January 23, 2014—South Carolina’s Role in EMP Protection

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High Frontier

Amb. Henry F. Cooper, Chairman . . . Lt. Gen. Daniel Graham, Founder

High Frontier . . Building Truly Effective Defenses . . Reagan’s Vision Lives

E-Mail Message 140123

South Carolina’s Role in EMP Protection

By Ambassador Henry F. Cooper

January 23, 2014

Last Monday at the South Carolina Tea Party Convention in Myrtle Beach, I discussed important contributions that the SC National Guard, citizens and local, state and federal authorities could make together to counter the existential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat to all Americans—and challenged Tea Party members from SC and other states to get involved to help make it happen 

An Important Aside on Benghazi:

I was privileged to follow four of South Carolina’s seven congressmen, all of whom mentioned the Benghazi debacle—and I could not  let the opportunity pass without reinforcing my January 8th message—that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) should appoint a select committee with subpoena powers to get the bottom of what happened and why. So I took a couple of minutes of my allotted time to note that this concern was further justified by the recent Democrat controlled Senate Intelligence Committee’s report that the Benghazi massacre could and should have been avoided; thus, House Democrats should join the Republicans in supporting Rep. Frank Wolf’s (R-VA) House Resolution 36 which then had 181 additional cosponsors.  

Even though the Senate’s report acknowledged  administration failures, it left serious questions unanswered as was emphasized by Cal Thomas’s recent article, which concludes that the Speaker should appoint such a committee to put important remaining issues to rest.  As I noted Monday, while I hope Speaker Boehner will do so, I have my doubts—thus, I believe that at least 36 more cosponsors are needed to bring the total to 218, at least over half of the members of the House—perhaps overcoming the Speaker’s reticence.  You can keep track of progress in this regard by periodically checking the Congress.Gov  webpage.

How South Carolina Can Help Protect Americans from EMP.

My main message was intended to update my 2013 presentation to the SC Tea Party Convention with a report on some very positive things that are going on in South Carolina…especially with the National Guard, and to encourage the audience to get involved in linking with these initiatives.  Once the YouTube recording of my presentation is available, I will be providing it. But you can read the gist of my message from the briefing charts on our webpage, which are intended to be self-explanatory and recapped below.

I began by reminding the audience—which was well informed, by the way—that both manmade and natural EMP are well understood phenomena, by showing two publications: the front page of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on the day after a 1962 high altitude nuclear test 900 miles away, which caused damage in Hawaii, and a National Geographic magazine a couple of summers back, which highlighted EMP from Solar emissions.  

January 23, 2013 IWe worked hard during the Cold War to harden our key military systems against EMP effects, but not our critical civil infrastructure—notably the electric power grid—and modern solid state electronics are much more vulnerable to EMP effects than they were in 1962. Unless these vulnerabilities are rectified, a single nuclear burst over the center of the nation could bring down the grid for an indefinite period and several hundred million Americans could die within a year. Solar storms can also bring down the currently unhardened grid with similar consequences—and a major solar storm will happen one day when the orbital mechanics associated with the Earth’s travel around the sun coincides with one of the regularly occurring massive solar emissions.  The only question is when?

I emphasized that my current main concern is that a nuclear armed Iran (see the chart below) could mate a nuclear weapon on one of its many ballistic missiles and launch it to produce the EMP of concern.  The good news is that the Pentagon, at Congress’ direction, is considering five possible locations for a ground-based ballistic missile defense (BMD) site—like those in Alaska and California—to defend the Eastern Seaboard against Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could carry a nuclear weapon over the North Pole to attack us.

January 23, 2013 IIThe bad news is that such a site would not deal with Iran (or their terrorist surrogates) in launching ballistic missiles from off our coasts—particularly from the Gulf of Mexico, nor would it be effective in defending against nuclear weapons carried by Iranian satellites over the South Pole. Iran and also its ally North Korea have launched satellites over the South Pole, so this threat is not hypothetical from a technological point of view. In fact, the Soviets had such a system, called FOBS (for Fractional Orbital Bombardment System) in the 1960s. We also need to defend against these “attack from the south” or “back door” threatening scenarios.

