us, right? we'll find out.
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>> may i have additional time to ask another question? >> without objection, i'll give 2000 additional minutes. >> thank you very much. this is a serious threat to our country. we know al qaeda and other countries are targeting us. there are many ph.d.s targeting us. we know there were those nine in my district plotting to hijack those two planes. they were well-educated people. very smart. they tried to find the aperture and they found it in the aviation system. they are very technically sophisticated people. that's the one thing we did learn about al qaeda. that's why i have such a passion for this issue. back in 2006, the north american electric reliability corporation proposed some grid security standards that seemed to be fairly limited. one of them even allows
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utilities to decide for themselves which of their assets are critical, and thus, subject to the standards in the first place. only 29% of the power-generating owners self-reported that they owned a single critical asset. isn't that right, mr. mcclelland? >> yes. >> none of them, 70% of the electric facility industries felt they had no critical assets. >> i was going to say critical cyber assets. >> yeah. and i just think that's a mentality that we have to be realistic about. we move to a new era. we are potentially under assault in this sector in the same way you mentioned, mr. chairman. the attack on the iranian nuclear facility. that was just a very smart way of very smart people figuring out how to disable a nuclear power plant in iran from a
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distance. thank goodness however those people are were able to disable it and not cause a nuclear disruption. there may be others that are not so benign in their, in what their objectives are and the harm they can do. i just think this isn't something where you self-identify yourself as potentially being a problem. i think we have to decide is there a problem and al qaeda is out there. do you agree with that, mr. mcclelland? >> yes. i would add one distinction. nerc has submitted a standard where critical assets, now there are several designations for critical assets. assets that serve nuclear facilities are now deemed critical assets. the commissioner has requested additional information. critical assets are not the assets covered by the standard. there are critical cyber assets. the commissioner asked one of the lines of questions is tell us how that translates to
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critical cyber assets. those are self-determinations. >> right. is nerc's guidance advisory or mandatory? >> the standard that nerc proposed to the commission would be mandatory. that would be the designation, bright line designation to critical assets, which can help guide an entity to self-determine critical cyber assets. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, all. thank you once again for testifying. we look forward to working with you. at this time, i would like to call up the third panel of witnesses. that would be mr. jerry colling, president and ceo of north american electric reliability corporation. mr. franklin cramer, former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs at the u.s. department of defense. and mr. barry lawson, associate director power delivery and reliability at the national electric cooperative
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association. welcome to the hearing. we look forward to your testimony. i will recognize you five minutes for the purpose of your opening statement. >> thank you. good afternoon, chairman. >> is your microphone on? >> thank you. good afternoon, chairman wh whitfeld. a ceo charged with reliability of securing the north american grid, i wake up every day concerned about emerging risks ka caused by intentional actions of our adversaries. the security of the bulk system is not the main priority for nerc. it is a set of nine standards we actively monitor and enforce. we made significant strides as improving our cyber standards. when i came onboard in nerc in
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2010, i recognized the importance of establishing brought line criteria as we heard from the previous testimony, to identify critical assets to be protected. a new standard was developed in six months and filed with the commission february this year and is pending their approval. our standard process works for what it was intended to do. to establish sustained baseline requirements for the reliability and resilience of the bulk power system. however, there is no single approa approach, not even compliance with mandatory standards, that will protect the grid against all potential threats from physical and cyber attacks. a threat environment is constantly changing and our defenses must keep pace. achieving a high degree of resilience requiring continuously adaptive measures beyond those outlined in our standards, measures we are actively pursuing today. the most important of these activities is the operation of our electricity sector information sharing and analysis center. in this role, nerc works closely with federal partners to
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promptly disseminate threat indications to participants. nerc staff has the necessary clearances to work with the department of homeland security, d.o.e., federal intelligence agencies to generate unclassified recommendations and actions for industry. using this process, nerc issued 14 security-related alerts since january 2010, covering aurora, stux-net, night dragon and others. the nerc alert system is working well. coupled with our cip standards and using a new expedited and confidential process for developing standards, nerc has a strong foundation of tools we need to protect the cyber security of the bulk power system. as outlined in my written testimony, nerc is leading number of other initiatives including joint efforts with dod, dhs and department of energy. we are preparing an industry-wide grid exercise in november 2011. jointly with d.o.e. labs we are initiating a program to monitor
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grid cyber security of the grid networks and another program to improve the training qualification of industry cyber experts. with regard to the proposed draft legislation, first and foremost, nerc has consistently supported legislation to address cyber emergencies and to improve information sharing between government and the private sector. nerc has consistently supported comprehensive legislation authorizing a government entity to address cyber emergencies. which agency is a policy decision for congress. nerc stands ready to assist responding to designated grid security threats. measures to improve information sharing between the government and private sector of critical infrastructure are needed. nerc commends the provisions directing the commission to facilitate sharing of protected information. while the focus on providing adequate security clearances is key, this alone is not enough. it is most important to develop methods for declassifying
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sensitive information to make it available to industry decision-makers. new authority to address grid security vulnerabilities, however, is unnecessary. nerc already has the authority under section 215 d-5 to direct ne nerc to prepare a standard. if congress decides to allow to be addressed at a minimum the ero should be given the opportunity to address the identified vulnerability. backstop authority if the ero fails to address the vulnerability within a prescribed period. while we appreciate the current draft which urges to consider our recommendations, if time allows, we believe more is needed. other provisions of the discussion draft are not needed. nerc has issued information to ensure industry understands and mitigating the vulnerability. the provisions on geomagnetic storms also are not needed as nerc already has the authority
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to address these topics today. nerc is actively working on the issue and an alert providing industry with operational and planning actions to prepare for the effects of a severe geomagnetic disturbance. in addition, a nerc task force has focused on mitigating risks associated with long lead time, transformers, and developing a secure data base for securing information on spare equipment. finally the ero should be given authority under oversight to address grid security vulnerabilities by enforcement means other than standards. congress has provided us with many tools to address security. as noted previously, we have three levels of alerts. we have strong industry participation and response to these alerts. including a provision to authorize nerc subject to oversight. it would enhance the security of the power grid. i believe legislation addressing the security of the infrastructure could be beneficial, but the framework should focus on enabling
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information sharing between government and industry and problem-solving between the private and government sectors. thank you for the opportunity to speak today and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. mr. cramer, you're recognized for five minutes for an opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and mr. ranking member. appreciate the opportunity to testify. i think the proposed legislation the grid act you have in the discussion draft is excellent. but i'd like to suggest five things that would actually make it better, at least from my perspective. now, the first is, i think, that we need mandatory federal standards. we need to turn the system around and have the federal agency be add at ferc or have the authority to issue standards. secondly, i think we need to focus on resilience. how will we deal with the problem of how the grid will operate in the face of attack?
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third, i think that the elements of the federal government and including especially the dod have to be given clear authority to help protect and/or respond to an attack on the grid. because it's only the dod that has the capabilities that are necessary. fourth, i think we have to think about the issue of scale and resources and particularly issue of cost. and make sure that the industry can recover its cost. and lastly, i think there needs to be a much more expensive research and development program to deal with the advanced threats, we need advance capabilities. now, the reason i say that, mr. chairman, all these points is what you've already said. the threats increasing. we've seen, for example, last year an attack on google. we've seen more recently a attack on a company called rsa. and as you mentioned we've seen the attack. those control systems that were attacked in the control systems that control the electric grid. the vulnerability is very substantial and has been pointed
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out by others already in this hearing right now with the smart grid increasingly coming into play, the distribution system as well as the generation system, a transmission system are sources of vulnerability. i think we really need to focus on the entirety of the problem and recognize how much the threat has been increasing over time. the reason i say that we need mandatory standards is that frankly the current system's just too slow. it doesn't work quickly. it hasn't satisfied the problem. in fact, if you look at nerc's own study last year, said very clearly that the grid is at risk against an adversary. if we think about other areas, clean air, water, safety standards, the federal government issues the standards. i think that's the way we ought to do it.
