“. . . [T]he entire population of the United States could be at risk. There would be no food. No water. Communications, transportation, industry, business and finance — all of the critical infrastructures that support modern civilization and the lives of the American people would be paralyzed by collapse of the electric power grid. Millions could die.” ~ William R. Graham and R. James Woolsey
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry has written an important book published by the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security, which he leads as Executive Director. I recommend it to all who are interested in understanding what can be done in the urgent fight to protect the American people against the existential threat posed by possible — increasingly likely — attacks on our currently vulnerable electric power grid.
This threat can — now, today — be caused by nation states (e.g., Russia or China), rogue states (e.g., North Korea or Iran), or their surrogate terrorists and surely will one day result from natural causes — i.e., an intense solar storm.
Blackout Wars summarizes key bottom lines from Peter’s previous EMP Task Force books (Electronic Armageddon and Apocalypse Unknown) and highlights the initiatives in several battleground states where “grass roots” initiatives are making a difference, including contributions of the associated key players. It should be understood that that the challenge is almost entirely political — technical solutions have been known for a half century and anticipated costs are relatively minor.
But our Washington leaders have collectively failed in their sworn duty under the Constitution to “provide for the common defense” against this existential threat to all Americans. Without electricity, Americans would return to a 19th century existence without the benefits of that agrarian society — and most Americans could die within a year. Given Washington’s failure to address this existential threat, “grass roots” Americans are being aroused by the Peter’s persistent efforts — and those of others — and these Americans are making a difference.
Blackout Wars is about several of these important efforts that have taken root in a number of states where Americans are no longer waiting on Washington, but are initiating efforts on their own authority to counter this threat to all we hold dear. They are important examples for others to understand and include in their own initiatives. Books can be purchased from CreateSpace.com (CreateSpace ordering helpline 1-866-356-2154) or from Amazon.com.
Rather than providing my personal review of this important book, please find below the Forward to Blackout Wars, provided by two other colleagues engaged in this fight: President Ronald Reagan’s Science Advisor Dr. William R. Graham and President Bill Clinton’s Director of Central Intelligence Ambassador R. James Woolsey.
FOREWORD TO “BLACKOUT WARS”
William R. Graham and R. James Woolsey
Blackout Wars is about the historically unprecedented threat to our electronic civilization from its dependence on the electric power grid. Most Americans have experienced temporary blackouts, and regard them as merely an inconvenience. Some Americans have experienced more protracted local and regional blackouts, as in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, and may be better able to imagine the consequences of a nationwide blackout lasting months or years, that plunges the entire United States into the dark.
In such a nightmare blackout, the entire population of the United States could be at risk. There would be no food. No water. Communications, transportation, industry, business and finance–all of the critical infrastructures that support modern civilization and the lives of the American people would be paralyzed by collapse of the electric power grid.
Millions could die.
How could a catastrophic blackout happen? Threats to the electric power grid are posed by cyber attack, sabotage, a geomagnetic super-storm, and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from the high-altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon.
Blackout Wars warns that terrorists and rogue states are developing a revolutionary new military strategy that could exploit all of these threats in combination, including exploiting the opportunity of severe weather or a geo-storm, to collapse the national electric grid and all the critical infrastructures. It would be the fall of American civilization.
For the first time in history, the most dysfunctional societies, like North Korea that cannot even feed its own people, or even non-state actors like terrorists, could destroy the most successful societies on Earth–by means of a Blackout War. Attacking the electric grid enables an adversary to strike at the technological and societal Achilles Heel of U.S. military and economic power.
Blackout Wars likens this new Revolution in Military Affairs to Nazi Germany’s Blitzkrieg strategy, secretly developed and tested in low-profile experiments during the 1930s, sprung upon the Allies in 1939-1941 in a series of surprise attacks that nearly enabled the Third Reich to win World War II. Just as the West was asleep to the threat from the Blitzkrieg, so today U.S. and Western elites are blind to the looming threat from a Blackout War.
Yet the threat of a catastrophic blackout is not merely theoretical, but real:
- On April 16, 2013, North Korea flew its KSM-3 satellite on the optimum trajectory and altitude to evade U.S. radars and missile defenses and apparently practiced a surprise nuclear EMP attack on the United States.
