In "Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision," published in 1962 by Roberta Wohlstetter, we read, " . . . a tendency in our planning is to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable. The contingency we have not considered looks strange; what looks strange is therefore improbable; what seems improbable need not be considered seriously."
Waiting at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., I just saw Ernest Moniz, President Obama’s Secretary of Energy, striding toward his flight. Nicely dressed. Shiny shoes. Chatting with his entourage. Seems happy with himself. I wanted to shout, "Why didn’t you protect the electric grid when you had a chance!"
The "Congressional EMP Commission, Executive Report, 2004" said, "The high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is one of a small number of threats that has the potential to hold our society seriously at risk . . . The electromagnetic fields . . . have a high likelihood of damaging electrical power systems, electronics, and information systems upon which American society depends."
I will never understand Washington elites. With so much power in their hands, they could do so much good. But they rarely do much good.
As Secretary of Energy, Moniz could have hardened the electric grid to survive an EMP. To survive a solar super-storm. To survive a cyber-attack. For $2 billion dollars, he could save 300 million Americans from starving in the dark from an electric Armageddon.
The "Congressional EMP Commission, Executive Report, 2004" also says, "The primary avenues for catastrophic damage to the Nation are through our electric power infrastructure and thence into our telecommunications, energy, and other infrastructures. These, in turn, can seriously impact other important aspects of our Nation’s life, including the financial system; means of getting food, water, and medical care to the citizenry; trade; and production of goods and services . . . It is possible for the functional outages to become mutually reinforcing until at some point the degradation of infrastructure could have irreversible effects on the country’s ability to support its population."
Why didn’t he do it? Why didn’t former Secretary Moniz protect the electric grid, protect our lives, protect our civilization? He should have begged President Obama and threatened to resign.
If I were the enery secretary, and failed to protect the grid, I wouldn’t be happy with myself. I wouldn’t be striding about proudly chirping with my entourage. I couldn’t face myself in the mirror.
Again from the "Congressional EMP Commission, Executive Report, 2004," "The damage level could be sufficient to be catastrophic to the Nation, and our current vulnerability invites attack," original emphasis.
Washington bigshots are not like the rest of America.
In small town America, where I grew up, a place called Marcy, N.Y., if a mechanic failed to fix your brakes and you had an accident, the mechanic would be sorry. If a vet couldn’t save your dog, they would be crestfallen. If a doctor lost a patient, they would be full of remorse.
Washington bigshots send our young people to lose lives and limbs in foreign wars, for obscure reasons, or fail to protect the electric grid, endangering millions of Americans, and care more about their shiny shoes.
Thomas Popik is an MIT graduate and businessman who lives in Connecticut. J.D. Miniear is a radio host who lives in Indiana. Bob Hall is a state senator in Texas.
If they — or any one of scores of ordinary Americans I know — could be energy secretary for just one day, they would move heaven and earth to protect the grid.
The "Congressional EMP Commission, Executive Report, 2004" adds, "Several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication."
I think about my son, Frank, and my grandchildren, Dominique, Delilah, and Dorrian. Angels. So innocent. So good. The future.
Moniz must have grandchildren. Why didn’t he move heaven and earth to protect them?
In June of this year, Dr. William R. Graham, Chairman, Congressional EMP Commission, wrote, "While most analysts are fixated on when in the future North Korea will develop highly reliable intercontinental missiles, guidance systems, and reentry vehicles capable of striking a U.S. city, the threat here and now from EMP is largely ignored. EMP attack does not require an accurate guidance system because the area of effect, having a radius of hundreds or thousands of kilometers, is so large.
"No reentry vehicle is needed because the warhead is detonated at high-altitude, above the atmosphere. Missile reliability matters little because only one missile has to work to make an EMP attack against an entire nation. North Korea could make an EMP attack against the United States by launching a short-range missile off a freighter or submarine or by lofting a warhead to 30 kilometers burst height by balloon.
"While such lower-altitude EMP attacks would not cover the whole U.S. mainland, as would an attack at higher-altitude (300 kilometers), even a balloon-lofted warhead detonated at 30 kilometers altitude could blackout the Eastern Grid that supports most of the population and generates 75 percent of U.S. electricity. Or an EMP attack might be made by a North Korean satellite . . . "
Energy Secretary Rick Perry — Now it’s up to you.
Peter Vincent Pry is executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security. He served in the Congressional EMP Commission, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of "Blackout Wars." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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