Assessing Energy Dependency in the Age of Hybrid Threats

“Because of the interconnected nature of energy infrastructure, Hybrid CoE member nations and allied organizations should consider adopting a common approach to assessing risk associated with energy dependencies in the age of hybrid threats.” – write Duane Verner, Agnia Grigas, and Frederic Petit from Argonne National Laboratory.

Many nations face significant challenges from hybrid threats involving the energy sector. Therefore, enhancing the protection and resilience of energy systems is an urgent goal—a goal made more challenging by the inherent dependencies and interdependencies within infrastructure systems and between energy-producing, -importing, and -transiting countries.

Dependencies influence all components of risk: threat, vulnerability, resilience, and consequence. They can themselves be a threat, affect the resilience and protection of critical infrastructure, and lead to cascading and escalating failures.  Growing dependencies across infrastructure systems, particularly reliance on information and communications technologies, have increased the potential vulnerabilities to physical and cyber threats and potential consequences resulting from the compromise of underlying systems or networks. In an increasingly interconnected world, where energy infrastructure crosses national borders and global supply chains, the potential impacts increase with these dependencies and the ability of adversaries to exploit them.

In addition, the geopolitics of energy, including global market and security considerations, is becoming more complex, which underscores the need to analyze and understand energy dependencies. Based on these factors, it is essential to integrate energy dependency considerations into hybrid threat, risk, and resilience assessments and strategies.

The goal of this paper is to enhance Hybrid COE member nations’ and allied organizations’ understanding of energy dependencies in the context of today’s hybrid threat security environment. The report provides an overview of dependency-related policies and initiatives, explains the geopolitics of energy dependencies, describes the classes of dependencies, and presents a general approach and recommendations for integrating energy dependency considerations into hybrid threat analysis and resilience assessments and strategies. -Press release 5.2.2019

The report can be downloaded from the Hybrid CoE website:




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