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Effective simulation of large-scale power system disturbances especially those stemming from intentional attack represents an open engineering and research problem. Challenges stem from the need to develop intelligent models of cyber-physical attacks that produce salient disruptions, to appropriately portray meaningful cyber-physical interdependencies, and balance precision, scale and complexity. In this paper, we present a foundation for the development of a class of intelligent cyber-physical attacks that we term coordinated switching attacks. Our approach, based on variable structure systems theory, is amenable to implementation in well known power system simulators. We provide a method to construct such attack models and demonstrate their utility in the simulation of extensive system disturbances. Our results demonstrate the potential for coordinated switch attacks to enable large-scale power system disturbances.