U.S. Preparation Lagging to Battle Potentially Devastating EMP

A report has found that up to nine out of 10 Americans could die from a long-term blackout as a result of starvation and societal collapse.

From: pjmedia.com,  by: Bill Straub,  on: May 21, 2015,  see the article HERE.

EMP blast coverage

WASHINGTON – A warning bell is being sounded urging the federal government to take the steps necessary to prepare for an electromagnetic pulse that could cause massive blackouts and damage the nation’s electric grid.

Experts maintain an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) resulting from a high-altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon high above the jet stream — perhaps by a rogue state — or a geomagnetic “super storm” caused by the sun could conceivably lead to a blackout lasting months or even years. A 2008 report by the congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse found that up to nine out of 10 Americans could die from a long-term blackout as a result of starvation and societal collapse.

The world almost found out what life would be like in the wake of a super storm in 2012, according to NASA, which places the possibility of such an event at 12 percent per decade, meaning that a catastrophe could occur within the lifetime of those currently populating the planet.

But the House Subcommittee on Interior National Security learned that little is being done to prepare for an EMP on the national level, leaving much of the work to the states.

James H. Baker, a professor emeritus at George Mason University who served as the principal staff member on the EMP commission, informed the subcommittee that “we have the engineering know-how and tools to protect ourselves. What is lacking is resolve.”

“EMP and GMD (geomagnetic disturbances) are particularly challenging in that they interfere with electrical power and electronic data, control, transmission and communication systems organic to nearly all critical infrastructures,” Baker told the panel. “The affected geography may be continental in scale.”

EMP and GMD events represent “a class of high-consequence disasters that is unique in its coverage, ubiquity and simultaneous system debilitation,” he said. They require particular attention with regard to preparedness and recovery since assistance from non-affected regions of the nation could be scarce or nonexistent.

Neither President Obama nor Congress have moved to implement policies regarding EMP. The House in 2008 passed the Grid Act and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act but neither made it through the Senate.

Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, a congressional advisory board working to protect the U.S. from EMP and other threats, said that in addition to destroying the grid, an event could “collapse all the other critical infrastructures — communications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water — necessary to sustain modern society and the lives of 310 million Americans.”

States should harden their electric grids against nuclear EMP attack because “there is a clear and present danger, because protecting against nuclear EMP will mitigate all lesser threats and because both the federal government in Washington and the electric power industry have failed to protect the people from the existential peril that is an EMP catastrophe,” he said.

There are two types of EMP events, according to Baker. In the first, gamma rays resulting from a nuclear blast interact with stratospheric air molecules. That couples with electrical and electronic systems in general, regardless of the length of their penetrating cables and antenna lines. Exposed systems may be upset or permanently damaged under that scenario.

In the other event, the earth’s magnetic field lines are distorted as a result of the expanding nuclear fireball and the rise of heated and ionized layers of the ionosphere. The change of the magnetic field at the earth’s surface induces currents of hundreds to thousands of amperes in long conducting lines that damage components of the electric power grid itself as well as powered systems. Long-line communication systems are also affected.

In the case of solar storms, charged particles from the sun interact with the Earth’s magnetic field. Electrojets from these storms can generate overvoltages in long-line systems over large regions of the earth’s surface, affecting electric power and communication transmission networks.

Baker told the subcommittee that “we must come to grips, as a nation, with the EMP/GMD preparedness challenges.”

“The consequences of these threats are preventable,” he said. “The good news is that the engineering tools are available to protect a meaningful set of high-priority infrastructures.”

The nation should undertake several initiatives, Baker said. A national executive agency should be created within either the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Defense with the first order of business being the development of a national EMP/GMD protection plan and a set of national planning scenarios.

Baker said the nation also needs to create a national program to protect the electric power grid, including essential supporting infrastructures used for fuel supply and communication.

And Congress should establish an independent commission solely focused on electric grid reliability with the authority to issue and enforce regulations similar to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Baker told the panel that the lack of progress in protecting critical infrastructure from EMP and GMD centers on the fact that responsibility is distributed.

“EMP protection has become a finger-pointing, ring-around-the-rosey, duck-and-cover game,” he said. “Our bureaucracy has enabled gaps for addressing the difficult problems of EMP and GMD, resulting in no substantive action to protect the nation.”

The U.S. faces the “classic Washington problem of issues that span departments or fall between departments, which we’re all very familiar with, but then we add to that the involvement of the private sector, without central leadership, we’re foundering.”

In response to the situation, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) has introduced the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, which, among other things requires the Department of Homeland Security to include EMP threats in its national planning scenarios and conduct a campaign to proactively educate owners and operators of critical infrastructure, emergency planners, and emergency responders at all levels of government of EMP threats.

That bill is currently before the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies.

