When it comes to the reliability of our power grid, recent solar storms and criminal attacks on electrical transformers in Arizona and California have raised an important question: is our power grid vulnerable?
Imagine the lights go out. The refrigerator doesn’t work. Your cell phone shuts down. Darkness reigns. Food spoils. Communications cease. Sounds like something out of a Hollywood Sci-Fi movie, right? Except the possibility is all too real, and most Americans are oblivious to the possibility.
While America’s technological prowess provides an advantage that drives our prosperity and helps underwrite a global economy, it is also a strategic vulnerability that few grasp, save our adversaries.
Just as a homemade improvised explosive device (IED) proved capable of destroying multi-million dollar vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan, a crude nuclear weapon–detonated above the United States with a basic missile delivery system–would have similarly devastating consequences. Except rather than impacting the crew in that vehicle alone, such an event would impact millions of Americans, and businesses, right here on our homeland.
It’s called an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. Mountains of scientific evidence demonstrate that an above ground nuclear explosion would trigger a wave of electromagnetic energy that would short-circuit–and destroy–almost every piece of electronic equipment in it’s path. Detonated high enough above America, an EMP could take out the entire Eastern Seaboard–or more.
And we’re not just talking about a temporary disruption. An EMP event would knock out an antiquated U.S. power grid, leaving huge swaths of America without power for months. The large transformers on which the grids depend are no longer made domestically, and would take months to be replaced. This is not to mention smaller devices–like cell phones and computers–which would also be destroyed. No lights, no refrigeration, no communications; devastation on a scale that few can comprehend.
In order to address this existential threat, we need to strengthen the U.S. power grid. A few states have already taken steps in the right direction, but more can, and must, be done. A small investment in infrastructure for government and business now would go a long way when things go wrong.
In addition to natural occurrences that can cause an EMP, such as the solar storms, man-made threats also exist–many of which come from our enemies abroad. There is a dangerous threat is posed by a nuclear-armed Iran. Like North Korea before them, the Iranian regime is stringing out negotiations and exploiting ‘deals’ as long as possible in order to obtain a nuclear weapon. They are playing a zero-sum game of geo-political chicken, and playing it well.
History affords us plenty of examples of when dangerous people said they would do dangerous things, but nobody believed them. America cannot afford to make the same mistake with Iran and an EMP. We know Iran already seeks the technology to use an EMP, and we would be foolish to think they wouldn’t use it. They would, and we need to be prepared.
The issue of grid security will be addressed on Monday, September 29 at the National Security Action Summit in Washington, D.C. at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
There is no reason why this Sci-Fi nightmare needs to become reality. But the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and this is a threat we cannot afford to ignore. More information about the Summit can be found at www.HomelandThreats.com.
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