October 24, 2013—A Blackout on Steroids!

October 24, 2013—A Blackout on Steroids!


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

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

E-Mail Message 131017

A Blackout on Steroids!

Ambassador Henry F. Cooper

October 24, 2013

This Sunday evening, watch the National Geographic Channel at 9 PM to view an important presentation on what it would mean to you and your family if we lost the electric power grid for 10 days. Just imagine what it would mean if we lost the grid for much longer and get involved in urging the powers that be to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do.     

Last Tuesday evening, I was a guest of the National Geographic Society at the World Premier Screening of a 2 hour production, American Blackout, which will be aired on the National Geographic Channel this coming Sunday, October 27th, at 9 PM.  I urge you to view it—or record it for future reviewing in whatever bites-at-a-time you may wish to take. 

National Geographic Special October 27, 2013

A 10-Day Blackout from a Cyberattack.

The scenario in this presentation elaborates the cascading failure of the national electric power grid, precipitated by a cyberattack. A cyberattack by terrorists or nation states could exploit the global interconnectivity of the world-wide-web; we may find it hard to trace, and we may receive little warning as is the case presented in this film.  Such cyberattack scenarios are a growing concern, as everyone who keeps up with the news knows. 

Countering cyber threats is a top priority to those seeking to maintain command, control and operations of the full complement of our weapon systems—from the individual soldier on the battlefield to the most advanced systems based on land, at sea and in the air and space. Although other defense spending is being curtailed because of the ongoing budget disputes, rest assured that efforts to counter this threat will be well funded—whatever may be their effectiveness. 

Less well understood is the vulnerability to these attacks of our critical civil infrastructure.  The banking and communications sectors are well aware of hacking problems, but few are paying attention to the more complex and plausible overarching threats. The vulnerability of the electric power grid is one of the most prominent, and the threat is a matter of growing concern because all other critical infrastructure depends upon it.  And that is the main message of the National Geographic presentation.  While some may consider losing the entire electric power grid to be a worst case cyberattack scenario, no informed individual can argue that such an outcome on the current grid is implausible.

While some may consider losing the entire electric power grid to be a worst case cyberattack scenario, no informed individual can argue that such an outcome for the current grid is implausible.

A report from a Stanford Physics 240 course discussed how an August 14, 2003 chain of events, beginning with the loss of a few power stations due to high energy load, escalated with help from a combination of human error and tall trees, into the worst blackout in history. All told, 50 million people in the Midwest, Northeast and Ontario, Canada, with a combined load of 61.8 gigawatts lost power for up to 4 days. A few generating plant failures and a few transmission lines shorting out by touching trees set off a massive chain of transmission line and generating failures across a huge portion of the electrical grid. Such a cascading power transmission failure is nearly impossible to stop before it has eliminated almost all power transmission in a large area.

The National Geographic scenario is 2.5 times longer after shutting down the entire grid. 

I urge you to view the National Geographic presentation this coming Sunday—and record it to share with others.  There are many prominent lessons to be gained from viewing plausible activities following a 10-day national blackout—which I would argue is a plausible terrorist scenario.  Click here for a brief outline of the first three days . . . and links to more.

October 24, 2013 II

A Blackout on Steroids!

After viewing this presentation, you will better understand how, following a longer blackout, our unprepared society could fail with consequent massive fatalities.  This presentation had a happy ending because the crisis is over in only ten days. It does illustrate that if the grid begins to go down in one place, there is a precedent for it to fail in interconnected neighboring sectors. Terrorists know these well documented facts; and potential terrorist exploitation of the world-wide-web makes multi-sector attacks plausible.

Terrorists know these well documented facts; and potential terrorist exploitation of the world-wide-web makes multi-sector attacks plausible.

Furthermore,  if the large transformers at a large number of the nation’s main power stations are destroyed—the grid could be down permanently, and we would have a “Blackout on Steroids.” That is the case we have repeatedly raised as a major concern in discussing both manmade and natural electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threats.