I then noted a “quick fix” to this urgent need—and that South Carolina has an important role in addressing the need. We can place key missile defense system components of the Aegis BMD ships on 2-4 military bases around the Gulf of Mexico as suggested by the stars in the chart below. A football field size area is needed—also with appropriate separation to assure public safety considerations.  No R&D is required for such a deployment beyond working the public interface issues—which we at High Frontier have been doing, so far in Pascagoula, Mississippi where our Aegis ships are built and on Tyndall AFB in Panama City, Florida, home of the First Air Force (AFNorth), which is solely responsible for ensuring the air sovereignty and air defense of the continental United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, as a direct report to the Commander of Northern Command in Colorado Springs.

January 23, 2013 III

Note the red reference to the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) in Anderson, SC.  This important command is manned and led by the SC National Guard, reporting through the SC Adjutant General to the Governor of South Carolina.  As elaborated in the linked briefing, the Army Major General Commander of the 263rd AAMDC is the Deputy Area Air Defense Commander for Continental NORAD Region, reporting to the Air Force Lieutenant General commanding AFNorth at Tyndall AFB. He also is a direct report to the Army Lieutenant General Commander of Fifth Army in Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, who is charged with protecting the American people and their way of life. Both of these 3-star commanders directly report to the 4-star Commander of Northern Command in Colorado Springs.

Without going into the details, I emphasized that, in addition to its well-known role in responding to disasters of all sorts, the SC National Guard also has a very important role to play in defending Americans against air and missile attack. All but a couple of the several hundred people present at the Convention did not know about the 263rd AAMDC in Anderson, let alone of its important mission. Even folks from Anderson were unaware of its presence or mission.  Consider the 6th chart of the linked briefing for more information.

During the coming months, I intend to work with the SC Adjutant General’s office and the men and women of the 263rd AAMDC to help them better understand the EMP issues and what can be done to prepare to help counter an EMP attack—or to deal with the consequences of  an EMP attack should the defenses fail, or in the case of a major solar emission.

I emphasized that we have already agreed to work toward a series of exercises this spring to build awareness among the Guard and others in SC who can play a critically important role in dealing with this existential threat to all we hold dear—hopefully leading to a major Vigilant Guard exercise in 2015. We anticipate reaching out to the private sector—local and state authorities who have potentially critical roles to play, as well as private citizens.  And we anticipate including the neighboring state citizens and authorities in seeking to assure a regional focus on this important problem. My bottom lines—in more detail that I had time to present— are summarized on the final chart of my briefing, below. 

January 23, 2013 IV

In my discussion and afterward with various folks who showed much encouraging interest, I emphasized the importance of working this problem from the bottom-up, and that the National Guard had a major opportunity to become the integrating agent between the local citizenry and the local, state and federal authorities in recognizing and dealing with this well-known (even to our enemies) threat.  Up to now, the Federal authorities seem to be ignorant or incompetent in developing the needed countermeasures.

“Reckless and Irresponsible????”

As an example of this impedance, consider Bret Baier’s  excellent January 21st Fox News Report , and the Department of Defense incredible response to inquiries regarding the threat—as noted above, ignorant at best in stating: “The Department is unaware of any increase in the threat of a deliberate destructive use of an EMP device. Further, any reporting to the contrary by those without access to current threat assessments is both reckless and irresponsible.”

I would refer the reader—and whoever was this at least ignorant DoD spokesman—to the EMP Commission’s 2004 and 2008 reports on these matters. This congressionally mandated commission, made up of national experts on this subject, would certainly disagree with the DoD’s misinformed spokesperson.  Calling those warning the American people about this existential threat “reckless and irresponsible” is a clear example of an absurd charge that should be applied to those making such a charge themselves.