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in addition, i think that the current act that the discussion draft has what's called authority for the ferc of a so-called imminent threat. but i think imminent is too late often. what we really need is if we see a significant threat where one needs to be able to take prompt action before we get to that micro second before the attack occurs, the federal government ought to have that authority. so the issue interim standards, but earlier than the imminent threat standard. on the resilience point, i think we all know, and if you look at the google attack, is that cyber office beats cyber defense. in fact, the deputy secretary of defense has said publicly that plenty of others have. in the dod area, the dod doesn't just rely on passive defense. it also does what's called active defense. and if dod needs to do active defense to protect its networks, critical infrastructure. and again, we've said myself the
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dod relies 99.9% on commercial electricity. well, that means that that commercial electricity ought to have the same kind of protection that act of defense. i don't think that the industry should do it. i think the dod under the right kind of standards, right kind of legislative standards, regulation, guidance from the president ought to work with the sector-specific agency and also with the industry to be able to provide that. we also need to have capabilities that we haven't heard talked about today. we need what i call gold standard integrity. integrity of data, integrity of software, integrity of hardware. we need capabilities like segmentation and isolation so that the key elements of the grid can be protected by being separated from other elements of the grid. we want to look also finally at the issue of scale and resources. it's a very large enterprise. we're going to have to work to
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get the private sector to get it out there. it seems to me if the industry's going to occur cost, and this is a highly-regulated industry and it ought the to be able to recover those costs. that could be in the rate base, but it should be allowed in some way, shape, or form. and finally, as i said, i think we need to have a comprehensive r & d program so that when you have advance threats, we can have advance capabilities. and with that, mr. chairman, i appreciate the opportunity to testify. and i look forward to your question. >> thank you. mr. lawson, you're recognized for five minutes. >> chairman whitfield, rush, and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today on cyber security and the grid act. i'm the associate director of power delivery and reliability at the national rural electric cooperative association, which represents over 900 member-owned not for profit cooperatives providing electricity to 40
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million consumers and 47 states. over the last decade, i've been involved in a variety of protection and cyber security initiatives with industry, nerc, dhs, and d.o.e. based on these experiences, i know the electric power industry takes these issues seriously. in addition to my knowledge, there's not been a documented case of a successful attempt to protect through cyber means. while my testimony is offered on behalf of electric cooperative, i want to recognize a long standing partnership among all sectors of the reck rick power industry when it comes to reliability and cyber security. nreca is part of a coalition that includes major trade associations that represents the full scope as well as state regulators, large industrial consumers and canadian utilities. it's rare that we all agree on public policy issues, but we unanimously support the nerc process and narrow new authority
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for the federal government and the event of severe imminent cyber threats. under section 215 of the federal power act, nerc works closely with industry experts and others to draft mandatory and enforceable reliability and cyber security standards that apply across the north american grid. the standards process can be lengthy when addressing highly technical issues. but it can also be shortened when needed using nerc expedited standards procedures as approved by ferc. also developing standards in a confidential manner when national security requires it. nerc rules a procedure also give authority to distribute alerts on topics that are important for industry to address. there are three levels of alerts and the two top have mandatory reporting requirements that typically require recipients to inform nerc what they did in response to the alert.
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quickly provided industry critical information on many issues including night dragon and geomagnetic disturbances. nerc is required to provide reports to ferc explaining the level of action industry has taken. to date these reports show that industry takes these very seriously. the industry realizes that threats are possible. in some cases, even procedures and standards cannot assure that industry gets timely, actionable information to mitigate a threat against the bulk power system. when the federal government at the highest level determines that emergency action is necessary, it should be able to issue orders to our industry that directly address the severe and imminent cyber threat and set out mitigation actions needed to protect the bulk power system. those orders should sunset when the threat has subsided or is
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mitigated. for example, by development of a related nerc standard. our primary concern is that the act creates new authority for ferc that largely duplicates authority and ongoing nerc activities under section 215 and could substantially undermine the existing standards regime. it should be understood that vulnerabilities alone do not adversary impact the reliability of the grid. that being said, our industry has every incentive ranging from financial considerations to the fundamental obligations that serve our customers with reliability and affordable power to protect the grid when vulnerabilities emerge. the draft grid act -- if there's is vulnerabilities, that existing standards do not exist require to protect against the
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vulnerability. the new authority the draft seeks to give ferc is very concerning to our industry. first, we question whether ferc has the intelligence handling expertise to exercise such broad new authority. second, this new authority regarding vulnerabilities would fundamentally alter 215 by addressing vulnerabilities that nerc and industry are managing very well through standards and alerts. to help industry protect the grid from vulnerabilities and threats, we need timely intelligence. need higher levels of security clearances so we can plan effective responses to threats and vulnerabilities. the draft seeks to make improvements in these areas and we appreciate the subcommittee's support. in conclusion, we urge a subcommittee to focus on the immediate, narrow issues at hand. the need for very quick emergency orders if the faces an
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imminent attack and the need to receive timely, actionable information. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. and i look forward to your questions. >> thanks, mr. lawson. mr. kramer, you would agree, then, that the national defense and the interest in national defense for the additional federal authority is necessary? >> yes, sir, i think it's absolutely required. >> okay. and mr. colly, you mentioned in your testimony that you didn't think it was necessary for nerc to develop standards to ensure the availability of large transformers. and i'm certainly not an expert in that area, but it's my understanding that the availability of large transformers is one of the key issues out there. and i was just curious if you would elaborate on your decision on that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i do take the issue of spare
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equipment and transformers very seriously, physical attack, cyber -- it is a major issue. i think we don't have enough information yet to know what the standard should be in terms of how much equipment and where it would be located and how we would transport it. so if i said something opposing, i may have misspoken. i'll have to look at my written testimony. but it is a key issue. and we're dealing with it today with some industry experts and a task force. they're looking at likely scenarios. what would the need be? how would we move the equipment? we're trying to find a technical solution to the problem before we tackle the issue of whether there should be a standard or not. >> are these manufactured in the u.s. today? >> the vast majority of them have been manufactured overseas and continue to be. there's some recent activity to bring some onshore, but the vast
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majority are manufactured overseas. >> now mr. lawson, i'm sure you heard the testimony today that in addition to the electric system that distribution should be included in this. the first rule involved in distribution. so would you disagree with that? >> well, we believe that the legislation should focus on the bulk power system. distribution is handled at the local level, whether that be state or local municipality level or what the local board of cooperatives. and we don't think it needs to be extended to the federal level. >> but how do we address the potential problem in some of these large metropolitan areas that was mentioned? >> with regard to the distribution facilities in the large metropolitan area? >> yeah. >> i think there's one
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definition in the glossary that is being worked on today. and that's the definition of electrical systems. that definition is looking at how and what should be included under bulk electric system. and one of the issues that the commission has directed the industry through nerc to review is how those facilities in large metropolitan areas are covered. and i think the direction that that drafting team is going in that i'm a member of is covering more facilities than those metropolitan areas than are currently covered under the existing nerc. so i think things are changing. and a draft of that definition was recently for public comment. and it's now moving on to the second draft stage. so i think there will be changes in that area.
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>> so do you have any comment on that particular issue? >> just a couple, mr. chairman. the industry has a very long history of the issue of local service and distribution being dealt with with the rate payers and the local jurisdiction and obviously the states and other local jurisdictions. so i think any effort to encroach on that through federal legislation i think should be taken carefully with consultation with the states. on the issue of the military bases which is part of the earlier testimony, i think there is an opportunity to have enhanced discussions between the utility company and the military bases to say, do they have what they need? do they need more backup generators? do they need more lines coming into the base? so i think there's opportunity for those discussions to take place. i'll end there. >> mr. kramer? >> i would disagree with both of
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these gentlemen. first of all, i think we have the smart grid becoming increasingly greater part of the electric power system. means from the consumer side from the distribution side, you're going to have increasing vectors that allows for cyber security attacks. so i think those could be national security facts. so i think that we need to have an overall federal standard that protects against that. i don't think actually think they've done enough, but at least they've done something. but i think we need to put that into play. so i would very strongly encourage the committee to expand its jurisdiction. with respect to the military basis and alike, i think he was very clear. they don't have enough. and it's not just the bases themselves. if you think about the military, for example, the entire critical infrastructure transportation infrastructure, the telecommunications infrastructure. all of these depend upon
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electricity. so even if the bases themselves had electricity, the dod simply couldn't operate without transportation of telecommunications and alike. and i think we really need to have something done about that. >> mr. lawson? >> just to add to that. on the military bases, the best way to affect change and improvements is at the local level between the military installation commander and the leadership of the utility supplying that military installati installation. those relationships exist today. they're typically very good relationships. and if there are additional levels of reliability, securities that are needed, it's very important for the military installation leadership to let the utility know and they can work jointly toward providing that. regard to the smart grid, the industry is not implementing
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smart grid facilities carelessly. doing it carefully and keeping security very much in mind in many different ways. we're also working very closely and as much as we can with the vendor community to try to explain to them what levels of security we need and what levels of security already exists in their equipment today. so it's something that we're very focused on and not doing carelessly. >> thank you, all. my time has expired. you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's been quite interesting. and i'd like to ask you about imminent threats to the grid and also long-term vulnerabilities, as well. in the -- let's say our intelligence agency learned of an imminent threat of the grid from terrorists, what would y
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you -- how would you character ize nerc's authority to step in on a realtime basis? >> well the ability to acquire that information through working with various intelligence agencies, which we do continuously to get the information digested into what it means, in terms of impact from the industry and issue various levels of alerts. we issued one back just in april, which we turned around within a day. so depending on the urgency, we can turn them out in hours or in days. i think as i pointed out in my testimony, we have different levels. some are just informational, some are recommendations. and there are essential actions, which we've been able the to put out. the essential actions are mandatory under our rules, but they're not enforceable from a
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legal sense in terms of any sort of penalties and sanctions. and that's why i was suggesting in my testimony that would be one opportunity to improve the tool kit we have -- >> and would this apply -- there was imminent and severe threat also? >> this would apply to any known threat or vulnerability where there was a high degree of urgency. like we needed to get information out either within hours, days, or weeks. and i think that's a much preferred approach. our standards were not meant to solve a problem in three days or three weeks. they were meant to be long enduring around for years and years. the alert system is meant to solve these urgent actions that you're describing here. >> does nerc have sufficient authority at this point? >> i'm sorry? >> does it have sufficient authority? >> i believe in the area of vulnerabilities in terms of, for
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example, whether it's -- i believe under section 215 that congress intentionally provided ferc authority to produce a standard that would solve a problem. under my reading of the plain language of section 215, the ferc has the ability to direct us -- >> mr. kramer, do you agree with that? >> i totally disagree. and i'll give you an example. this committee's heard about it. it is not a classified problem. a very detailed set of reports were issued on that. it's a threat. it's a very, very severe threat we have to think about. and the vulnerability throughout the electric grid system because it's the same kind of control mechanisms that are the type that are involved in the electric grid.