- On the same day, parties unknown used AK-47s, the favorite assault rifle of rogue states and terrorists, to attack the Metcalf transformer substation that services San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. Jon Wellinghoff, the former chairman of the U.S. agency responsible for grid security, and the U.S. Navy SEALS warn that Metcalf is probably a dry run for a future large-scale attack on the national electric grid.
- In July 2013, a North Korean freighter that had transited the Gulf of Mexico was discovered, while undergoing inspection in the Panama Canal for smuggling illegal drugs, to have two nuclear capable SA-2 missiles, mounted on their launchers, hidden in the hold under bags of sugar. Although the missiles were not nuclear armed, the incident demonstrates North Korea’s capability to use a freighter in U.S. coastal waters to launch a nuclear EMP attack anonymously, in order to escape U.S. retaliation.
- On October 27, 2013, the Knights Templars, a criminal drug cartel, blacked-out Mexico’s Michoacan state and its population of 420,000, so they could terrorize the people and paralyze the police. The Knights, cloaked by the blackout, entered towns and villages and publicly executed leaders opposed to the drug trade.
- On June 9, 2014, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula used mortars and rockets to destroy transmission towers, plunging into darkness all of Yemen, a country of 16 cities and 24 million people. It is the first time in history that terrorists have put an entire nation into blackout.
- In July 2014, according to press reports, a Russian cyber-bug called Dragonfly infected 1,000 electric power plants in Western Europe and the United States for purposes unknown, possibly to plant logic bombs in power plant computers to disrupt operations in the future.
- On January 25, 2015, terrorists attacked transmission towers and blacked-out 80 percent of Pakistan, a nuclear weapons state.
- On March 31, 2015, a mysterious nationwide blackout temporarily plunged into chaos Turkey, a NATO member and important U.S. ally, reportedly from a cyber attack by Iran.
- In 2015 the White House issued a draft executive order acknowledging that natural EMP from a geomagnetic super-storm is a potentially catastrophic threat to the nation. A NASA report (July 23, 2014) warns that on July 23, 2012, Earth narrowly missed experiencing a geomagnetic super-storm that could have collapsed electric grids worldwide, and put at risk the lives of billions. NASA estimates that the likelihood of a catastrophic geo-storm happening over the next decade is 12 percent.
Blackout Wars is also about, is primarily about, failure of the U.S. Government to protect the electric grid, and the heroic struggle of a small number of experts, political leaders, and State governments to meet this challenge.
Terrible and unprecedented as is the danger from any of the threats above singly or in combination as a Blackout War–solutions that are technologically sound, and not only cost-effective but inexpensive relative to the threat, are readily at hand. Protecting the electric grid against nuclear EMP attack is key.
Nuclear EMP is the worst threat, even worse than natural EMP from a geo-storm, because it can damage small electronic systems and inflict deeper damage on the grid and other critical infrastructures. If the grid is protected against the worst threat–nuclear EMP–this would significantly mitigate all the other threats.
However, the biggest obstacle to protecting the American people from a catastrophic blackout is not technological or financial, but political.
The Federal government is failing spectacularly to protect the electric grid and the American people from nuclear EMP, or from any of the other catastrophic threats, because of a self-interested and wholly improper relationship between the electric power industry, represented by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Attorney William R. Harris, an eyewitness to NERC-FERC chicanery and a former legal advisor to the Reagan Administration, writes, “The NERC-FERC relationship has elements of a suicide pact.”
The NERC-FERC relationship has elements of a suicide pact. NERC and FERC are engaged in a mutually beneficial parasitic relationship. Each needs the other, and thrives on magnification of the monopolistic powers of the other. Only NERC can proposereliability standards. Only FERC can ratify standards, however defective and however damaging to the society at large….NERC works hard to prevent the Congress from authorizing FERC to modify or otherwise improve NERC-proposed reliability standards.FERC discourages the Congress from providing authority for more adaptive and protective FERC powers…FERC has sufficient authority to mandate new standard development that the member utilities of NERC need to make generous political contributions to Members of Congress. And most Members of Congress are content with a regulatory system that provides liability protection to the utilities, and keeps the Members in elective office.
