What are we doing to deter the catastrophe that would be caused by an EMP attack?

Do you live in an all-electric home? Dependent on electricity for heating and cooling, cooking, refrigeration, lighting, hot water, communications, security, to open the garage door?

What if the grid melted down for say a week? The water would stop flowing. Fuel pumps at the corner gas station would not work. Even if you had natural gas that would eventually cease to flow. The banks would be closed. Sewage would back up in the streets.

If the power remained off for months, as much as 90 percent of the population might die from starvation, disease and social tumult.

WSJ illustration

There are a number of things that could cause such a scenario — terrorism, solar flare or an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) caused by the detonation of a relatively small nuclear bomb in the atmosphere.

I’ve been writing about the potential for the latter event since 1980. A year ago I discussed a bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 3410, that would begin the process of hardening the nation’s grid against both solar flares and mad-man-caused EMP. Rep. Joe Heck was a sponsor. It passed the House on a unanimous voice vote, but languished untouched, unnoticed, ignored by the Harry Reid-run Senate.

The cost to do this grid work has been placed at somewhere between a half a billion dollars and a couple of billion. Washington spends three times that in one minute.

Rep. Trent Franks, R.-Ariz., who introduced H.R. 3410 in October, said, “It strikes at my very core when I think of the men, women, and children in cities and rural towns across America with a possibility of no access to food, water, or transportation. In a matter of weeks or months at most, a worst-case scenario could bring devastation beyond imagination.”

Harry Reid was unmoved, unconcerned, unavailable.

Today, Henry Cooper and Peter Pry again are warning of the threat of EMP and just how near it is. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Cooper, the former director of the Strategic Defense Initiative, and Pry, executive director of the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security, point out the megalomaniacs who run both North Korea and Iran are both probably capable of and likely willing to order such a devastating strike.

They report that the headquarters for the North American Aerospace Defense Command is being moved back into Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs. The site was largely abandoned a decade ago, but is being reactivated precisely because of the threat of EMP. Cheyenne Mountain is hardened against both blast and EMP.

In addition, the nation’s defenses are still pointed toward a Cold War enemy only capable of striking from the north, while our southern flank is completely exposed. Pry and Cooper report that both North Korea and Iran put satellites into south-polar trajectories “that appear to practice evading U.S. missile defenses, and at optimum altitudes to make a surprise EMP attack.

“The U.S. has no ballistic-missile early-warning radars or ground-based interceptors facing south and would be blind to a nuclear warhead orbited as a satellite from a southern trajectory.”

While U.S. senators sit on their collective arses and twiddle their thumbs while humming an oblivious happy tune, several states are pushing ahead with hardening their intrastate grids against EMP, Cooper and Pry tell us. These include Maine and Virginia, which have enacted legislation. Florida’s governor is considering executive action. Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Idaho and New York are looking into ways to deal with this threat.

But not Nevada. Our lawmakers are too busy squabbling and quibbling.

But perhaps the Nevada Public Utilities Commission could pick up the slack. After all, one of its duties by law is to “provide for the safe, economic, efficient, prudent and reliable operation and service of public utilities.” All it would have to do is tell Warren Buffett to spend the money to harden the grid and then reap a 10 percent return on equity from ratepayers.

Spending a little now to put locks on the house is cheaper than paying the price for the eventual break in.

Of course, this threat is nothing compared to climate change. Just ask Hillary Clinton. Or Barack Obama. Or John Kerry.

So, if you see a flash of light in the sky, followed by a loud boom, thank God you bought a Prius and the latest edition of the book on the caveman diet.

 

 

 

 

Obama dallies with digital delivery details and ignores serious threat to the nation

The problem with Obama isn’t just that he can’t solve problems, but that he can’t figure out what the real problems are.

Like when he called ISIS the JV team.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Obama is attacking government problems with a U.S. Digital Service — a sort of SWAT team of “our country’s brightest digital talent”— who will now roam the electronic passages of government spreading “best practices” and “customer-focused government” with “exceptional service delivery.”

Never mind that the problem isn’t corrupt data, but corrupt bureaucrats who created those phony VA waiting lists and lost Lois Lerner’s emails and botched the ObamaCare rollout.