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and it's sitting out there, so to speak, as a blueprint for anyone to use. now, i couldn't use it, but any capable cyber adversary. so i think that would be an example what i would call severe threat, it's not imminent. but i think that something needs to be done about that right now. and i think it needs to be done promptly. and from my perspective -- and as i said as we do in other kinds of legislation, i would rather have the opportunity for industry to comment, but for the federal government be it the ferc or the dhs, but some federal agency to determine what standards are necessary, what actions need to be taken promptly, and to cause those to be taken under a mandatory system. >> will you -- your opinion on this? >> well, first of all, as i said in my statement, the industry strongly supports the alert process.
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i am not aware of another tool out there today that can get information out to approximately 2,000 utilities within hours or a day or two with specific information about how and a threat or a vulnerability or anything specifically relates to the electric utility industry. so i think the alert process is a very critical one and one that we need to keep utilizing. also, under the alert process there are three levels. the base level is advisory, the middle level is recommended action, and the most serious level is essential action. and i can tell you that the industry reacts very strongly to these alerts because we know that they are -- they are communicating very important information to the industry, and that under the top two levels of alerts, you will be required to
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provide nerc with an update on what you've done with regard to that update. and those reporting requirements are mandatory and they are summarized and provided to ferc. so the industry takes these very seriously and the top level alert essential action has not yet been utilized. so only the advisory and the recommended action have been utilized. and both of those levels have been taken very seriously by the industry. and i'm sure essential action would be taken exactly the same. >> mr. chairman, i just want to ask one other question. let me just ask you this -- anyone can respond. what i'm hearing here is in the event of an imminent, severe, catastrophic cyber attack on the electrical grid system here in this country where there can be
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vast harm done to the american people. are you saying -- am i correct in understanding that you're saying that the federal government -- let me ask it this way. who are the american people going to hold responsible? for their protection to solve the problem and to protect them? are they going to hold the federal agencies or the industry responsible? in your opinion? >> congressman rush, first of all to distinguish some time horizons. first of all, if there's an imminent emergency like planes flying on 9/11 that are going to cause disaster, nerc and i think the industry supports some government agency having strong immediate authority. under those kinds of circumstances. nation is in trouble, somebody has to be in charge, i think we
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support that. i think the other issues where we get a little bit of difference of opinion, but it's not as bad as it sounds, actually, is on dealing with the things we have a longer time to think about and respond to. and all we're saying is we think the ferc has for longer term issues, like spare equipment. we're not going to solve spare transformers tomorrow. it's going to take probably years to resolve that. is that we have the authorities we have now. and i think we could strengthen the gap in the middle between dire emergency right now and things that might take months to solve. in the interim, we have our alert system, and all we need is a little bit more authority to make those mandatory in some cases. when i testify here today, i'm not here testifying against authority for ferc. we work with ferc today as a partner in developing our standards and review them going forward, we continue to work with ferc, anything we can do to
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help the industry know what they have to do, we would do that in partnership with ferc. >> mr. terry, you're recognized. >> thank you. the follow-up on that, have you read the grid act or the proposal of the draft? >> so as it's written now, my assumption is you don't support it. is that accurate you wouldn't support it as written? >> i applaud the committee for taking initiative. >> i've got a short time. yes or no? >> i support parts of it, not the entire -- >> the jurisdictional part you have a problem with? >> with the vulnerabilities being unnecessary, that's correct. >> mr. lawson, same question. >> we support narrow authority with the federal government with regard to imminent cyber threats. that's where we are. >> so that's a no? okay. i appreciate that.
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i just think we have more work to do than i anticipated before this hearing. mr. cramer, i want to spend the rest of the time with you. do you keep track, was there reporting of hacking attempts to your -- to your office or any office that you know of? >> just so we're clear, i'm a former assistant secretary, and i'm testifying in capacity here. >> all right. >> so i read there are plenty of reports on hacking that are in the open press. there are plenty of reports maintained by a lot of entities. >> electrical generation. >> including electrical. and the point was made to t >> and i participated in a demonstration at our local
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generator that showed -- was able to track hacking attempts within the last 24 hours and i think there was six or seven. mostly, i've been able to track back to a certain university in china. but we won't go into that for this hearing. now, none of them -- they were mostly -- how do i say this, but for fun. it was their practice of seeing how they can enter into the system. and not for nefarious purpose, although we don't know that when they're trying to do it. when they're trying to hack the system. and that's what concerns me and this committee is what we can do to strengthen our system against those hacks. and by the way, just two
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questions to you, mr. kramer, in my 2 minutes left. generally, what should electrical generation companies be doing to best ensure that their systems can't be hacked into. and then on the electrical generation itself, there's been some side discussions on electrical generation. some are more critical defense bases or buildings should go off-grid totally reliant and with the small module nuclear reactors may allow them to do that. you have a minute and a half to comment on both those questions. >> i'll make three points, senator. first of all, with respect to the issue of serious attack, one of the things that a serious attack would have to do would be reconnaissance. they won't attack without
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substantial reconnaissance so the activities you were talking about are quite conquential and dealing with those when the attack occurs. secondly, with respect to what the industry ought to do, there are a number of standards set forth, both ferc, doe and others have written out which might -- i think one is called -- well, there's 20 critical activities that was put out by one of the cybersecurity groups. those are what you call very good hygiene and one of the critical thing that i think needs to be done is there has to be a greater amount of protection provided to the control portion of the grid and i think there also needs to be
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what i would called advanced activities developed so you can control the portion of the grid from the corporate capabilities and from vendors and others who have to send things in. i think that there will need to be, as i mentioned, integrity capabilities that do exist now at the bench levels, so to speak, at the demonstration level but are not out there throughout the grid. and i think that the critical parts of the industry, as mr. markey mentioned, that only -- i don't have his exact figures but roughly 29% if i remember right of the grid was considered critical by the industry. i think it's a much larger amount than that so i think you have to have more significant. with respect to the basis, i want to make the point even if the bases have electricity and there are actions going on -- i can't tell you what it stands for but it's called spiders. it's a demonstration program and this is nonclassified.
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you can look it up in the on google to make the bases more self-sufficient and the doe has a so-called spiders program at 3 or 4 different bases and the doe relies on telecommunications capabilities on the country. it relies on the transportation capabilities of the country. it relies on water. it relies on gas pumps and the like and all of those rely on electricity so there's no possibility, whatsoever that you can have an effective defense unless you have electricity that will go beyond the basis. in addition, it happens to be true overseas which is a different topic that the chairman raised. but it goes beyond the question. >> mr. rush, do you have anything else that you want to touch on? well, that concludes today's hearing. we should your being here. and i'm sure we're going to
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continue touch with you to go forward on this legislation. and we'll keep the record open for 10 days for additional materials and thank you very much. and that concludes today's hearing. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> coming up next on c-span2, commencement speeches beginning with florida senator marco rubio.
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>> for increasing the debt ceiling or the government could default on some of its financial obligations. the democrats will also have a chance to voice their thoughts about spending cuts and the debt. they're scheduled to meet with the president tomorrow. in the meantime, we're going to watch for comments from republicans as they leave the meeting at the white house. we're also going to bring the white house briefing to you live at 12:30 eastern time here on c-span2. the house is in session today. members beginning the process of moving a fiscal 2012 spending bill through the congress with debate on homeland security spending. more than $42 billion bill would restructure state and local grant programs based on funding on risk. you can always watch the house over on c-span.
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[applause] >> now, from the commencement ceremony of the ava maria law school in naples, florida, senator marco rubio, a florida attorney and the son of cuban immigrants with his first commencement address as a u.s. senator. this is about 15 minutes. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. it's an honor -- i'll put this thing back. [laughter] >> it's an honor to be here with you today. thank you for the honorary degree and for the invitation, dean, i appreciate it very much. cardinal, it's an honor to be with you. mr. monahan, thank you as well. and all of you. had i known i was getting an honorary degree i would have skipped law school 13 years ago. [laughter] >> and saved a lot of money.