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It’s an unfortunate result of human nature that so many inhabitants of our United States are oblivious to an EMP disaster. The LIV crowd (Low Information Voter) are so preoccupied with their own selfish wants (not needs) that they ignore anything important (like selecting an honest, capable, proven leader to lead our country) witness the election of an empty suit in Barack Obama. And it goes even further – as an offshoot of their intense disconnection with the real world, they completely ignore the very real possibility of a natural solar storm or an attack by North Korea or Iran that could send the country back to the dark ages (literally). It is this LIV crowd who aren’t paying attention and don’t know about EMPs who will be to blame if we find ourselves without the electronic infrastructure that has become necessary for our civilization to exist. 

The House passed legislation seven years ago that would help address this very real possibility and our Senate just ignored the issue. We need to “connect the (warning) dots” BEFORE it happens to see WHO is preventing action that is like cheap insurance. Cheap now, impossible to get after the event occurs.

Garnet92

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13 Responses to U.S. Preparation Lagging to Battle Potentially Devastating EMP

  1. Uriel says:

    Well done, Garnet and very timely as Senate and House are currently “in committee” stalling again on this issue.

  2. CW says:

    Excellent as always, Garnet.

    It really is astonishing that this subject gets such little attention, but that certainly isn’t for lack of effort on your part. The fact that this critical infrastructure has been so neglected really reveals the absence of sincerity by Obama & Co. who worked so hard to increase our debt for infrastructure and then squandered the money on free-loaders and boondoggles. The House should urge the Senate to take up this issue again. Otherwise Republicans will be as culpable as Obama & Co. if a failure occurs.

    • Garnet92 says:

      Thanks CW, there would be a bipartisan effort to stick their collective heads in the sand – but it’s too difficult to pull their heads out of their rears first, so nothing happens. And yes, you’re right, the R’s will be just as much at fault as the D’s if we experience an EMP event.

  3. Clyde says:

    Good post, Garnet. Too bad the assholes are MORE concerned over a FAKE problem, i.e. climate change, than they are a REAL threat.

    • Garnet92 says:

      Thanks Clyde – that’ a good comparison, IF climate change were to be real, we wouldn’t know about it for decades whereas I wouldn’t want to bet our lives that Iran or North Korea won’t lob a device over the U.S. and cripple our economy sometime in the next 10-20 years.

      Or our friend the sun decides to send a CME our way (just for kicks). The results of either will be catastrophic. We should be preparing against either possibility.

  4. While this would be bad, ANYTHING that disrupts the flow of food to the inner cities will be a disaster. The bottom line is that we’d better be prepared to defend hearth and home like it was the battle of Wake Island and we’re the Marines being besieged.

    BTW, a nice Faraday Box for comm devices is an old microwave. As long as the “box” is intact, whether the microwave works or not, you’re golden.

    • Garnet92 says:

      You’re right Gunny – actually all that has to happen if for the electricity to be out and the EBT cards to become useless – that’ll cause riots and looting the likes of which we’ve never seen before – the inner cities will soon become dead zones.

      • Uriel says:

        Believe it or not Snap went down recently in Baton Rouge. Some glitch. OMG. You would have thought the earth was under attack. THAT was for 24hrs. Can you feature longer. The turn back to Sandy and Katrina I shudder to think if a problem beyond a year as a complete all across the country shutdown. That does not count our enemies Immediate takeover attempts

  5. Kathy says:

    Here’s our key sentence – “What is lacking is resolve.”

    With resolve comes commitment, but as the piece states they’re too busy nit-picking and as Clyde stated, they’re focused on a phony problem. They’re also preoccupied with putting out the fires O starts and their own agendas. Until we have an attack comparable to 9/11, except in the EMP aspect, they won’t find that resolve. Why?
    Because they put out fires, they don’t prevent them.

    I’m not too sure there is a good department to handle this, but turning it over to the DHS is the worst possible choice, considering their track record and their kowtowing to O. Perhaps NASA?

  6. Garnet92 says:

    The trouble starts at the top and our congressional “leadership” is too busy kissing up to Obama and covering their own asses to do anything constructive. Our Congress has become totally useless. With a few exceptions (maybe 75-100), the rest are self-serving and are there to feather their nest – screw the people.

    We, the American people, are probably worse off today than ever before – relative to our “representatives” acting on our behalf for the betterment of the country. Only a minority are trying to do the job that the founders expected them to do, the rest are in it for personal aggrandizement – nothing else.

    And the worse part – is that our unengaged, uncaring electorate put these idiots in power – and are keeping them there. I am totally disgusted.

  7. upaces88 says:

    ​Ex-CIA Operative: Military Thwarted Obama’s Plans To Nuke/EMP America

  8. vonmesser says:

    Recommend the book “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen, William D. Sanders (Forward by Newt Ginrich). It is a fictional EMP attack on the US. Darn good, somewhat scarey.