Folks, this disaster could happen if we don’t get the powers that be to harden our electric power grid and defend against possible attacks, especially from nuclear armed ballistic missiles launched from ships off our coasts.

Watch the National Geographic presentation and think about how we can wake up the powers that be, especially to counter the Blackout on Steroids!”

Implications for High Frontier Plans.

I believe we cannot rely on Washington to deal with this existential issue in a timely way. Thus, I believe it is critically important to work with local and state authorities and help them understand the threat and what can be done about it.

Hopefully, many local and state authorities will follow the lead of Maine State Representative Andrea Boland (D-Sanford), of the Maine House of Representatives, who successfully advocated in only a six month period a historically important landmark bit of legislation, LD 131, which passed the House unanimously and with only two dissenting votes in the Senate. You can read her brief discussion of the dangers posed to the electric power grid by a manmade electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and major natural geomagnetic disturbance (GMD) by clicking here

October 28, 2013 III

Andrea’s activities are very important as a pattern for other state legislators to follow—indeed they also should be of great interest to those concerned at the Federal level, particularly those seeking serious consideration of the Shield Act by the current congress.

We will continue our efforts with Floridians to help them understand the important role they can play in defending against ballistic missiles launched from vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. We can deploy the same Aegis Ashore missile defense system we are building in Romania (by 2015) and Poland (by 2018)—with no additional research and development costs, except perhaps to prepare specific site locations in Florida—such as at Tyndall AFB in Panama City and at Homestead AFB near the southern tip of the Florida peninsula.  More to come.

Such defenses would build on the exceptionally impressive testing record of the Aegis system—with a total record of 28 successful intercepts in 34 attempts against short, medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles—and if the 2008 intercept of a satellite, flying faster than an ICBM, its overall record in 29 intercepts in 35 attempts—all performed by operational crews.  Such defenses would be critically important to protect against irreparable EMP damage to the key large transformers of the electric power grid—that under certain well known conditions could cause a complete failure of the electric power grid for an indefinite period. The ultimate result anticipated by credible experts is that the consequent chaos would lead to the death of several hundred million Americans within the following year.

Missile defenses will not protect against the natural EMP threat, a giant solar flare that will one day occur—the only uncertainty is when.  Credible estimates suggest such another Carrington event is overdue—and this time it will have catastrophic consequences to average Americans who depends entirely on a just in time economy for practically every commodity essential for survival. To deal with this event we must assure that we do not lose our electric power indefinitely. If we harden the electric power grid, then we will have a good chance of reinstating other critical infrastructure upon which our survival depends. For a more complete summary of these issues, see our August 2nd email.

In addressing these concerns, we emphasize that the federal government’s first duty is to provide for the common defense. Providing effective missile defenses and hardening the electric power grid as quickly as possible should be a national priority. Thus, we will continue to urge the Washington powers that be to undertake both the Shield Act to harden he electric power grid and to enhance our ballistic missile defenses, especially for our citizens on the East Coast and around the Gulf of Mexico, where U.S. citizens are completely vulnerable to ballistic missiles launched from vessels in the Gulf—or from Latin America, e.g., Venezuela.

Since we doubt that Washington will act in time to counter this threat, we consider our message to grass roots America to be urgently important.  Our local and state authorities need to understand these issues and what they might do if their federal representatives continue to fail “to provide for the common defense.”

We will continue to advise citizens and local authorities of their absolute vulnerability against ballistic missiles launched from the Gulf of Mexico—and what can be done about it if only their representatives do their jobs. And we are hopeful that our friends in Florida will engage to urge their state legislature to follow Maine’s initiative and also harden their electric power grid, while holding the Washington authorities accountable for their oath to provide for the common defense. Hopefully, in joining such an effort, other states will be encouraged for follow them.

And what can you do

Join us at High Frontier in seeking to alert the public and our local and state authorities to the existential threats posed by both man-made and natural EMP events—and what can be done about these threats

We need your help in spreading this information to the grass roots and to encourage all “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!

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