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[laughter] >> in any event, i'm grateful for it. thank you so much. i'm honored and privileged to be invited here today on such an important day for all of you. i've done these before. this is, i think, like my fourth commencement address. i always get to wear this robe and i brought my kids to one of them in year's past. they were wondering why no one in the choir was singing. [laughter] >> and so they're not here today. so i get invited to these, i think, because for a lot of different reasons i hope is to share any kind of insider knowledge i have about how to be successful for what the future should look like and any tips that i have and i think i bring an interesting perspective. i was commenting before that i came today that i am about 13, 14 years removed as sitting where you are as a graduate and i'm 13 to 14 years ahead watching my kids graduate from a law school like this one. so i thought i would share with you what i hope someone would have told me 13 or 14 years ago.
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and it's something that i'm sharing with people like you that are very well prepared. academically gone to undergraduate and did well in high school and spent the last three years training to be lawyers, have learned not just the law but how to think with a lawyer which is a process in and of itself especially that first year. wrote your mind is remade to argue both sides of any issue. and so you're well prepared for your career. one thing i can give you, the one that i had more fully embraced 14 or 15 years ago when i began embarking on my career, not just as a lawyer but interest in public service and in life in general is this, and it's pretty simple. you cannot do anything without god. it's a profound and elemental truth. not that you can't do most things without god. you will not be able to do anything that you want truly and fulfillment without god.
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this fundamental truth and the departure of it is actually the very story of man's fault. for once man was in that state where we really didn't need anything and when man was first created, man led the perfect life. they didn't know sins, they didn't know pain, they didn't know death, they didn't know suffering. they had all the questions to all questions and all was perfect but man was somehow deceived into believing that they could take more upon themselves and, in fact, life could be even better if they did some more things on their own. that somehow we would just take it upon ourselves that some things would be better. there was another lie weaved into that and somehow when you turn your life over to god, god keeps you things from you. good things over to you. when you turn things over to god, god takes it all away. it was all a lie and we have paid a terrible price. in fact, the story of mankind is the story of that lie. and thousands of years by god in an attempt to rehabilitate us back and bring us closer to that
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reality. now, you ask me why am i saying this to you. what does this have to do with my political career or your legal career? and the answer is everything. and here's why. because from this moment forward, you will move toward fullment, professional fulfillment, personal fulfillment, the desire for your life to be happiness. perhaps you think that fulfillment will come from making the right choice in terms of going into the right area of law. maybe you think that fulfillment will come from marrying the right person. or not marrying the wrong person. maybe you think that fulfillment will come from some extraordinary case you take on or an office you run for. what i'm here to tell you is the happiness that you're searching for will never come from any of these things. no matter how good your job is, there will always be -- if you're truly ambitious, there will always be a job that you think is better. no matter how good your relationship may be with your spouse, there will always be a way to make that relationship
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better. no matter how much you accomplish, if you were truly an ambitious person, there will always be things you'll want to accomplish more so. ultimately you will find that life is not about what the world defines as happiness. the fact that you're really striving for is peace. peace as we understand it. not peace in the global perspectives. but peace and the ability to take anything that comes your way and see the good in it. peace is the ability to be happy in both good times and in bad. when you have pain and when you have joy. the ability to be happy with great disappointment and great triumph. and that piece will never come from any person, any job, or anything you do. it's supernatural. and will require your complete reliance on god to achieve it. let me tell you why that's so important. because those of us -- those of you gathered today here as graduates, as christians you are ambassadors of your faith. and as graduates of this institutions you are ambassadors
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of this institution. many of you will go out and work in the world and the only thing that people will ever know or the first thing they will know about ava maria law school is their impression of you. you will be the first and perhaps the only impression they will ever have at least in the short term of what it means to be from this school and of this school, so much more because of the faith element of this institution. and so your job as all of our jobs but your jobs in particular, and what you will truly find fulfillment in is being a light in the world. a light on behalf of your faith and of your institution and the values that you have learned and reinforced here. a light in anything you do. when you become husbands or wives, a light in that relationship and an example to the world. when you become lawyers, a light to your profession and the world. and the achievements that you in another career you may go into. but you cannot be that light if you do not have that peace.
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and that peace will be challenged for you on a daily basis. it's the peace that will be challenged by fear, the fear of losing things. losing your prestige, losing your job, losing your position. that will be challenged by a fear of suffering. no one delights in insuring -- in suffering. anytime you feel suffering, remind yourself, god's wisdom is not our own and a story of jesus christ is an example of that. jesus the long-awaited messiah when he arrived and most didn't recognize him including many of the men who lived with him. they didn't recognize him 'cause they were waiting for a political figure. they were looking for a king who would overthrow the roman empire, establish the kingdom in jerusalem and rule as a political figure. they couldn't understand god's wisdom that saw suffering as triumph. which one of us would choose a cross, flogging, the disappointments, the people turning their back on him, the
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ridicule. which one of us would choose that as a human concept of success? so god uses suffering in the world. we have an obligation anytime that we can to heal that suffering. and to prevent evil from prevailing but know that it will be a part of your life until the day that you die. some of us will lose our peace. by a discovery of our faults. my wife discovers my faults every day. and i would just say to you that there's nothing you can do by yourself to cure your faults. only god can cure those faults by his grace but also know that god is so powerful that he can use even your greatest faults to do good in the world. and finally, some of you as i have will lose your peace when it comes time to make decisions. you will have important decisions to make in your life. and we'll all be looking for a burning bush to indicate the
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right choice versus the wrong choice. i i was a 55-point underdog. the only people who thought i had a chance to win all lived in my house. [laughter] >> and four of them were under the age of 10. [laughter] >> it didn't make sense. and i have two choices. one choice was to drop out of the race for u.s. senate and run for attorney general. and the other choice was to stay in this almost impossible race for the united states senate and try to get elected or fail and be embarrassed in the process. and as i have shared on the campaign trail, so i'm not making news today, it was a choice i struggled with for some time. but from it i learned a couple of lessons. number 1, it was never revealed to me in some vision or anything like that. contrary, i struggled with it for most of the campaign. it came down to your motives. it came down to my wife who one day asked me a very simple question, she asked me, well,
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why are you in policy, are you in it to be something or do something? if i was in politics to be somebody, then you run for attorney general. 'cause it's an easier race to attain. if you're in politics because you want a title, then run for attorney general. it's easier to win that title. it's a more of a sure thing. but if you've decided this life in order to make a difference, and abandon yourself for faith and run for the u.s. senate, which is what we did. the point is, understand at the end of the day it doesn't matter the decision that you make so much because god is so powerful and all-powerful and so great that he can turn any decision you make into the right decision. it doesn't matter what decision you make or what field of law you choose he can turn a wrong answer into a right answer if he wants to. it's not the decision that matters. it's why you made that decision.
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and if you seek him in that decision, he'll honor it. i promise you. you will honor it. i say these things to you because now you may ask, why do you achieve this peace and all the stuff you talk about? well, i'll tell you know when i fully find out because we struggle with that even to this day. one is to simply accept this is not a human thing. that achieving the peace that allows to you shine your light on the world is not something you're going to be able to accomplish. it's a grace. you pray for it. 'cause it's given to you. as was the man's original state given to man. the other is to become more child-like. that's the more advice i can give you. not immature. child-like. what i mean by that is, i look at my own children. when they're very, very young anything i ask them to do they'll do. i have a son he's 5 years old almost 6. he's becoming obsessed with football, being a football player.
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he doesn't like to eat a lot so i've convinced him the more you eat the better you'll become and he believes me. he believes me because he knows i love him. he believes me because he believes that i would never want anything bad for him. he trusts what i tell him because he knows of all the people on earth, none love him more than me. well, i love my son. how much more does god love you? and so i would say to you that try to become more child-like. you know, as my kids get older, they believe me less and less. and sometimes i fear that the more educated we get, the dumber we get. that the more we embrace the wisdom of the world, the further away from the simple truths we can get. let me close -- it's not my story so if someone -- this is being taped for television as well, so i don't want the author of this to hear me saying this story and say i stole it from him. i literally just don't remember who told me out there, because
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if you're out there, i credit you. because you have to be that way in politics. [laughter] >> it's a story that i hope will serve as an example of what i think you can become. the way it was described to me was, picture for a moment a sunny day like today, at least now, where the sun is shining bright and there's not a cloud in the sky and you're at a lake and this lake is snowstorm and the waves are high in the lake. from time to time, when the waves crest, you'll see some sparkle of light off of it. but when you're looking at this lake, what do you notice? you don't notice the light shining off of it. what you notice are the waves being created by the wind. you notice the stormy nature of the lake. and that's what captures your attention. but picture it differently on the same day, one that is perfectly still, one that is perfectly at peace. one that is smooth as glass. it becomes a mirror completely radiating the light of the sun.