But nearby that WSJ editorial is a column that points out how, while Obama is focusing on a gnat, he is ignoring an anvil that could fall at any time — electromagnetic pulse.

James Woolsey, chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former director of the CIA, and Peter Pry,  author of “Electric Armageddon,” point out the damage EMP could cause and how easy and cheap it would be to avoid the problem.

Pry previously testified before Congress that an EMP event could wipe out 90 percent of America’s population by interrupting the electronics on which we depend for food, water, power, hospitals and transportation.

All it would take is for some lunatic rogue nation or even a terrorist to detonate a relatively small nuclear device in the atmosphere over the heartland of America. It would release an electromagnetic pulse that would virtually shut down all technology. Or it could be from a natural event such as a solar flare like the 1859 Carrington Event or 1921 Railroad Storm.

What to do, Woolsey and Pry ask? And answer:

Surge arrestors, faraday cages and other devices that prevent EMP from damaging electronics, as well micro-grids that are inherently less susceptible to EMP, have been used by the Defense Department for more than 50 years to protect crucial military installations and strategic forces. These can be adapted to protect civilian infrastructure as well. The cost of protecting the national electric grid, according to a 2008 EMP Commission estimate, would be about $2 billion — roughly what the U.S. gives each year in foreign aid to Pakistan.

Obama has signed an executive order to guard “critical infrastructure” against cyberattacks, but has expressed no concern about the rest of our vulnerable infrastructure.

But a year ago, Rep. Trent Franks, R., Ariz., and Rep. Yvette Clark, D., N.Y., introduced the Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage — the Shield Act, of course. But the bill is stalled in committee.

Obama blathers about digital delivery but ignores a serious threat that could be so cheaply eliminated.

“What is lacking in Washington is a sense of urgency,” the article concludes. “Lawmakers and the administration need to move rapidly to build resilience into our electric grid and defend against an EMP attack that could deliver a devastating blow to the U.S. economy and the American people.”

Radius of EMP effect from a nuclear weapon detonated 300 miles above Nebraska.

 

Would you be willing to spend $500 million to save 90 percent of the American population from death?

What if someone turned off all the electronics?

No electricity to power your computer, your phone, your television, your lights, your radio, your refrigerator, your freezer, your stove, your air conditioning. Few if any functioning cars or trucks. No civilian airplanes. No fuel pumps. No banks. No fresh water. No sewage system.

Do you have enough dried beans and rice to survive?

All it would take is for some lunatic rogue nation or even a terrorist to detonate a relatively small nuclear device in the atmosphere over the heartland of America. It would release an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would virtually shut down all technology.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Dr. Peter Pry testified before Congress this week  that an EMP event could wipe out 90 percent of America’s population.

“Natural EMP from a geomagnetic super-storm, like the 1859 Carrington Event or 1921 Railroad Storm, and nuclear EMP attack from terrorists or rogue states, as practiced by North Korea during the nuclear crisis of 2013, are both existential threats that could kill 9 of 10 Americans through starvation, disease, and societal collapse,” he said.

There is a bill in the House, H.R. 3410, that would start the relatively inexpensive process of hardening the nation’s grid against such an attack, but it is languishing. Nevada Rep. Joe Heck is a co-sponsor.

Is this some startling new revelation? Hardly, I first wrote about it in February 1980 and it was old hat then.

Rep. Trent Franks, R.-Ariz., who introduced H.R. 3410 in October, said “every single facet of modern human life” would be “crippled” by an EMP event. “It strikes at my very core when I think of the men, women, and children in cities and rural towns across America with a possibility of no access to food, water, or transportation,” he said. “In a matter of weeks or months at most, a worst-case scenario could bring devastation beyond imagination.”

Most military equipment is hardened against such an attack but the populace is naked.

You may have read that North Korea’s state-run news agency called Obama a monkey, but you’ve probably not read about the real threat to your life that nation poses. There was almost no coverage of Pry’s testimony outside of the Free Beacon and an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily. The Apocalypse is such a downer.

First in a series of articles on the impact of nuclear attack on a Louisiana Air Force Base.

First in a series of articles on the impact of nuclear attack on a Louisiana Air Force Base.