What follows is a press release from the Center for Security Policy, addressing the urgent issue of EMPs – that’s Electro-Magnetic Pulse(s) for short. It is an issue far more important than the purported news the MSM reports so breathlessly. The average American’s lack of awareness can be laid on the doorstep of our mendacious MSM. These are things a responsible press headlines, not which famous personality is going into drug treatment, or where the First Family is vactioning at the moment.
Our vulnerability vis-a-vis an instant return to 1840 may well be one of those urgencies which helps to accelerate America’s return to a confederation as understanding spreads and states grow impatient with the colossus in Washington. One very liberal state, Maine, is going ahead on its own to “harden” the skies above its Downeasters. [No, I don’t know why ‘down east’ is used for a state way far north from most of us. That’s Maine for you.]
The electric industry ought to be leading the way on this almost-emergency-right-now but it’s not. Our “system” is a hodgepdge of Rube Goldberg contraptions that, like Tospy, “just growed” through the course of the 20th century, ff. No one in the beginning could have foreseen asymmetrical warfare or the way it is chockablock with irrational actors – Iran, for starters, and North Korea salivating at the idea of our destruction.
This will be updated later with a video (if I can find Vlad Tepes). Meanwhile, CSP’s take on the potential crisis is thorough and measured. Frank Gaffney, the Center’s director, has studied our security vulnerabilities for decades. His work has gravitas; he is also a man of great integrity and courage. So I’m listening to him though I’d far rather be reading Jane Austen and eating blanc mange…sigh.
TO CONCEAL, NOT ILLUMINATE, DANGEROUS NATIONAL VULNERABILITIES?
Washington, DC: Few public policy issues are of greater import to the future security of the United States and its people than whether the nation’s electric grid is sufficiently resilient to withstand serious, and possibly enduring, disruption from man-caused or naturally occurring events.
Yesterday, however, a congressional warning was sounded that the needed, honest evaluation of this question may be hindered – not advanced – by a test slated for 13-14 Novemberthat is billed by its chief sponsor as a “biennial international grid security exercise” designed to evaluate “crisis response plans and identify actionable improvement recommendations for plans, security programs, and skills” in the face of cyber and physical attacks on the grid.
In the attached letter to the leaders of the electric industry’s trade association and regulator, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) expressed concern about the public response of a Florida utility, the Kissimmee Utility Authority, to a National Geographic feature film entitled, “American Blackout” that aired on 27 October 2013. As Rep. Franks wrote [a letter to the Florida utility]:
The docudrama] showed what our countrymen and nation would experience in the event of a cyber attack on the U.S. bulk power distribution system that shut down the grid for ten days. If anything, the serious hardships, dislocation, physical destruction, deaths and societal breakdown portrayed in this docudrama are likely understated.
“Yet…the Kissimmee Utility Authority saw fit to issue a press release after ‘American Blackout’ was broadcast that downplayed the dangers associated with the sort of disruption portrayed in the film. It was headlined, ‘No Need for Panic.’”
Mr. Franks, the Co-Chairman of the House Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Caucus, observed:
“We note that the industry has often issued such casual assurances when confronted with evidence – including that contained in no fewer than five different federal government studies in recent years – that a sustained blackout would be catastrophic. Rather than address this conclusion forthrightly and ensure that corrective actions are taken to prevent such an event, or at least minimize its likelihood, NERC and many of the utilities it represents have historically tried to deflect attention and trivialize the threat.”
Rep. Franks, who introduced last week with Rep. Pete Sessions (chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee) H.R. 3410, the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, has asked the electric industry leaders pointedly:
“In light of these dangers, we want to establish whether you and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation share the view of the utility in Kissimmee? Or do you believe the public should be concerned that the grid may be offline for extended periods?”
In conclusion, Rep. Franks served notice on those responsible for GridEx II: “If…NERC and others involved in planning and executing GridEx II are dismissive of those who believe such vulnerabilities exist – and if the planners are intent on using the exercise to hide, rather than expose, these shortcomings – GridEx may actually be a grave disservice to the consumer, to the public more generally and perhaps to America’s vital national security.”
A new video, “The Real American Blackout” was unveiled last week by the EMP Coalition – an ad hoc group made up of many of the nation’s leading experts and organizations committed to protecting the bulk power distribution grid and the critical infrastructures that depends upon it from the terrible consequences of a long-duration loss of power, raises similar concerns.
As described in a Washington Times column by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., a leader of the EMP Coalition, Dr. Peter Pry, has offered four litmus tests that will determine the validity and usefulness of the GridEx II drill:
- Is the simulated blackout one that affects the entire continental United States, or is it a regional one?
- Are just a few millions of Americans affected by the blackout, or the whole population of the Lower 48?
- Are there nuclear and industrial accidents precipitated by the grid going down?
- Is the power outage of short duration, or is it protracted? In the latter case, large numbers of us will die, not just be inconvenienced. Will GridEx II model that danger in order to show what the stakes really are in having a non-resilient grid?
As Mr. Gaffney, another EMP Coalition participant, put it: “If GridEx II fails to exercise such daunting – yet all-too-realistic – scenarios, NERC and the participating utilities must be held accountable for not only keeping the American people in the dark, but possibly for condemning them to that condition indefinitely.”
We have reached the stage in our technology that electricity is as necessary as potable water and food. Without electricity, those basic resources are not available to the millions who live in urban areas in windowless buildings, who depend on electric pumps at gas stations to get their petrol, etc. You get the idea. Those who strive to live free of the grid understand our vulnerability, though they don’t always express it in these terms. They think government is the beast lurking in the shadows. That may be the case, but a larger beast is the irrational and evil crazies who would paralyze Western states – all of us.
Legislators all over the Western world need to responsibly address this extreme vulnerability of their citizens. To not make it a priority is malfesance indeed. They will be judged by history to have failed to see what was right in front of them.