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that's what we endeavor to be. in peace. in peace so that we can reflect the light of the sun. what i say to you today is pray and try to embrace that peace so that you can be a light of the world, on behalf your faith and of your institution. because the world today is as dark as it has ever been. it needs every bit of light it can get. i congratulate you and i wish you all the best. may god bless you. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> now here's another commencement address. new york city mayor michael bloomberg speaks to graduates of
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george washington university from the national mall in washington. this is 15 minutes. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, i give you our commencement speaker, dr. michael r. bloomberg. [applause] >> well, good morning, everyone. and thank you, president, for that kind introduction. i really am honored to be this year's gw commencement speaker even though i hear i was your second choice. [laughter] >> after charlie sheen. [laughter] >> apparently he was already booked to speak at a war lock convention. [laughter] >> seriously, i was very excited when i got a call from president knaap from inviting me. i was hoping he was inviting me to stay the night at his legendary sheep farm, not that i'm saying president knaap is full of sheep. i just want to be clear about that. although ultimately i decided not to stay overnight, even
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though some enterprising students did offer to rent me his single hensley for $10,000. [laughter] >> he said that was half of what he got for the inauguration weekend. [laughter] >> now, i know this is a bittersweet day for all of you who are graduating. it just won't be easy to leave a place where you can rub a hippo's nose, breakdance with big george, sit in einstein's lap, pet a dog named ruffles or buy a hot dog from a guy named manush. [applause] >> i can see why you love it here. [applause] >> however, i can also see from up here that some of you look a little tired this morning. [laughter] >> maybe you haven't recovered yet from last night at mcfadden's. [applause] >> so i promise to be brief. i don't want to be the biggest hurdle between you and your
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degree. now, before i offer you some thoughts that you graduates will undoubtedly remember word-for-word decades from now. let me first thing another important group and i'm talking about the group sitting out there this morning, beaming proudly, not even thinking about what it costs to get you this day. [laughter] >> or what happens if you can't find a job and have to move back home. why don't you give your parents and relatives a big hand. [applause] >> with their support, all of you are joining a distinguished list of alums including jacqueline bouvier kennedy and colin powell. so just take a look at the people sitting on either side. the guy sitting to your left could be a future secretary of state. and the girl sitting to your right could be a future
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president of the united states. [applause] >> also, take a moment take a look around this national mall. we gather not only at the foot of the washington monument which is only appropriate but also in president abraham lincoln's long shadow. last month our nation marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the civil war. it was fought to preserve the union, to preserve america's bold experiment with democratic self-government. but lincoln's war for union grew into something larger, a struggle for freedom. and while more than a century for equal rights and equal opportunity to follow his death, lincoln's leadership redeemed america's original sin. and allowed us to fulfill our destiny as a land of freedom and opportunity.
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10 years ago, while many of you were in the sixth or seventh grade, the freedom that lincoln secured for all americans and that generations of americans have fought to attack came under attack by terrorists, the most deadly foreign attack in our nation's history. i'm sure some of you remember where you were or what you were doing that september day when you first heard the news. and i'm sure all of you will remember for the rest of your lives what you've been doing when you heard the news that osama bin laden had been killed. [applause] >> there are certain moments in the life of our country that stay with us forever. for my generation it was the assassination for president kennedy and bobby kennedy and martin luther king. for my parents generation it was pearl harbor. for my grandparents, it was armistice day. there have been other moments of national celebration and crisis. the landing on the moon, the
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explosion of the challenger space shuttle, the inauguration of america's first african-american president. [applause] >> and there will be many more. but before this most recent memory becomes a memory -- or this most recent moment becomes a memory and because all of you have had such a big part in it, let's take a moment to reflect on the legacy of 9/11 beyond the ongoing war on terror and what it means for the future of our democracy. i was elected mayor just two months after the attacks of 9/11 when smoke was still riding from the rubble at ground zero. back then, the conventional wisdom was that it would take new york decades to recover if it ever would. people thought businesses would flee and there would be a mass exodus of suburbs and that crime would return. now, none of that happened and i'm going to tell you why. our city, in fact, our whole country did not give in to fear.
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we came together as never before and did everything we could to help the victims and their families. we offered our prayers. we donated our blood, we opened our wallets. firefighters and iron works from around the country came to new york to pitch in. people from around the world gave us their support. and by making smart investments in our future, we brought the city back faster and stronger than anyone thought possible. today, osama bin laden is dead. and new york city has never been more alive. [applause] >> the unity that defined our nation in the wake of the attacks was critical to revitalizing our city. and it has also led two very positive developments for our country. first, it reminded us that we agree on far more than we disagree on. especially here in washington that can be easy to forget. now, i know many of you interned
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on the hill or in the white house proudly wearing your id badges at all times of the day and night. [laughter] >> and probably annoying your house mates in the process, but you've seen firsthand how consuming and how counterproductive partisanship can be. in new york, we didn't bring our city back as democrats or as republicans, as liberals or as conservatives. we brought it back as new yorkers and americans. [applause] >> and as we head into the next election cycle, our leaders would do well to remember that although our hard-won freedoms give us the right to, they also give us the right to agree. the conventional wisdom that republicans and democrats hold diametrically opposing views and that one is right and one is wrong is just not true. you can be a democrat or a republican, as a matter of fact, i've been both --
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[laughter] >> or you can be anything else. but never make the mistake of thinking that any particular party has a monopoly on good ideas or god is on its side. even though the unity that existed in the wake of 9/11 attacks has had no lasting impact on washington, it did have a lasting impact on americans, especially, young people. your generation, more than any other before it, recognizes the truth of what john f. kennedy's wisdom was when he said, sometimes party loyalty asks too much. and i think that's a big reason why independence are the fastest growing bloc in this country. as usual, the people are a step ahead of the politicians, especially young people. i believe that it takes a generation in this town to change. and i have no doubt that many of you will occupy some of its most powerful seats.
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you'll begin moving the country away from this period of hyper partisanship, which is preventing us from accomplishing so many urgent needs. and towards a new era where more independent thinking allows for consensus-driven solutions. the second lasting positive development that grew out of the 9/11 attacks was just as encouraging. a growth in service and volunteering. americans of all backgrounds, especially your generation, wanted to do more to help our country. so they signed up to volunteer at a school or a hospital or a homeless center. and as a result, volunteering has become an even bigger part of our culture. i know there are a lot of service opportunities here at gw. and i'm told your school not only met but far exceeded the challenge that first lady michelle obama set for you last year, to perform a combined 100,000 hours of service, and i think that definitely deserves a round of applause. [applause]
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>> i'd also like to add my applause to those graduates who volunteered for the most dangerous and selfish assignment, serving our nation in uniform. [applause] >> we can never take their service and sacrifice for granted. and we should never make the mistake of thinking that the defense of freedom is solely a concern for the military. the freedom our founding fathers secured, the freedom that lincoln extended, the freedom our armed forces now protect, the freedom that bills of people are yearning every day to experience is a freedom that all of us must defend, even when it's not popular, especially when it's not popular. we have a responsibility to stand up for the right of people to express themselves as they wish. to worship how and where they wish. and to love who they wish. [applause]
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>> that's why techniques ago i spoke out in support of an artist who was scheduled an open exhibit who has been detained indefinitely by the chinese authorities. it's why 10 months ago i strongly defended the rights of new york's muslim community to build a mosque and community center in lower manhattan. [applause] >> and it's why on tuesday i'm going to up to our state capital in albany to support legislation that would grant marriage equality to all men and all women. [applause] >> the freer we are to express ourselves as individuals, the stronger we become as a nation. earlier, i met todd bilak who was expelled from the rotc program because of his sexual orientation. but because he and so many others stood up for change
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including one of today's graduates, michael como, congress recently passed and president obama signed a repeal of don't ask, don't tell. [applause] >> now, let me give a perspective from somebody that's a lot older than you. it takes courage to stand up to power, to take an unpopular stand, to risk life and limb and livelihood for your ideals. but that's the courage that led to lexington and concord, to fort sumter, to seneca falls, to selma, alabama, to the stonewall inn. and to this national mall where martin luther king shared his dream with america and forever changed the course of our history. today, thanks to all of those who had the courage to march and fight and speak out for freedom, there is no road that you can't travel. no future you can't create.
