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Trump's actions have been critical to defending the US against an EMP attack

Trump's actions have been critical to defending the US against an EMP attack
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE’s withdrawal from the bogus Iran nuclear deal, and his determination to denuclearize North Korea, are all the more important due to the fact that even a single nuclear weapon possessed by these rogue states could pose an existential threat to the United States by way of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

President Trump is the first president to include protection of the national electric grid in his national security strategy. Likewise, Trump’s modernization of the U.S. nuclear deterrent and strengthening of missile defenses — including possibly deploying space-based defenses — are all the more important because of the EMP threat.

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Everyone should heed three new unclassified reports just published by the Congressional EMP Commission.

 

According to the executive summary, EMP is “an existential threat to the survival of the United States and its allies that can be exploited by major nuclear powers and small-scale nuclear weapon powers, including North Korea and non-state actors, such as nuclear-armed terrorists.”

A long-term outage owing to EMP could disable most critical supply chains, leaving the U.S. population living in conditions similar to centuries past, prior to electric power. “In the 1800s, the U.S. population was less than 60 million, and those people had many skills and assets necessary for survival without today’s infrastructure. An extended blackout today could result in the death of a large fraction of the American people through the effects of societal collapse, disease, and starvation.”

The bad guys are planning nuclear EMP attack against the U.S. as part of "combined-arms cyber warfare."

The report states, “Combined-arms cyber warfare, as described in the military doctrines of Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, may use combinations of cyber-, sabotage-, and ultimately nuclear EMP attack to impair the United States quickly and decisively by blacking-out large portions of its electric grid and other critical infrastructures. Foreign adversaries may aptly consider nuclear EMP attack a weapon that can gravely damage the U.S. by striking at its technological Achilles’ Heel, without having to confront the U.S. military.”

Moreover, “The synergism of such combined arms is described in the military doctrines of all these potential adversaries as the greatest revolution in military affairs in history — one which projects rendering obsolete many, if not all, traditional instruments of military power.”

North Korea claimed on Sept. 3, 2017, following an apparently successful H-Bomb test: “The H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens of kilotons to hundreds of kilotons, is a multi-functional thermonuclear [weapon] with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack according to strategic goals.”

On Sept. 4, 2017, North Korea published “The EMP Might of Nuclear Weapons” accurately describing a “super-EMP” weapon.

The EMP Commission warns: “The United States, its territories, and allies are therefore the target of current threats by the government of North Korea that specifically include EMP, and also include further development and exploitation of high altitude EMP weapons.”

Protection from nuclear EMP attack and natural EMP from solar super-storms is feasible and affordable ($2-3 billion to protect the national electric grid). Yet “few such actions are currently underway or even being contemplated.”

What is to be done? The executive summary included several recommendations.

“The single most important action … is that the president establish an executive agent with the authority, accountability, and resources to manage U.S. national infrastructure protection and defense against the existential EMP threat. Current institutional authorities and responsibilities — government, industry, regulatory agencies — are fragmented, incomplete.”

The Department of Defense (DoD) and its laboratories and contractors have by far the most knowledge, data, and experience related to nuclear EMP effects and EMP protection. However, DoD has largely failed to make this knowledge available to other government agencies and to utilities that develop, build, and operate U.S. critical national infrastructure.

“For example, there has been a continuing unwillingness of the DoD to provide specific information about the EMP environment to the commercial community owing to classification restrictions. Today the DHS looks to the DOE to provide guidance and direction for protecting the national electric power grids. Such a course of action would take longer and cost more compared to establishing a program of cooperation with the knowledgeable parts of the DoD.”

The EMP Commission found the classified report on EMP issued in 2014 by the Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee (JAEIC) is analytically unsound, and recommends recall of the erroneous Obama-era JAEIC report.

The EMP Commission likewise found assessments by the electric power industry, including the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), erroneous and grossly underestimate the EMP threat.

The commission also recommended electric grid equipment that requires a long time to replace — such as large power transformers — be tested against system failure, and that they be hardened to a standard over 10 times higher than recommended by NERC and EPRI.

Thankfully, President Trump’s new national security strategy would protect electric grids and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures from EMP. The EMP Commission reports — seven more awaiting release from DoD — show the way forward.

Dr. William Graham was chairman of the EMP Commission and served as President Reagan’s Science Advisor and administrator of NASA.  Dr. Peter Vincent Pry was EMP Commission chief of staff and served in the House Armed Services Committee and CIA.