Clearly recognizing vulnerability to a devastating electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the U.S. power grid and general electronic infrastructure, the Pentagon is moving NORAD’s early warning and command/control headquarters to a hollowed-out Cheyenne Mountain bunker near Colorado Springs, Colo.
The greatest strike threat is from a small nuclear device detonated in orbit above our mainland following a south-polar trajectory which will be blind to our ballistic missile early warning radars and ground-based interceptors facing south.
North Korea and Iran have both demonstrated capacities to orbit payloads over the South Pole. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has developed a mobile KN-08 ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S., along with nuclear explosive devices that were tested in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
While Iran’s nuclear weapons timetable is less certain, former congressional EMP Commission Chairman William Graham and former National Intelligence Council Chairman Fritz Ermarth have warned Newsmax that Iran should be regarded as already having nuclear missiles capable of delivering EMP attacks.
There is little doubt however about staggering EMP risks. A blast from a relatively small and primitive atomic bomb would black out a vast region of our critical civilian and military electronics infrastructure for months or even years.
According to an unclassified 2008 Congressional EMP Commission report, a year-long blackout would cause 90 percent of the population — tens of millions of Americans — to perish from starvation and societal chaos.
EMP threats aren’t limited to space-launched delivery systems. In what Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., refers to as a “scud in the tub” scenario, a relatively small and primitive 500-kiloton single-stage atomic bomb launched from an ordinary-looking freighter ship and exploded in the atmosphere 25 to 300 miles above Chicago will accomplish much the same catastrophic agenda.
Highly disruptive EMP events can also be caused by occurrences of intense solar activity. Peter Vincent Pry who served on the congressional EMP Threat Commission from 2001-2008 reported that the world barely missed a solar flare event large enough to knock out power, cars and iPhones throughout the U.S. in 2013 when an EMP flashed through Earth’s typical orbit about two weeks before the planet got there.
A comparable-level 1859 solar EMP melted telegraph lines in Europe and North America. That, of course, was before contemporary survival became dependent upon electricity sources and devices.
In 2009 a congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States co-chaired by former secretaries of defense William Perry and James Schlesinger urged immediate action to protect the grid. Study conclusions of the Academy of Sciences, the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the National Intelligence Council concurred.
Dare to imagine circumstances with grid disruptions shutting down all water pumping and sanitation stations; lights and refrigerators; TV, radio and Internet communications; and manufacturing industries.
All equipment that relies upon complex electronic micro circuitry would cease to function, including banking transactions, air traffic control operations and ground transportation vehicles, law enforcement communications, gasoline pumps, heating and air-conditioning, and tiny implanted medical devices.
Although President Obama signed an executive order in 2013 to guard against cyberattacks, our national power grid vulnerability remains ignored. Nor has Congress responded to protect our critical civilian and military electric infrastructure.
While in a rare display of bipartisanship Rep. Trent Franks and Rep. Yvette Clark, D-N.Y., introduced the Secure High-voltage Infrastructure from Lethal Damage, or “SHIELD Act” in June 2013, that legislation got stalled in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
That same year Rep. Franks and Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, introduced a Critical Infrastructure and Protection Act (CIPA) which directed the Department of Homeland Security to adopt a new National Planning Scenario focused upon federal, state and local emergency responses to an EMP emergency.
Broadly regarded as a “necessary first step” in protecting the nation’s power grid, that proposed legislation died in the Senate.
Unless and until circumstances of non-responsive federal government leadership change, this leaves responsibility for public EMP protection with individual states, and several legislatures are beginning to respond. Colorado, Idaho, Main, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia are in various stages of EMP security planning.
Texas State Senator Bob Hall has introduced legislation to EMP-harden the Texas grid, which unlike other regions has a stand-alone state-wide power capacity.
Estimating the cost at about $500 million, a portion of this money would come from the Texas Enterprise Fund which is normally used to attract businesses to Texas. Comparing this with incalculable costs of an EMP disaster, he cautions “We’re talking about an insurance policy that is almost insignificant to what we would have to pay if the grid went down.”
Yes . . . and besides, without nation-wide EMP countermeasures there may otherwise be no out-of-state businesses to attract.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of “Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom”(2015) and “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax” (2012). Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.