During 2005 and 2006, the western electricity coordinating council (WECC) performed three major tests of western system dynamics. These tests used a wide-area measurement system (WAMS) based primarily on phasor measurement units (PMUs) to determine response to events including the insertion of the 1400-MW Chief Joseph braking resistor, probing signals, and ambient events. Test security was reinforced through real-time analysis of wide-area effects, and high-quality data provided dynamic profiles for interarea modes across the entire western interconnection. The tests established that low-level optimized pseudo-random plusmn20 -MW probing with the pacific DC intertie (PDCI) roughly doubles the apparent noise that is natural to the power system, providing sharp dynamic information with negligible interference to system operations. Such probing is an effective alternative to use of the 1400-MW Chief Joseph dynamic brake, and it is under consideration as a standard means for assessing dynamic security.