Indeed, the DoD has no excuse whatsoever for ignoring or misleading others about this threat—which the DoD has understood and responded to since the early 1960s—justifiably then as a highly classified matter.  But the EMP Commission went to great efforts to get much of that information into the open literature in its 2008 report—so there is no excuse for such ignorance and ambivalence.

Indeed, as one who oversaw many of these important programs and designing systems to protect against EMP, I say that those in the Defense Department suggesting there is nothing to worry about are “reckless and irresponsible” beyond measure!

Even the dumbest among us can see the clear implications of EMP Commissioners’ statements that first pointed out that Iran in the late 1990s conducted tests from vessels in the Caspian Sea that indicated an interest in detonating a payload at an altitude that could optimize EMP effects.  Then, here’s a quote from former Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld:

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________________________________________________________________________

“Countries have placed ballistic missiles in ships – dime a dozen – all over the world.  At any given time, there’s any number off our coasts – coming, going.  On transporter-erector-launchers, they simply erect it, fire off a ballistic missile, put it down, cover it up.  Their radar signature’s not any different than 50 others in close proximity”

Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld

Pentagon Press Briefing

September 16, 2002

__________________________________________________________________________

And I could go on, for example by quoting Jim Woolsey, a colleague and friend who was Bill Clinton’s CIA Director, served on the Strategic Posture Commission (co-chaired by two former Defense Secretaries–Bill Perry and James Schlesinger) that recommended “EMP vulnerabilities should be reduced as the United States modernizes its electric power grid” and has spoken often about this important problem.

I urge you to watch Jim’s presentation on the nature of this important problem in our August 2 email report—and perhaps the entire conference, at which I also spoke.  Importantly, he gave a very impressive account of the political and societal problems of hardening the electric power grid—including the reluctance of the electric power companies in hardening the grid—also reckless and irresponsible behavior. And this is related to the Congressional reluctance to take the initiatives to require that the grid be hardened—also reckless and irresponsible for those who are sworn to “provide for the national defense.” In particular, without calling them out in particular, he explains why the House Energy and Commerce Committee blocked the Shield Act to direct that these matters be addressed in that past Congress—and why that is still the case in this Congress. I have discussed this issue in more detail in previous email messages.

On Monday, I was very pleased to meet a lady from Michigan who knows Congressman Fred Upton, who chairs this important committee. She was notably outraged that he was blocking congressional action that has overwhelming bipartisan support  and promised to take this issue home and engage with Chairman Upton and his constituents to encourage him overcome his reluctance.  

This could be enormously helpful.  And it illustrates how initiatives from the bottom-up could be very helpful to our cause.  Stand by. 

Near Term Plans.

I will be working with South Carolina folks to build a coalition to engage constructively with those in the Guard who will be planning above mentioned National Guard exercises.  I was pleased to meet several folks in key positions around South Carolina who committed to work with me on that important effort—including in seeking entre with the electric power companies that so far have been resisting efforts to harden the electric power grid. 

I also expect to inform state legislators and senators about the threat and what can be done to deal with it—and hopefully they will follow Maine in seeking to harden the electric power grid.  I also expect support from Cong. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) whose district includes Anderson and my SC farm—and is a member of the Congressional EMP Caucus seeking passage of the Shield Act and the Infrastructure Protection Act, as well as other SC representatives.

I will be working with members of the EMP Coalition and others who are seeking to take our message across the country—especially with Bob Newman, a former Adjutant General of Virginia to help us link our SC plans more broadly and especially into the National Capital region.

What can you do?

Join us in praying for our nation, and for a rebirth of the freedom sought, achieved and passed to us by those who came before us.

Get involved— in particular, let your electric power company know of your concern and urge them to harden the electric power grid.

Help us to spread our message to the grass roots and to encourage all “powers that be” to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do.

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!

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