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no dream you can't realize. you're bound only by the limits of your imagination. the question for all of you graduates is, how would you use that freedom? don't worry if you don't have all the answers right now. your life, your career path will not be a straight line. when i graduated college, no one would have believed, at least of all my professors, that i would start a media information company and become the mayor of new york city. even my mother can hardly believe it. [laughter] >> let's just think about your career, whatever you do. don't worry about mapping it all out. just don't play it safe. don't be the person who quits a startup company or a band before giving it a chance to make it big. don't be afraid to start over or change direction. the more risks you take, the happier you'll be, even if they don't work out. and i can assure you, sometimes,
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they won't. but i can also assure you this. no matter what job you have, no matter who your employer is, the harder you work, the luckier you'll get. and whether you feel ready to begin a career or not, the education that you received here at george washington has prepared you for success. and i just don't mean the education you've gotten in the classroom. you've heard from some of the most important and influential leaders of our time. you've been your life, enjoy
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one last happy hour at mcfadden's. one last hot dog from manush and one last hail to the buff and blue because tomorrow the real work begins. congratulations to you all. best of luck and god bless. [applause] >> now, the editor and chief emeritus of "essence" magazine susan taylor delivers a commencement address at clark in atlanta university. it's a half hour. >> it's now a special honor for me to present today's
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commencement orator who indeed possesses the leadership and qualities and attributes to which we want each of you to aspire. when she founded her own cosmetic company years ago, it was the beginning of her 27-year career with "essence" magazine. she's a great symbol, i'll find a way and make one and culture for service. [applause] >> she caught the attention of "essence" magazine editors and was hired initially as the fashion and beauty editor. eventually, she rose to the positions of editor-in-chief and later editorial director. today she is a legend in the publishing world and is credited with building "essence" magazine as a brand unto itself. she was the driving force causing essence to become the leading magazine for
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african-american women during a time when it was often a challenge to simply secure the advertisers from the corporate sector to support the magazine. she's spoken of those early years and the obstacles she faced monthly trying to help corporations understand the importance of african-american women as consumers and why it was important for them to advertise. she truly had to find way or make one in those early years and although she did so with great success and leadership, the road to building essence into a power house was not without many, many challenges. she overcame each one with grace, dignity, time value and determination because of her leadership and her business acumen, essence became more than a magazine. it evolved into a leading business empire that now provides entertainment, magazine professional development for women, both health and wellness
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partners for women and catalyst for change. it created a lifestyle and perspective for forward-looking african-american women. today, she holds the position of editor-in-chief emeritus of essence underscoring the impact that she had and continues to have, but she's always a pioneer. so in addition to being the first and only african-american woman to be recognized by the magazine's publishers of america with the henry johnson fisher award, the industry's award she has won so many other awards. a long time youth advocate and avid supporter to a host of organizations devoted to moving the african-american community forward, she devotes considerable time, energy and resources to ensuring that our children are prepared to become the leaders that we all need through the national cares national mentoring movement which she founded in 2006. the goals of the movement are to increase high school graduation rates among african-american
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students, in the violence and black communities and in the overincarceration of our youth. we are, in fact, poised to join this network and partnership with three of our local schools. in addition to national cares, she is the cofounder of future p auction c the first political action committee devoting support for african-american women seeking federal and state level political offices. she's the author of four books and a highly sought-after speaker and recipient of award after award. ladies and gentlemen, i am most honored to present our 2011 commencement speaker, ms. susan l. taylor. [applause] [applause] >> oh, god, i am -- i'm overjoyed. and more than that, i'm honored to stand before the 2011
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graduating class of clark atlanta university. to stand before you on this magnificent, memorable day in your life. you've done the work. your family and friends. dr. carlton brown is such a phenomenal leader with such a big heart and the students have let me know that he is so present and available to you, and i just really want to honor you for that. but to stand here before your parents, the professors, the school administrators, your devoted board, those who invested new, believed in you and helped you bring you to this glorious day, your graduation day is such an honor. it's an achievement and a stupendous moment that i so remember in my own life. and i know you want your speaker to get on with it so that you can get your degrees and go with
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your families -- there's a lot i have to say but i'm going to capsule it and make it short and we're praying the rain away. that's our collective powers. we're just holding up the skies. [applause] >> but i want to bow to the legacy alums. and to the golden sons and daughters because i'm apologizing for my generation that came just after yours. and before yours. i'm apologizing to you, my beloved young ones, and to the alums who are the legacy ones for what my generation allowed. i'm apologizing to you for dropping the baton, forgetting who we are and forgetting the legacy, for forgetting those who came before us -- those of you who sat in and stood up when it was dangerous to do so, who
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risked life and limb and everything for justice for our people, i apologize that my generation really did drop the baton and allowed things that should never have been allowable. we allowed defiling lyrics and images, images that undermine traditional black values that sustained us over the season of the centuries. we forgot -- you know, we just forgot who we are. we forgot what our ancestors and our foreparents withstood to walk through the doors that they opened for us today and we watch middle class black people especially from a distance as millions of our sisters and brothers are struggling along the margins and our little ones are dropping out of school and filling up for-profit prisons on the backs of our brothers and sisters, no more. i'm here today because i want to
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speak a life into my heart and into yours. we're abdicating our authority. relinkishing it to a small circle of super rich people who are focused on one thing. making more money. making more money. but you know, a new world is on the way. a new world is on the way. the holy spirit is bringing it forth and it can only come through us. a new world is on the way. a world of equity and justice. because what we've allowed reads like poor fiction. it reads like poor fiction that 80% of black fourth graders are reading below grade level in the wealthiest country in the world. this is -- when i found that out, it was the day i decided i was leaving essence. and it took me a year to plan my exit. that was three-and-a-half years ago. today that number is 86% of black fourth graders reading below grade level. we know that underserved schools which none of you came from,
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because you wouldn't be sitting here today -- underserved schools really are the pipeline to prison. and it is on us, it is our responsibility to lock arms and do what is so needed in our nation. it's unity. it's unity and a plan. you know, we have to know that any good thing is absolutely possible. but in order to turn this nation around and in order to live your lives in the exquisite way, that the holy spirit whatever you call your god, i call the holy spirit god, some of us call the holy spirit jehovah, the central intelligence that gave life to you, put an aspect of itself within you, there is nothing that you cannot do. there is nothing that you can't do that honors god and that is dedicated to a higher purpose. and when i say that a new world
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is on the way and the holy spirit is trying to heal the world, the holy spirit is looking for leaders. those who will step forward and say send me. like some of the folks -- all you need to do is look to the right. they're right there. the holy spirit has sent people like tommy dorch who's the founding chairman of the national cares mentoring movement. ingrid saunders jones who has stood so strongly for "essence" magazine throughout her entire time at coca-cola. when there are corporations who still don't get that black people -- that's a whole other story. we overspend on things we have no business buying. and what we need to do is really spend our dollars on things that create what? that create revenue, that creates some benefit, economic benefit, so we have to wake up. this is a day as awakening as you move out into the larger world. there's a few things i want to
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say. you have to know who you are. know who you are. study yourself. learn what's unique about you, the defiivine originally you ar. to notice your color, your hair, your hips. everything about you. each one of us is a divine original. we have to remember that but we're all looking through these lenses that folks, you know, coming out of the magazine world, we tell you we retouch all those pictures. so know that. know that we were made by an entity that is beyond our understanding. we can't understand the god that made us, the god that made every living thing, that every leaf, every leaf on this planet is unique. every blade of grass is unlike any other. so how dare we negate that god made. learn to love yourself. learn to love what god made, you know? [applause] >> i'll tell what's required to have joy and stability.
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that's what you want. joy and stability. you have to challenge yourself to see life more deeply. to understand the larger spiritual cycles at work. things appear to be falling apart. but i'll tell you the holy spirit sometimes makes things disintegrate so that we can put them back together again. and this is the moment where we're at right now. once you give your time and attention to, and your energy to, will determine whether you suffer or thrive. what i want you to remember is that, yes, you are more than you seem, human and divine. human and divine. made in the image and likeness of the love that created you. and that means that you too have the power and the responsibility to create. what you think, what you host in your heart, what you speak is what you have. you can't understand, it's beyond your capacity to really understand but it is real.
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so if you think you're not enough, that's how you behave. if you know that you are divinely called, called for this particular hour to do phenomenal work, not looking down on anyone, not thinking that you're better than or less than anyone else, divine original. never looking down unless you're reaching down to give someone a hand to lift them up. don't let your education separate you from your community. we are bilingual, trilingual, multilingual people. it has to be, you have to know how to speak foreign languages but also have to know to go back to the neighborhood and speak to our people and then have to advocate, how to advocate for our people at the top tier. at the very top tier. this is who we are. this is what clark atlanta university has produced. so you're stepping into a wider world away from this great university. out of the warm embrace of your
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family, not far. but that protective shield that the university and your family have provided. it's not going to be there every single day. and i just want to say that you have to know that the world around you is also within you. as you heal yourself, you heal what's hurting black america. you heal your families. you heal the community. you heal the world. what we don't know and people have forgotten, you don't see it on the nightly news is this, there is enough. there really is enough on this little planet floating through space that we call earth. there's enough land and food and water and sky. there's enough. what's missing? is good old commonsense and love. [applause] >> and what i'm saying to you, graduating class, is bring those, bring what's missing, bring love and critical thinking, a plan of action and drive it forward. life is on your side.