Fortunately, where the Federal government is failing to protect the national electric grid, State governments have legal authority and the technical capability to protect their electric grids within their State boundaries, and so spare their citizens from the worst consequences of a protracted blackout.
Maine, Virginia, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma Texas, Colorado and other States have initiatives underway to protect their grids and their peoples from the existential threat that is nuclear EMP attack, and from other hazards that could cause a catastrophic blackout. Ominously, this necessary trend toward decentralization of a vital national security responsibility from the Federal government to State governments is eerily reminiscent of the late Roman Empire. When Rome could no longer defend its cities from the barbarians, the cities built walls to defend themselves.
Now that Washington cannot or will not defend the United States from nuclear EMP attack, some States are “building walls” to protect their electric grids and peoples from the new barbarians.
Blackout Wars is the story of these heroic efforts by individual legislators and citizens to be “Horatio on the Bridge” defending their States and peoples against perhaps the greatest threat that has ever challenged civilization. Most of all, Blackout Wars is a handbook on why and how the States must meet this challenge, and a clarion call to the States to defend themselves. We agree with the author that it is, “Time for the States to succeed where Washington has failed….Time to prevent, figuratively and literally, a blackout of civilization, that could cancel Mankind’s monumental progress in science, industry, and human rights made since the Age of Enlightenment–by the advent of a New Dark Age.”
Dr. William R. Graham was Science Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, Administrator of NASA, and Chairman of the Congressional EMP Commission. Ambassador R. James Woolsey was Director of Central Intelligence and is Chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
In closing, I would note that Blackout Wars focused on several states that have led the way in this important fight—these are important case studies that all can learn from because the fight is far from over.
For example, Maine was the first to pass legislation two years ago, requiring that the EMP threat be dealt with — and the response has been lethargic because the electric power industry has been less than enthusiastic in responding to the legislative action. See the Harris quote above. On the other hand, Virginia also passed important legislation and it appears that Dominion Electric is being much more responsive in dealing with the issues. Blackout Wars discusses these initiatives and others from Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma in some detail, so that those from other states can learn from their successes and mistakes.
There are additional state initiatives at various stages of execution in several additional states, including Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina. I anticipate providing updates in my future messages as all these efforts gather momentum.
Moreover, since the National Defense Authorization Act for 2016 reinstated the EMP Commission, this coming year could be very important in providing the Commissioners with ample information on the plans and programs that have been initiated or are being initiated. This information, coupled with an evaluation on what has been accomplished since the last Commission report (in 2008), should enable Commissioners to provide important advice to the leaders in congress and the executive branch on what can be done to expedite the protection of the American people against this existential threat to the electric grid.
Urgently needed is a serious assessment of all aspects of the threat to the electric power grid — a worthy objective for the re-established EMP Commission. It would be best, of course, for the administration “powers that be” to arrive at this obvious conclusion so that the Commission can evaluate the progress being made and assess whether the appropriate balance in being applied to provide needed protections for all Americans.
Pray for better leadership in another year. We have been here before, most recently with the “malaise” of the late 1970s — with Ronald Reagan at the helm, we made our way back to an America that made us proud. Pray we can find a way to repeat that return to the American dream that has previously stirred so many — and kept us free.
Include a prayer that we preserve this the greatest nation in History for our posterity.
And stay tuned1!!
Near Term High Frontier Plans.
We will continue to inform our readers of the looming threats we confront — and where appropriate urge them to engage in countering that threat. Our leaders are failing at their sworn duty “to provide for the common defense”
We will press for building the most cost-effective ballistic missile defenses possible and working with South Carolina folks to build a coalition to engage constructively with private citizens and their local and state representatives and other authorities to work with the SC National Guard in understanding and responding to the existential threats to the electric power grid.
We are especially focused on the nuclear power reactors that produce 60-percent of SC electricity—and more generally 20-percent of the nation’s electricity.
If it can be assured that they “operate through” a major blackout of the electric power grid — and I believe it can, then these reactors can play a very important role for resurrecting the grid over an extended time and supporting the general public’s survival in the meantime.
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.
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.
Encourage them to review our past email messages, posted on www.highfrontier.org, to learn about many details related to the existential manmade and natural EMP threats and how we can protect America against them. I hope you will help us with our urgently needed efforts, which I will be discussing in future messages.
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