2023 Events

The 2023 C.U.R.E.I.T. Exercise Summary


The Cyber United: Resilient Electric Infrastructure Training (C.U.R.E.I.T.) exercise, designed to provide hands-on experiences and mutual aid awareness for defending electric grids against cyber threats.

When & Where:

August 17-18, 2023, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Campus

Participating Universities:

Iowa State University and University of Illinois Information Trust Institute, Grainer College of Engineering


Participants: 30 representatives from 20 utility organizations (investor-owned, electric cooperatives, municipalities)

Observers: 10 individuals from Argonne National Lab, CISA, FBI, National Guards, industry associations, regulatory bodies


· Increase awareness of attack vectors

· Introduce defensive tools

· Promote team building and cross-functional cooperation

· Simulate live threat environment for practicing incident response

Key Successes:

· Dynamic learning environment: Combining training and hands-on practice in simulated operational technology environment

· Exercise cadence: Cycle of training, exercise, and hotwash for immediate application of new knowledge and skills

· Team building and mutual assistance: Collaboration between participants from different organizations

· Flexible format: Adaptable to different objectives and skill levels

Lessons Learned:

· Consider adjusting time allocation for exercise modules and after-action reviews

· Explore options for team building before the exercise

· Integrate executive and management roles into future exercises

· Optimize complexity levels for diverse skill sets

· Improve utilization of external information sources and injects


· Additional C.U.R.E.I.T. exercises with updated scenarios and technologies

· Expanding the program to reach new groups and regions

· Scaling the exercise model for nationwide implementation


C.U.R.E.I.T. was a successful exercise that provided valuable learning opportunities for utility personnel in improving their cybersecurity preparedness and response capabilities. The ReCIPE coalition plans to build upon this success by hosting future events and expanding its reach to a wider audience.


The University of Illinois ITI Design Team was comprised of Matthew Luallen, Casey O’Brien, David Emmerich, Matthew Needham, Logan Marlow, and Dominic Saebeler. Jennifer Summers was responsible for project management and onsite logistics. She was assisted by Dawn Cheek-Wooten.

Principal Investigator Dr. Doug Jacobson and Co-PI Dr. Manimuran Govindarasu from Iowa State University were in attendance and worked closely with the team from the University of Illinois, which was under the direction of Illinois Principal Investigator Dr. David M. Nicol.

The National Security Agency (NSA), through its National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) Program Office, provided funding (award #H982302110168) that made this exercise possible.