“The President, the Congress, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the States, the utilities and the private sector should work together on an urgent basis to enact Republican legislation, pending in both chambers, to protect the national grid and encourage states to take the initiative to protect their own grids expeditiously.” ~ Republican Party Platform—July 18, 2016
These welcome words from the Republican Platform at least set the stage for a debate on the existential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat, especially from the high altitude EMP (HEMP) effects of a nuclear explosion detonated high above the United States. Click here for my related discussion last week.
I have not yet seen the Democrat National Committee Platform, so I don’t know if it includes anything on this important issue.
Public debate has been dominated by Wikileaks reports on the DNC’s negatively biased treatment of Senator Bernie Sanders. These hacked DNC emails that favor Senator Clinton are alleged by some to have been provided by the Russians, a claim denied by Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Click here.)
This issue is somewhat different than the “scandal” associated with classified emails that passed through Senator Clinton’s personal server while she was Secretary of State — a server alleged to have been less secure than with a Gmail account. Hmmmmm . . . But I digress . . .
One might expect the Democrats to be negative on this threat, since thy have blocked legislation in the House and Senate that would respond to the threat. Even if the Democrat Platform remains entirely silent on the EMP threat, others have already responded negatively to the Republican platform.
For example, one of High Frontier’s loyal readers provided to me an example of the kind of arguments that we might expect — nothing new, but it provides an example of things to come again. Click here for a War is Boring article by Matthew Gault titled “The Overrated Threat From Electromagnetic Pulses.”
Gault argues that those concerned about this threat forget “two simple facts,” which are, in fact, not facts at all. First, Gault claims that “generating enough juice to cause a significant amount of damage is really hard.” Second, he claims that “a country dealing with busted electronics after an EMP assault is a country fighting a nuclear war.”
As an expert source, Gault quotes “cyber expert” Peter W. Singer who claims that those supporting the Republican Platform are a joke because “When you walk through the actual [EMP] scenarios of use, it doesn’t pass the logic test.” Mr. Singer may be a cyber expert — for which I cannot vouch — but he is definitely not an EMP expert or a strategic or tactical thinker.
Singer and Gault draw on the 2010 writings in The Space Review by Yousaf M. Butt, a physicist serving as a foreign affairs officer in the State Department’s Space and Advanced Technology office. These arguments were rebutted by Drs. William Radasky and Peter Vincent Pry — both experts on these matters — also in The Space Review in 2010, “The EMP Threat, Fact, Fiction and Response.” Apparently, Butt did not pass that rebuttal on to Gault — or else he might not have been so remiss in his stated concerns. Click here for the Radasky-Pry rebuttal.
Gault’s article betrays Butt’s apparently continuing lack of knowledge about nuclear weapons and EMP. Gault also propagates ignorance of known strategic and tactical plans for employing EMP effects, not only by the Russians and Chinese (as he acknowledges) and others you might assume, but also by rogue states like North Korea and Iran — and the reality of how even terrorists might pose this existential threat.
He does acknowledge that the EMP effects are real — he just claims it takes a genius to employ them. Wrong.
Part of his ignorance, apparently, is that he was taken in by the argument — unfortunately shared by many — that very large nuclear weapons are needed to produce the EMP effects that could extend from horizon to horizon — and that many tests would be needed to produce an effective design. Wrong on both counts.
On February 14, 2016, former CIA Director Amb. R. James Woolsey, Chairman of the EMP Commission Dr. William R. Graham, Former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council Fritz Ermarth, Executive Director of the EMP Commission Dr. Peter Vincent Pry and I rebutted these concerns in our National Review article, “Underestimating Nuclear Missile Threats from North Korea and Iran.” (Click here.) And click here for “Experts: Iran Now a Nuclear-Ready State, Missiles Capable of Hitting US,” a February 1, 2015 Newsmax article by the same authors (except Woolsey who was out of the country—otherwise he would have surely joined as a coauthor). They explained in some detail why a prudent planner should assume Iran already — 16 months ago — could deliver a nuclear weapon to produce a HEMP over the United States.
To illustrate how to debunk in some detail the claim that a large nuclear weapon is needed for North Korea to produce major EMP effects — as is often claimed, click here for “The Miniaturization Myth,” a April 24, 2016 Washington Times article by Amb. Woolsey and Dr. Pry.
In part, such misunderstandings may be because the advent of recognizing the seriousness of the EMP threat came from large yield nuclear tests (by the United States and the Soviet Union) in the early 1960s.
These effects became highly classified as we pursued programs to harden our strategic systems and associated command, control and communications systems to assure the President could control those forces were we attacked by the Soviet Union. Soviet Generals confirmed after the end of the Cold War that such an attack strategy, employing HEMP, was definitely part of their strategic plans. Moreover the Generals acknowledged that they had passed weapons design information — including for a “super” EMP weapon on to the North Koreans, a well known ally of Iran.
These matters became publically available with the publications of the EMP Commission 2004 and 2008 reports (Click here.) unanimously approved by true experts on these matters, including bone fide nuclear weapon designers and strategic thinkers. Well informed commissioners testified that up to 90-percent of all Americans could die within a year following such an EMP attack due to starvation, disease and societal collapse.
Gault claims, without any justification, that such testimony is scare mongering by folks out to make money rather than warning Americans of an existential threat and the failure of their sworn duty by the leaders of Federal Government and Congress — “to provide for the common defense.”
Gault repeats Singer’s argument that EMP attacks would take us into a nuclear war — during the Cold War, that was the essence of our deterrence strategy. But that is not the only possibility we should consider today to counter threats from rogue states or terrorists.
In dealing with such possibilities, Gault (drawing on his consultation with Singer and Butt) basically argues that they either can’t employ HEMP or would rather do something else if they ever get nuclear weapons at all. It’s unclear how these three pontificators understand how our adversaries would plan their strategy and tactics. Furthermore, it is no significant challenge for them to employ EMP weapons when they have the ability to detonate them over the United States, as has been argued in the referenced articles above by far more qualified authorities than Gault.
At least Gault acknowledges the reality of a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), or major solar storm, that could envelop the United States and possibly the rest of the world in a natural EMP that also could lead to the death of up to 90-percent of all Americans.
Understand that protecting the electric power grid from the manmade HEMP pulse threat will assure that it also would protect against a CME, but the converse is not true — because the manmade HEMP also includes a major high frequency high amplitude shock component, not produced in a CME, that is a major threat to modern electronics.
Duh …. So why would Gault et al not want to protect the grid against both threats instead of just the solar threat?
Au contraire — Republicans should stick to their Platform — and the Democrats should follow suit!
For a little vintage humor, click here for a bit of 1954 Groucho Marx (sponsored by De Soto-Plymouth, remember them? Impressive commercials, too!) … Enjoy the whole show.
“You bet your life” today may not be idle humor. By the way, the USG was only about $280 Billion in the hole in those days — rather than the $20 Trillion that the next President will inherit.
As warned in my last week’s message, DEMOCRATS IN THE CURRENT SENATE ARE STALLING CONSIDERATION OF MEASURES ALREADY PASSED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND SUPPORTED BY THE MAJORITY OF THE SENATE. THEY COULD MEET THIS CHALLENGE WHEN THEY RETURN TO WAHINGTON IN SEPTEMBER FOR A COUBLE OF WEEKS BEFORE LEAVING TOWN TO CAMPAIGN FOR THE COMING ELECTION.
Most notable would be the passage of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) which, among other things, directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to include the EMP threat among those threat scenarios that all government organizations are supposed to counter.
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.
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