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life is on the side of healing, justice, regeneration, and sustaining itself. the explosive rise in technology has made advances that were unimaginable even a decade ago, dramatic changes impacting every aspect of our lives. these are revolutionary times. and i love the way that joshua ramo a writer who writes very often for "time" magazine. he put it, he says these are revolutionary times and anyone who doesn't understand that and really bring revolutionary ideas and believes deeply in themselves, that they can bring those ideas to fruition, there's the names of those people and it's victim. we don't want to be that. you have to -- you know, look who's in the white house. barack obama is in the white house. [applause] >> who believed in that candidacy. people in his own family didn't believe it was possible, but he did. and he knew that the holy spirit
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is trying to heal the world. and he said, send me. send me. and let that healing come through me. i tell you that, that is your secret talisman. a belief in yourself, standing for a higher purpose, something more than making money and having a big house and another one 'cause you know what? stuff, i'm here to tell you, it doesn't satisfy. everything that you can see, all the custom-made clothes and the shoes and the big houses and the things we just have to have, guess what they are. dust. dust, here today, gone tomorrow. they don't bring joy. they don't bring joy. and i mean a lasting joy. what brings joy is? service. it's what dr. carlton brown said last night. service, leadership, service. you know, you have -- let's start with you. serve you. bring the love every day to yourself. start by just amplifying yourself. i don't care what the situations
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are around you. don't believe the negative evidence. the holy spirit has a plan for you and, yes, sometimes things will fall apart but no matter how many degrees you have, no matter how smart you are, no matter how much money you have, you're going to obtain. oprah winfrey, barack obama, john travolta. everyone knows pain. pain is going to come your way. suffering is a choice. suffering is choosing to remain in that painful place. pain is one thing. it's information. wherever you're hurting is what you must look at. i remember going to the doctor and the doctor telling me i had the precursor to acid reflux and gave me a prescription for prilosec. i said i'm supposed to take this for the rest of my life and looking at my life that i was eating dinner at midnight. that was what was causing the challenge. so if today is a day is graduation day and even family
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members and somebody who you think is your beloved is not here, that's not your boo, that person is not feeling you. learn to find out what's going on inside you. and you know, the truth is -- you know there's painful stuff. i grew up in a family. i didn't even think my family loved me. they did. but i know this, hurt people hurt people. and not everybody who's a parent is healthy enough to be a punishme parent. i tell my daughter we survive me, girl. every day you have to put on your spiritual armor. every day you have to be reminded that you're human and divine. every day you have to remember, that, yeah, sadness will come and this is what it's treat me and a 13th century mystic he said every day is a new arrival
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and life is very much like a guest house. there's always going to be some drama at the door. he said don't bar the door, open it widely and say come on in. don't let them take root in your house, though. don't let the drama live with you but don't shun the information and they end up drugging, drinking and living -- you can live in the holy book. god doesn't want you to live in the bible of the koran god -- god wants you to live the work. invite those arrant guests in. and ask the question, please remember this, whenever you're hurting ask this question, what have you come to teach me? that's it. what have you come to teach me? you know, we think life is a playground. it's not. it's a school room. forevermore, we are learning and
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learning and learning. and so i want to say one thing about the world of work. it's dramatic. no matter where you work, no matter who you work for know that the stress level for black people rises high in the workplace. for too many of us, no matter how talented, or educated or hard-working we are, the workplace can be a painful place. racism is real. we see what's happening to our president. sexism and classism, they are absolutely in place. ..
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>> every dime spent is a political decision made, and every time you invest in something that loses its value, you are wasting your money. at this point in time, i want to say please, buy homes. you know, invest in real estate, especially as the market is low. buy things that will protect you and your family at the end of the day. black people, we overspend on things of symbols and wealth and power and really are a community of what is the word i was supposed to remember? under -- >> [inaudible] >> under low wealth. never again are we are poor people, a low wealth community. we come from a low wealth community, and we're working towards becoming a high wealth community. you know, there's a west african proverb that says it perfectly.
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if you want to go fast, go alone. if you want to go far, go together. we must have you and ity says queen latifya. we have to have unity. you know, in a single decade, china, a country that had an average daily income of $7 per person, amassed nearly $2 trillion in u.s. debt. now, we know that, you know, china's a complex communist society that's oppressive, but owe know what they have? unity and a plan. we don't have to look far. we don't have to look offshore, just our heritage, how black people had one another's backs. pick up two books, parents, us
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-- isabella wilkerson, sons, and the other is by eugene robertson called "disintegration," and so, just a few more things to share with you. it's that you have to heed the call of your heart. you can't follow other people's directions. don't look at folks on television saying i want to be like that person. people say, i want the career you have. you don't know what my daughter sacrificed and the days on the road. follow your heart. answer your calls. we have a calling, and if you don't answer your calling, the thing you were created to give to life is missing in the world. we need you to bring that, and you can't bring that if you don't take quiet time. quiet time is the most important time in your life, the time nothing is beeping and buzzing and tweeting, and you are
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listening in to that still small voice that's always, always calling you. listen to the holy spirit trying to encourage you. always. relationships -- choose wisely. take inventory. don't be desperate. you know, when i'm coming through your town, look for me. i won't speak the way i want to about relationships and sexuality because your parents are here, and i don't want them to be mad at me. aids is the number one black killer of women and there's others looking for the brothers with college degrees because they are looking for a paycheck. any time you lay with a woman, be ready to be a father and that person will be in your life the rest of your life. take inventory and think critically. know this, not everybody is healthy enough to have a front row seat in your life. not everyone is healthy enough to have a front row seat in your
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life. there are people have you to love from a distance, and some of them can be family members, so just think critically, you know? [cheers and applause] nothing, nothing will derail your life or your career faster than becoming a parent before you are emotionally or economically prepared, and some of you may be parents already. i was a parent before i was economically or mentally prepared, and my daughter was my motivation. thank god for shawna. finally, i want to say you have to fire the judge, fire the judge. you know, the holy spirit is not expecting perfection from any of us, only that we try. only that we try to be the better person tomorrow than we were -- than we are today. we're not in competition with anyone. if you're in competition with
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anyone, you're going to be a miserable soul. be in competition with your former self. we all have issues. we do. every time i hear the black national anthem, it brings me to tears. bless our feet, stray from the places our god will be messy, lift our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world. i'm asking you to remember, and so we have issues. cut yourselves and one another some slack. don't be so critical. i love the way that tupak put it. [laughter] he said we wouldn't ask why the rows grew from the concrete had damaged petals. we would all love the will to reach for the sun. well, he said, i am that rose, this is the concrete, and these
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are my damaged pedals. if you lived with me, you would see mine, but god is so good because we can heal, repair, and grow new pedals. i'm saying to you, the graduating class of 2011 -- [cheers and applause] stand strong every day even when your heart is breaking and aching, even when somebody is disregarding you and disrespecting you. know that your relationship is with you and god. you cannot determine how other people stand, behave, or treat you. you can get out of the way, but gird yourself. stand strong. square your shoulders, shoulders back, head high, and like tupac said, reach for the sun, reach
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for the sun. god bless you. go forward and change the world. [cheers and applause] god bless you. [cheers and applause] >> up next, it's the 129th annual commencement ceremony in colorado springs. you'll hear from mark fiore, a plitzer prize winning cartoonist. his animated cartoons appear on the san fransisco chronicle website. this is just under 25 minutes. ♪ [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you for that very kind introduction, thank you president celest, thank you faculty, thank you to that
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shadowy group of trustees out there wherever they are. i won't make them stand. thank you parents, and most of all, thank you students right there because i'm talking to you guys mostly right herement thank you guys for asking me to be with you on this amazing someday, this special day that you'll remember forever as everybody will keep telling you. thank you for having me, and the reason it is such an amazing thing for me and such a huge honor for me to be here, as you just heard, 20 years ago, i was right here with you guys. i was graduating colorado college back when we faced that way, but i was right there in the f. where are the f's? f's in the house. right there. i was right over there, and the main difference between when i graduated then and when you are graduating now is that instead of a left of center political
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cartoonist who specializes in animation speaking to you, you would have dick cheney speaking to you. [laughter] which is a little bit ironic for a political cartoonist to have him as his commencement speaker, and it's a blessing, but -- that's right, it was dick cheney speaking to me at graduation, and i don't remember exactly what he said, but it was probably something along the lines of what do you want me to say? [laughter] go forth and rule the world or something like that. i don't exactly remember, and i don't know if because i'm speaking here now today if i'll go on to become secretary of defense or if i will be a comically evil vice president whose god's gift to cartoonists
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everywhere -- [laughter] but i do not one thing. i know if nick cheney spent more time on this campus playing frisbee here like i did, that there definitely wouldn't have been a bogus run up to war based on wmd's that didn't exist, but i digress. [applause] i'm not here to talk about politicians and bash political figures as much fun as that is. that's what i get to do every week fortunately, and what i'm really here to talk about is the path of my life and how it relates to the path of your life, and the incredible influence that colorado college had on me. it was the most formative four years of my life to date, and from this podium, right standing
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here, i can see over to palmer hall where i took political science classes learning about just and unjust war or where i took sociology classes or geology and learned about these mountains right behind us. i can look over there to slokem and see where i met -- slokem, first year. [cheers and applause] now i'm going for the cheap applause line -- one west in the house? [laughter] i knew there were some out there, but, you know, that's right there is where i met some of my best friends that are friends for life within the first week of school. i can look beyond shove and see a corner of jackson house over there which is where i first met with my first economic adviser
