April 22, 2013 – Boston, Global Jihad and Missile Defense: Connect the Dots!
Most Americans were glued to their TVs last week, watching replays of terror at the Boston Marathon and subsequent events that literally shut down Boston and environs while federal, state and local authorities searched for and aprehended at least two of those responsible for killing three and injuring over 170 more with bombs reminiscent of those employed in the Middle East during the past decade.
Questions abound: Were the two brothers “lone wolves?”—as Bret Baier of Fox News asked in a bit of a disconnect, though we know what he meant. Who else was invovled, at least in a supporting role? Are there related Jihadist “sleeper” cells? How did these two learn to build “pressure cooker” bombs and “IED” grenades? For what purpose were the other bombs—beyond those at the Marathon finish line? No one noticed anything unusual? What was done after a “foreign government” a couple of years ago warned the FBI that the older brother, who was killed on Friday, was a follower of “radical Islam?” And what about the younger brother, now in custody? Etc.
And while it is important to connect the dots regarding this terrible event in Boston, the powers that be should also learn from the experience and export the lessons to a broader context. They should ask what is being missed about other Jihadists in the United States and elsewhere, who view America as the “Great Satan” to be destroyed along with the “Little Satan” Israel. No doubt, we will learn about missed warning signs that, if heeded, could have enabled appropriate authorities to prevent last week’s events—not unlike in other past catastrophies and possible future ones, even large scale ones as Dr. Peter Vincent Pry discusses in “A North Korean Pearl Harbor?” and “North Korea Today – Iran Tomorrow.”
The remainder of this email report reviews key “dots” discussed in the past several weeks regarding an existential Jihadist threat to all we hold dear—again repeating our concern that the “powers that be” do not yet understand these clear signs. They are missing connections similar to those that should have warned the powers that be of last week’s pending terrorism in Boston.
Recap of Past Key Points:
Our recent email Updates and Flash Messages have identified several related areas of concern—possiblities, even probabilities, of an existential threat to all we hold dear as part of a “Global Jihad.” Iran most assuredly has commited to such a Jihad and has been working with North Korea to gain the means for posing a direct nuclear threat on Israel and the United States. Here are key points:
- Iranian leaders have repeadly declared their intentions to destroy the Little and Great Satans;
- Iranians and North Koreans have long worked together on nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology, fed by a cacophony of proliferation of key technology and engineering knowhow from Russia, China and others;
- Iran and North Korea have both launched satellites into low earth orbit—capable of carrying light payloads over all the nations on earth;
- Thus, they both could, once they obtain a light-weight nuclear weapon, detonate it over any nation they choose—including the United States.
- If an appropriately designed device is dotonated at about 300 miles altitude over Omaha, the resulting electromagnetic pulse (EMP) could lead to the death of a couple hundred million Americans over the following year;
- These EMP effects are well known to North Korea, Iran and most everyone else—and have been emphasized in 2006 and 2008 reports from the Congressionally mandated non-partisan EMP Commission composed of knowledgeable scientists and engineers;
- Their only remaining challenge is getting such a weapon, and North Korea has claimed to have a “miniaturized” nuclear weapon;
- The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) recently judged with moderate confidence that this is so—but the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) testified DIA did not represent the consensus of the 15-members of the Intelligence Community, noting that since they have not yet tested such a capability, “neither we nor the North Koreans know they have such capability;”
- But 70 years ago the U.S. employed the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima without testing it and the second (of a different design) on Nagasaki immediately after a single test—the DNI’s argument seems a bit weak;
- Prudence demands that we prepare to counter such a threat ASAP;
- Buying additional ground based interceptors (GBIs) for Alaska and considering an East Coast GBI site will improve our defense against ballistic missiles that attack us from over the North Pole, but little to defend against an attack over the South Pole—it’s like locking the front door and leaving the back door open.
- To close the back door, we need to improve our existing missile defenses as quickly as possible. Aegis improvements could be accomplished quickly—to provide ascent phase intercept opportunities early after North Korea or Iran launches a rocket headed south toward the South Pole to attack the U.S. from the south, and to provide advance tracking information to our GBIs in California so they can intercept the orbiting satellite before it overflies the U.S.
- The Aegis system’s Standard Missile velocity should be increased so that it can intercept missiles and satellites at higher altitudes and defend larger areas.
Build More Effective Defenses.
While these Aegis improvements are feasible and should be pursued (among others), it is also important to build a defensive system that can intercept threatening ballistic missiles in their boost phase, while their rockets are still burning as they rise from their launch pads. The most effective such defense would be based in space, as has been recognized since the 1960s, when ballistic missile defense concepts were first seriously evaluated by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. An issue has been whether the technology is availble and affordable to support building such a system.
The last time such a comprehensive evaluation was accomplished was as a primary objective of Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), beginnning in 1983. In 1990, a space based interceptor program called Brilliant Pebbles became the first SDI program to pass a full Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) review and enter a formally approved Demonstration and Validation (DEMVAL) stage. However, the program was curtailed by Congress and eleminated by the Clinton adminstration in 1993—nothing has been done since to revive the most cost-effective missile defense system concept of the SDI decade from 1983 to 1993.
For a definitive review of the the entire history of space based defenses, see Donald R. Baucomb’s “The Rise and Fall of Brilliant Pebbles.” The full complement of technical and political/policy issues is discussed in the reports of the Independent Working Group (IWG).
If the United States is to be serious about dealing with the Global Jihadi threats confroning us today, including the “back door” EMP threat, serious consideration should again be paid to this concept.
Protect the Electric Power Grid.
Whatever is done to improve our defenses against missile attack, no defense is perfect; and steps should be taken to assure that an EMP attack does not create the conditions that would put the United States back into the 19th century without the benefits of that agrarian society. The smartest thing that can be done quickly is to harden the electric power grid—especially the large transfromers that could be detroyed by an EMP attack—or a massive solar emission that reaches the intensity experienced in the 1859 Carrington Event.
We will watching closely and report back on the steps that Dr. Ernest Moniz takes when he is sworn in as Secretary of Energy—we were pleased that he stated in his confirmation hearing that he intended to look into the EMP effects from both natural and manmade causes and take appropriate action assure the “robustness and resilience” of the electric power grid. Hopefully, we will see early initiatives from him.
And we continue to applaud Maine Representative Andrea Boland for her legislative efforts to protect against major solar storm geomagnetic effects all new transmission lines of the to-be-installed $1.4 billion Maine Power Reliability Program. And we look forward to seeing the related study that the full legislature has agreed to accomplish, thanks to her efforts.
And what should you do?
Join us at High Frontier in seeking to alert the public to the existential threats posed by both manmade and natural EMP events—and what can be done about these threats.
We can use your help in spreading the word to grass roots and local authorities to press the powers that be to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do. Will you do your part?
Begin by passing this message to your friends and suggest they visit our webpage, www.highfrontier.org for more information. Also, please encourage your sphere of influence to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter!