FORT KNOX, Ky. — Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials at Fort Knox closely monitored the situation after the cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline’s computer system May 7.
Though the attack affected fuel purchases across the nation for six days, resulting in gas shortages and long lines at pumps even in neighboring counties, Fort Knox gas stations remained online and operational.
“It did not affect us at all,” said Danita McFarland, Fort Knox AAFES manager. “The Colonial Pipeline does not service our area.”
McFarland said they were prepared to mitigate the attack if it had come to it. The attack had supplemental effects, though, that kept them focused on the outcome.
“We monitored the levels of gas that we had because we were concerned that customers might begin panic buying,” said McFarland. “The news was reporting that states bordering us were running out of gas.
“We were also monitoring because our fuel suppliers’ loads and deliveries were being rerouted in some cases and some days.”
In case fuel shortages do affect fuel deliveries at Fort Knox in the future, McFarland said AAFES is prepared.
“Our plan is a combination of monitoring deliveries and the amount of gas in our tanks, and rationing it,” said McFarland. “We have a plan in place, so if we need to execute it, we’re ready to go.”
The amount of fuel delivered to Fort Knox on any given day depends on several factors, to include which month they are in, holidays, special events, like Cadet Summer Training, and key times of the month, such as paydays. Depending on the need, trucks may deliver two to three loads a day, or more. If the demand rises higher than supply for any reason, they implement the plan.
“We have a number established,” said McFarland. “If our fuel levels dip below a particular number, and we know that our delivery is going to be delayed, we will begin rationing gas.”
Each manager receives accurate and up-to-date fuel information for their area from corporate headquarters in Dallas, to include cyberattacks and natural disasters that might affect them.
“They’re a great team, and they monitor fuel levels across the organization, especially during this time of year as the hurricane season approaches,” said McFarland. “They keep us well informed.”
McFarland said ultimately her focus, and that of the garrison commander, is to take care of all customers.
“We serve a large community,” said McFarland, “and we want to make sure everybody has the opportunity to purchase fuel for their vehicles.”