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President Trump’s national security strategy is a win for America


On Dec. 18, President Trump described a new “America first” national security strategy, breaking new ground by promising to protect U.S. critical infrastructures from “cyber, physical, and electromagnetic attacks.”

After eight years of the Obama administration ignoring the existential threat posed by electromagnetic pulse (EMP), Trump deserves the gratitude of his nation for being the first president to include EMP in his national security strategy. 

{mosads}In so doing, Trump kept a promise made in the 2016 Republican Party Platform on which he ran and was elected. The new strategy notes that the “vulnerability of U.S. critical infrastructure to cyber, physical, and electromagnetic attacks means that adversaries could disrupt military command and control, banking and financial operations, the electrical grid, and means of communication.”


Presidential recognition of the EMP threat hopefully will mobilize the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense to give EMP protection of military forces and civilian critical infrastructures high priority. That protection should include not only hardening key assets against EMP effects, but more robust and layered missile defenses. 

Trump’s new national security strategy — reversing the Obama administration’s long neglect and weakening of national missile defense — promises to deploy a “layered missile defense system focused on North Korea and Iran to defend our homeland against missile attacks.” It adds that the system “will include the ability to defeat missile threats prior to launch.”

Hopefully, as the Trump administration liberates itself from the damaging influence of Obama holdovers opposed to national missile defense, the “America First” national security strategy may evolve to support space-based missile defense capable of protecting America from all potential adversaries—including Russia and China.

Trump understands, even if everyone in his administration does not, that “strategic stability” and “longstanding strategic relationships with Russia or China” are best maintained — not by a policy of mutual vulnerability — but by a policy of “peace through strength.” Protecting the nation from all missile threats and EMP should be the cornerstone of a “peace through strength” policy.

Toward the goal of EMP protection, Trump should establish an executive agent to manage U.S. national infrastructure protection against the existential EMP threat. Current institutional authorities and responsibilities–government, industry, regulatory agencies — are fragmented, under-resourced, and unable to protect against foreign hostile EMP threats and natural EMP from solar super-storms.

Trump himself would be the best executive agent for national EMP protection. He could start by reforming Defense Department dereliction of duty on EMP. Up to the present, the department has failed to lead the country in providing for national defense and security from EMP attack:

  • Failed to transfer much of its technical capabilities and accomplishments to other agencies of the federal government;
  • Failed to use its knowledge to assist and critique activities of other federal agencies, including the intelligence community;
  • Failed to declassify EMP environment and effects data and predictions that, while known to U.S. adversaries, are not available to the U.S. public, U.S. infrastructure organizations, and U.S. professional societies that develop specifications and standards for protecting critical national infrastructure;
  • Failed to inform the Congress and the public of the present and continuing existential EMP threat to the nation;
  • Failed to develop and pursue plans to protect the U.S. from EMP threats.

Last but not least, Obama-holdovers in the Defense Department sabotaged the Congressional EMP Commission and made false assertions causing termination of the Commission in September 2017. That same month North Korea tested an H-bomb that Pyongyang describes as capable of a “super-powerful EMP attack.” On Sept. 4, North Korea published “The EMP Might Of Nuclear Weapons” accurately describing a super-EMP nuclear warhead.

The inclusion of EMP in the new national security strategy comes just in time. Mr. President, thank you for your leadership!

Dr. William Graham served as chairman of the Congressional EMP Commission, and Dr. Peter Vincent Pry served as chief of staff. 

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Electromagnetic pulse EMP North Korea Peter Pry William Graham

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