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jim trissle, and he sat down on the grass with myself and the other add add -- advisers and gave me probably the most liberal arts advice you can give. it's liberal arts in a nutshell. he said, just have fun, and that was his advice, and he doesn't mean it -- or i didn't take it and people didn't take it that way. that doesn't mean no work. it means have fun in whatever you do. you have fun socially and with friends, but have fun intellectually and academically, and that's really what helped shape me and lead me on this strange and weird path of a career and life that i have now, but i'm not here to talk about my life and take you down memory lane and that kind of thing or even talk about the time when
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cutler quad was filled was students because we were out there all afternoon and into the evening watching a band called fish nobody heard of play into the night as the sunset over pikes peak. it's about you, not my memories even though i have amazing memories from this place. when i was here sitting over there in the f's, like i said, i had that feeling that many of you are probably feeling right now. that feeling of i'm graduating. this is great. it's huge. you're all excited. it's amazing, but i also had this feeling of i'm graduating? that fear of the real world and since i'm a cartoonist, i have to describe it this way. your eyes are deer in the headlights and the little sweat things going off your head. it was very much like that for me, and before we talk about the real world, and you know, what might be coming next, let's talk about your accomplishments and
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what you've done right here. let's soak that up for a minute. look around you, left and right, behind, and in front. look at the friends you have and the friends you've made in these four years, friends that will stick with you for the rest of your life in a lot of cases, and look in these buildings even though they are ugly -- [laughter] that one, anyway, behind those windows and behind those windows and those and all over in these buildings, you studied here, you made it. you've succeeded. sometimes you failed, but overall, you succeeded. you look back at mountain and all of the mountains and in true cc tradition, a lot of you probably took classes up there, and at the very least you ran around and learned more about what it's like to be in the mountains, and look behind you and on the sides, look at the friends and the family that are here for you and that are still
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here for you. they cared enough, they loved you, they supported you, they sacrificed, and even though there may have been bumps along the way, they are still here for you. that's a huge accomplishment, so it's all over, all around you. it paid off. you're graduating. you did it, and when you look around, take a second to soak this all in because you know what you're looking at right now? you're looking at the real world. that's the good thing, and since i basically was where you are, and i am one of you, i know that's true. there's no phony disconnects between the cc bubble and the real world. the best part is that doesn't have to exist, and the reason that is is because the things you've learned here, the intellectual life, the
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friendships, this feeling of community, you still have that. you have all those wonderful things about colorado college, and you take those with you. take cc with you, and it took me a certain amount of research and some years to figure that out, but i'm not talking about chipping off a chunk of palmer, even though it's really nice stone, lion sandstone if i remember right, i'm not talking about that. i'm talking about taking the things from your liberal arts education and from the creativity and intellectual side of your life here. take that with you wherever you go, and people scoff -- i mean, i've heard it and i'm sure you guys heard it. people talk about liberal arts education, and they say, yeah, what are you going to do with that? or even better, english major? yeah, good luck. but, in my years after college, after this college, what i
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realized is that the most important thing you take with you as a graduate or an excruciating close to being a graduate, one of the things you take with you is adaptability, and what better way to teach adaptability than in a school that lets you digest an entire year's worth of material in three and a half weeks again and again and again? it's such a perfect preparation for life, and as you already know, and i'm sure people have been telling you with sick satisfaction the days of job stability and gold watchers at retirement are long go. that's not my dick cheney voice but self-important pundit voice. we're in the worst economy since the dinosaurs or big bang or great depression or something like that which means it's a
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perfect time for creatures like us. we're the little small furry creatures, not the dinosaurs. [laughter] we're the ones that are adaptable and can return around and figure things out on the fly, so one of the most important things is this adaptability and take that with you. now, unfortunately one thing that's a little harder to take with you is the bot break. [laughter] don't dispair because in my strange and wonderful job, i somehow have developed a block break within my weekly schedule. for over 20 years or under 20 years, my cartoon deadline has fallen on a wednesday because block breaks are so engrained in my head. it's amazing. i didn't railings -- realize it until 10-15 years
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into my career. that came from here. it can be possible, and, you know, as you guys know, nothing beats the feeling of a block break except maybe the feeling you're having right now, and i'm not talking about the hangovers. [laughter] as far as adaptability, in my strange and fun job, i've had to adapt all along. i left colorado college with the intent and the laser beam focus of getting a job at the newspaper as their staff political cartoonist which is a crazy weird thing to try and go for, and it's a long shot in even the best of times, and that didn't happen, and so instead what i did was i started self-syndicating my own cartoons
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and selling them all over the country, and along the way, i decided to exparent with animation. low and behold, i have a job as a staff cartoonist as a newspaper, by dream job, did it for awhile, but really it was an awful time for the industry, for the business, for that particular paper, so i left that and went back 300% doing political animation, and i've been doing that ever since, and now i don't want to give you the phony impression that it was all this beautiful upward trajectory to creating my wonderful purple mountain majesty cartoons. it wasn't like that. i had to figure out a way to support my cartooning habit, my cartooning addiction really, and in order to do that, i had to get some regular old job, and
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there was nothing wrong with that, but it helped me build up my cartoon career, and the first one was at a hardware store. the next one was actually my first job in the world of the media, and in this media job, my job was to move pal lets of magazines around a warehouse all day long. they were famous magazines. [laughter] anything from better homes and gardens to penthouse to hustler to ones i probably shouldn't mention, but that job didn't last long. i didn't stay there very long because it wasn't all that rewarding, and i went on to the next job of making color copies at a store in boulder. that might sound like it's a dull job and boring as hell and you get tired of that really
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quickly, but the place where i worked, it was almost like a little shop of liberal arts in large parts because the owners encouraged people that worked there to pursue their outside interests and to explore and experiment with other things, so that was the first place where i ended up scanning in my cartoons, and that was also the first place where i heard of this thing that was new called the internet which really kind of dates me, so you never know where these side paths will lead you, so don't be too quick to jump into a career box or think you should be in a career box. go a little easier on yourself, and i know you've heard all the brilliant quotes by insanely intelligent authors about journeys and roads and paths so i'll spare you those now, but it really is the journey who makes you who you are. now, to give an example from my
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world of cartooning, let's talk about the creative process. people always ask cartoonists, how do you get your ideas or how do you come up with that stuff? people ask the same thing of poets and writers and other creative types as well, and the best way for me to describe how i come up with that stuff is to describe how i definitely don't come up with the stuff. the way that is a sure-fire path to killing a cartoon idea or letting your creativity collapse into dust, the way to kill that is to spend the entire time chained to a desk focusing on reading and research. great, they think a dick cheney bit and now bashing reading and research, but that's not the case. [laughter] the majority of my job in my life is still spent on the journalistic side of the endeavor, spent doing reading and research and figuring out what's true and false and
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rolling that into this hopefully humorous, yet enough to piss people off clump of opinion, so that's still part of it, but the crucial part of it is what you do to provide that spark that truly builds those ideas, and now it can be anything. it can be as simple as a walk down the street to the park, a trip to see flying squirrels, a hike in the mountains, it can be seeing a homeless person on the street. it can be going fishing or tripping over a curb, any number of things that make up lives life can help you build that spark and build ideas, and it's not just for me and cartoons. it works for my cartoons and my life, but it's the same thing for novelists, ceos, physicists, the same thing. you need that outside creative spark, and everything along the way even though it may not seem
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like it is essential to finding your way, and what is the way? that's the fun part. figuring out that way, what's your path? what's the way? right now, it might seem a little nerve racking, but if you just go out and live life, it will happen. living life might entail going to medical school or spending time in a ski town working at the lift stop, but whatever you do, it will help you find your way, so now that we've talked about the way in living life and all that, let's talking about death threats. one of the most fun parts of my job is hearing from readers and viewers who sometimes like, sometimes not so much like my work, and to give you an example, here's a person who sent me a comment to quote "for
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the stupid childish cartoon demonizing the tea party protesters, mark fiore needs to be killed along with his family." for good measure, he says, the only good socialist is a dead socialist. fortunately, not everybody who writes me and communicates with me has woken up on the wrong side of the bed. i think that person probably had issues and they think i probably have issues, but what grabs me is people who communicate with me and make me truly grateful for the people out there. here's another example. back in 2003, i was studying in denmark and inspired by one of of your cartoons criticizing of u.s. involvement in iraq versus lack of involvement in sudan. i focused my thesis on interventions and i've been
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inspired by this cause spending years working with refugees. i'm in west africa in the peace corp. and still love your cartoons. thanks for the inspiration. the reason i read that is not to build myself up or the cartoons or whatever. the reason i read that is because these are the people that inspire me. they are the one who make me ask and should make you want to ask, who am i? what mark will i leave on this world? how will people know you were here? not to be morbid on such a beautiful happy day, but i like to think of it in terms of after we're all dead and gone, how will they know we were here, and what will they think of us? did you leave the world a brilliant invention, a loving family, or a wilderness preserved? a great body of work or an outdoor education camp for kids or a life saving medical
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breakthrough, or did you leave behind oil spills, mcmansions, and mountain top removal mining? the choices are not always that obvious between good and evil or what i feel is good and evil, but now is the time to start making those choices and paying more attention to the direction you steer your life. you're in charge. it's not about accumulating the most stuff obviously, but leaving your mark and deciding what that mark is going to be. it's about growing and learning because that never stops. it's not just something that happens here. that happens all the time, and you're in trouble when it does stop, so you keep doing that, so leaving your mark, making a difference, making life matter, however you say it, it's never too early to think about what you want to leave behind. you've got it all here in


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