It’s been almost 13 years, and the horror of 9/11 is receding as a memory for many of us. But the latest news from Ukraine and the Middle East is a sobering reminder that we live in a dangerous, and sometimes even barbaric, world.
America must be both vigilant and visionary in anticipating and preventing attacks from those who seek to harm us. One of the greatest threats is posed by an EMP, or ElectroMagnetic Pulse, which could destroy our electric grid.
An EMP can be created by the explosion of a nuclear device in orbit, high above the U.S. All of our food and water supplies, banking, hospitals, communications, law enforcement, etc., which depend on the electric grid, would collapse. Such an attack is a very threat to civilization itself.
The Congressional EMP Commission reported that disease, starvation and societal breakdown could lead to the death of up to 90% of the American population within 12 months from an EMP nuclear attack! Former Clinton Administration CIA Director James Woolsey recently co-authored an article which revealed that Russia, China and North Korea have explored building and testing EMP-attack capabilities.
But we face not just the threat of an attack by a foreign government or terrorist organization. Nearly as menacing, an EMP attack can also occur “naturally”….like the solar flare of 1859, called the “Carrington event.” If a similar one occurred today, it would cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions, to recover — assuming we could recover at all.
But there are solutions. According to Woolsey, “Surge arrestors, faraday cages and other devices that prevent EMP from damaging electronics, as well micro-grids that are inherently less susceptible to EMP, have been used by the Defense Department for more than 50 years to protect crucial military installations and strategic forces. These can be adapted to protect civilian infrastructure as well. The cost of protecting the national electric grid, according to a 2008 EMP Commission estimate, would be about $2 billion—roughly what the U.S. gives each year in foreign aid to Pakistan.”
While the topic has been talked about in D.C., little to nothing has been done to protect America from either a natural or man-made EMP attack. It’s past time our leaders protected – and better prepared – our nation for such a serious threat. I hope you agree … and remind Congressional candidates Ted Lieu and Elan Carr that one of the crucial priorities as a Congressman will be to protect our homeland.