Overview of Historical Facts and Data
Arguing over Funding – The U.S. Government’s Past Time: Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, among other countries, all look at EMP differently than many officials in the U.S. government. There is much debate in Washington regarding whether EMP is or is not an imminent threat. There is also debate about whether man-made or natural threat is more probable and/or more catastrophic and therefore requires more funding. Meanwhile, what are enemies such as Iran and North Korea doing? They continue to plan attacks including a “portfolio” of methods, including EMP attacks, physical attacks, cyber-attacks, and/or advantageous timing with severe weather or natural disasters. They do not “isolate” any single method of attack; they do not look at waging war in such simplistic terms. They are creative. The U.S. government has evidence that Russia, China, Iran and North Korea all include the use of EMP in coordination with other methods of attack in their war plans; they openly discuss, write about, and practice coordinated attacks utilitizing multiple methods. They are united in their planning while our officials are universally arguing over funding.
And the Rankings are…: Regardless of where one ranks individual threats on the probability list, the projected results of a successful EMP in a coordinated attack or a massive solar storm are inarguably catastrophic. The U.S. government knows this and has taken steps to harden key military and governmental installations; the government would not have done that without firm research and data. The U.S. and other nations of the world have conducted numerous research studies. While impact estimates cannot specify exact locations and numbers of systems affected, research and data foretells catastrophic damage if the grid remains unhardened.
When scientists first designed the atomic bomb, the research and data predicted devastating effects even though no one had yet actually tested the A-bomb. The first “test” of the A-bomb used in Hiroshima was on the day the U.S. dropped it in August 1945. The data bore out the truth.
Today, scientists have super computers to run data and modeling scenarios which have brought great advances in the ability to predict outcomes. Even though the U.S. has not yet experienced a large regional or national grid down, the research, data, and computer modeling all indicate that the U.S. grid is perilously vulnerable and as little as NINE destroyed substations could bring down the entire U.S. grid (and large areas of Canada) for 12-18 months, possibly longer. Do not be misled by misinformation in the news.
In addition to computer modeling, there are also hard facts from history, and testing and events on actual systems to reference.
1962 Starfish Prime: Starfish Prime was a high altitude nuclear test conducted by the U.S. and remains the largest nuclear test conducted in space in history. The rocket carrying the nuclear bomb was launched from Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 900 miles west-southwest of Hawaii. The nuclear bomb was detonated at 250 miles in the atmosphere, and its effects were noted as far as Hawaii. Readings on instrumentation used to record the test went off the scales and seven low orbit satellites were crippled. In Hawaii, burglar alarms were triggered, telephone microwave links were damaged, and 300 street lights were blown. The phenomenon called electromagnetic pulse (EMP) was just experienced and discovered.
Many non-EMP experts misstate in the media that the massive yield (i.e. power) of the 1962 nuclear bomb combined with the lack of extensive damage to electronics and electrical systems in Hawaii indicate that the yield of a nuclear bomb would have to be massive to cause extensive damage. This is not true.
The reason more extensive effects were not noted in Hawaii include:
1. Hawaii was at the very edge of the radius (i.e. on the horizon) of the bomb’s coverage where effects decrease in intensity;
2. The detonation of a nuclear bomb over an ocean lessens the intensity of effects (i.e. the ocean “absorbs” the energy of the bomb);
3. Hawaii did not yet have extensive use of electricity at the time; and
4. the 1962-era electronics used large, solid-state vacuum tube technology (i.e. “robustly” built and highly EMP resistant).
If detonated over the continental U.S., it would not take a large nuclear bomb to have devastating consequences with today’s highly interconnected electric grid having delicate electronics and unhardened transformers. Many reports in the media by non-EMP experts are factually inaccurate.
1962 U.S.S. R. Test over Kazakhstan (Test 184): The former U.S.S.R. performed a series of high altitude nuclear tests in 1962. The Russian government has only recently provided limited data, with the most being from Test 184. EMP experts estimated the bomb of Test 184 to be of much lower yield efficiency in comparison to Starfish Prime. The nuclear bomb of Test 184 was launched from Kapustin Yar and detonated at 180 miles in the atmosphere. Its effects were noted across all of Kazakhstan (roughly the size of the U.S. east of the Mississippi) with the most intense effects occurring near the south central region. The impacts of Test 184 included burned out generating power stations (one even burned down), fused underground power lines, burned out insulators on above ground power lines, shut down long distance telephone lines, and destroyed 1962-era electronics having large, solid-state vacuum tube technology (i.e. “robustly” built and highly EMP resistant). Source: http://www.eiscouncil.com/App_Data/Upload/a4ce4b06-1a77-44d8-83eb-842bb2a56fc6.pdf
Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL): ONRL is operated by the University of Tennessee at Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. Their facilities are conducting some of the leading research into the effects of electromagnetic pulse on components of the electric grid. Their website is here: https://www.ornl.gov/ .
Yemen and Mexico: Terrorist organizations continue to improve in their scope and sophistication of their attacks by attacking electric grids at the on-set of an assault.
In October of 2013, the Knights of Templar, a Mexican drug cartel with known ties to terrorist organizations in the Middle East, blew up power stations with Molotov cocktails and left 11 Mexican cities without power. Why? So, they could enter key towns in the chaos and execute officials who opposed their rule. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/28/mexico-drug-cartel-attack-electricity_n_4168761.html
In June of 2014, for the first time in history, an entire nation’s electric grid was collapsed by a hostile force by blowing up the transmission towers. Yemen’s population of 23 million was without power for one day. What saved Yemen’s transformers and control systems from burning up? Their electric grid system still has many manual switches and old vacuum tube fuses (i.e. it’s not a smart grid with highly interconnected systems). Consequently, after that 24 hour period, Yemen was so destabilized that the U.S. has since lost the country as an ally in that region. https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterdetwiler/2014/06/19/terrorist-attack-left-all-of-yemen-in-darkness-last-week-another-wake-up-call/#4766ce267e36
There continue to be more instances of collapse of electric grids by terrorist organizations. In some instances, the attackers have clear motives; in other instances, their motives are unclear. Terrorists across the world and close to U.S. soil have begun to learn the power of “no power”.
Overview of History of Legislation
After many years of research and reports from multiple government and private sector agencies, heated political debate, and strong bi-partisan support (even one unanimously supported bill in the U.S. House), legislation in both the U.S. Congress and several states has failed primarily due to the well-funded efforts of special interest groups. On October 13, 2016, President Obama signed in his last days of office the Executive Order, “Coordinating Efforts to Prepare the Nation for Space Weather Events.” On December 23, 2016, the “2017 National Defense Authorization Act” was passed and included the complete language of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) that had struggled for years to be approved.
The passage of this Executive Order and CIPA marks a milestone in legislation and proves that these are real problems facing America today and not just the rantings by “extremists” as some media sources portray. The American people are being misled. However, passing of legislation doesn’t mean any laws are being enforced.
New bills addressing grid security continue to be introduced in 2017 and are working their way through Washington to hopefully be passed by Fall. However, none of these bills require the utilities industry to install specific hardware to protect critical components of the electric grid. As of July 2017, Maine, Virginia, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Colorado, Maryland, Kentucky, and now (May 2017) Texas have chosen to move ahead of Washington and have either proposed or passed legislation to begin the process of securing their grids at the state level. Make no mistake; our civilian grid is currently not hardened despite all current state and federal legislation. After almost 10 years, Washington has left the U.S. civilian grid unprotected and the states are taking control in the face of Washington’s failure.