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"Millions of Americans Could Die": Are We Ready for An EMP Attack?

William R. Graham, R. James Woolsey, Peter Vincent Pry

Security,

Among the most important findings of 2004, 2008, and 2017 reports by the congressionally mandated Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack is that millions of Americans could die and the loss of our electronic civilization to manmade or natural EMP catastrophe would be a national doomsday.

Among the most important findings of 2004, 2008, and 2017 reports by the congressionally mandated Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack is that millions of Americans could die and the loss of our electronic civilization to manmade or natural EMP catastrophe would be a national doomsday. Therefore, EMP is one of a very small number of existential threats that demands immediate high-priority attention from the U.S. Government.

President Trump deserves the gratitude of every American for heeding EMP Commission warnings and issuing his “Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses” on March 26, 2019.

However, the President’s executive order to protect the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures is in danger of being undermined by a small number of highly influential non-expert career bureaucrats in the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.  This cabal of about five members of the permanent federal bureaucracy were obstacles to national EMP preparedness during the Obama Administration— and today are entrusted by DHS and DOE with implementing President Trump’s EMP Executive Order.

Moreover, with the resignation of several key people at the top of the National Security Council staff, it is at best uncertain that the replacements will have the knowledge, experience, and drive to see that the President’s Executive Order is implemented, particularly in the face of resistance from career bureaucrats in league with domestic and foreign electric power monopolies.

Not having deep expertise in EMP themselves, and perhaps being part of “the resistance” to Trump Administration policies, these DHS and DOE actors are promoting EMP “junk science” by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a lobby for the electric power industry.  EPRI alleges that even a worst-case nuclear EMP attack or solar superstorm is not an existential threat to electric power grids and U.S. society, would have merely localized effects, and be quickly recoverable.

If EPRI’s fantasy is accepted that a nuclear EMP attack or solar superstorm would have societal consequences no worse than a hurricane, then DHS, DOE, and the electric power industry can “implement” President Trump’s EMP Executive Order by doing little or nothing.

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