When the Nation goes to war, they send in the Marines first. This time, it’s the Marines (and the rest of the DOD and the Nation as a whole) who need their Commander in Chief to fire the “first round” in what is the most urgent battle of our generation – the fight to Secure The Grid. The Nation has been informed of the necessity of this effort for 17 years, but the Federal Government has not yet acted to get “underway.” Roughly 17 months from August 2017, the President will deliver his State of the Union Address, marking the halfway-point of his presidency. Prior to that important historical moment, America needs this President to do in 17 months, what has not been done in 17 years…..we need him to SECURE THE GRID.
The Battle Plan
When Marines go into battle, they rely on a simple “5 paragraph order” to dictate the proper information necessary to spell success in combat. The time is overdue for the American people to fight for the protection of its most critical, life sustaining, asset – the U.S. Electric Grid. This “5 paragraph order” will equip Americans with some of the tools they need to get into this fight. These paragraphs include: Situation, Mission, Execution, Admin/Logistics, & Command/Signal. First, though, we must be “oriented” to the battlespace.
DOD Suicide: Scuttling America’s Best Expertise on Threats to the Grid
At a time with nuclear-capable North Korea threatens the United States daily with the prospect of a high altitude nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack (which they have been rehearsing for much of the past decade), as the sun continues to produce technology-killing geomagnetic solar storms, and as both state-sponsored and non-state hackers continue to penetrate our grid with malicious and potentially devastating cyberattacks, the House Armed Services Committee and Department of Defense have, as of 31 July 2017, dismantled the only honest arbiter working to get the dysfunctional federal government to address these growing threats – The EMP Commission.
On 30 October 2000, the U.S. Congress established by law the “Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack” – which is otherwise known as “The EMP Commission.” Congressional commissions, like the Congressional EMP Commission, are instruments of last resort, established when departments and agencies and the U.S. Congress cannot achieve agreement on a controversial issue vital to our national interest. Typically, commissioners are senior statesman and nationally recognized scientists or experts, selected on a bi-partisan basis, so that their findings will be respected by all regardless of party affiliation. Congressional commissions typically are invested with broad legal powers to carry out investigations, compel departments and agencies to provide any and all relevant information, hold hearings to air all points of view, and to conduct research.
In 2004 and again in 2008, the Congressional EMP Commission provided Congress reports that included a blueprint for protecting both U.S. Military forces and the U.S. homeland from EMP attack as well as recommendations for the mitigation of EMP effects on the nation’s critical infrastructure. These reports pointed out that 99% of the U.S. Military is dependent on the civilian electric grid and that a nationwide blackout lasting one year could kill 90 percent of the U.S. population from starvation and societal collapse.
The EMP Commission was re-established in 2016 by the U.S. Congress due to the lack of implementation of the 2008 EMP Commission’s recommendations to protect the electric grid and other critical infrastructures, the growing threat of nuclear EMP attack from North Korea and other potential adversaries, the ever present risk from extreme solar weather, and the increasing threats from cyber warfare and physical attack. The Department of Defense stalled re-establishing the Commission for almost a year before this congressionally reinstated commission could hold its first meeting in January 2017.
The (2017) Congressional EMP Commission was chaired by Dr. William Graham, the foremost EMP expert in the Free World, who served as President Reagan’s White House Science Advisor, was Director of NASA, and was on the defense science team that first discovered the EMP phenomenon during the 1962 STARFISH PRIME high altitude nuclear test. The EMP Commissioners and staff included some of our greatest scientists and strategic thinkers, including Dr. John Foster (designed most U.S. nuclear weapons currently deployed), Dr. Lowell Wood (formerly Lawrence Livermore National Lab, the most inventive American in history, holds world record for inventions), Ambassador Henry Cooper (former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative), Dr. Peter V. Pry (formerly with the CIA, currently the Executive Director of Task Force on National and Homeland Security, author of numerous books on national security issues) and many others.
As of 31 July 2017, this Commission, and these experts, are no longer employed in the vital work necessary to address threats to the U.S. Electric Grid. Moreover the House Armed Services Committee’s proposed 2018 NDAA disestablishes the Commission before it can review the final draft of its final report, and reestablishes another — a recipe for disruption and further delay while new commissioners are appointed. At the same time the Department of Defense is withholding from public distribution (and has even overly classified) important data and technology that underlies protection against EMP, including the U.S. version of key test results provided in the 1990s by Russian scientists to U.S. scientists and engineers.
These actions by the HASC and DOD, whose own military personnel depend almost entirely on the U.S. electric grid for their own survival, can only be judged as suicidal.
The Federal Government fails to “Provide For the Common Defense” against “A Threat Unlike Any Other America Has Ever Faced”
World famous broadcast journalist and news anchor Ted Koppel authored the book “Lights Out” about the prospect of a cyberattack on the Nation’s electric grid. In his words: “The more I looked into it, the more I came to the conclusion that the federal and state governments have done little or nothing to prepare for anything other than the natural disasters we experience every year and that a cyberattack would potentially be far, far worse.” (The short video linked to the above image is worth watching.)
More recently, Ambassador Hank Cooper stated: “Congressional treatment of this EMP Commission issue is, so far, ‘no way to provide for the common defense . . .’ as all Federal Government authorities are sworn to do. The HASC-House NDAA (2018) proposal to disestablish the current EMP Commission should not be allowed to continue, and there is little time to assure a better outcome.”
The disestablishment of the EMP Commission would at best assure delays in countering threats to the grid — and at worst could create major misdirection as currently uninformed technologists relearn lessons that were understood a half century ago, with likely unneeded delays and unwarranted expense.
Many of the Commissioners are very senior and their knowledge and experience acquired over the past 50-years will be lost if there is not a process established for handing off what they have learned to the next generation. New technically qualified Commissioners will be needed to take the handoff from the existing Commissioners. Rather than starting over completely (as is directed by NDAA 2018), it would be much more prudent to have the current Commissioners continue and screen replacements for those Commissioners who want to retire, with the appropriate thanks from a grateful Nation.
There are two solutions to this current crisis: one involves the Senate and one involves the President.
The Senate: The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) could correct this course in its consideration of the issue in its floor debate on its version of the NDAA (2018) and/or in the subsequent House-Senate Conference that must agree on the final NDAA(2018) to be sent to President Trump. (The specific amendment suggested to make this course correction is provided in the “Execution” paragraph below.)
The President: If the NDAA (2018) is not fixed, the President has the option of vetoing it. An even better solution would be for him to appoint some appropriate entity in the White House, give it unfettered access to him, give it the needed authority, and hold it accountable for assuring the American people are protected from this existential threat, as quickly as possible.
Effective immediately, the American people must demand that the Senate and the President they elected take timely and appropriate measures to save the current EMP Commission and give it (or another entity that includes their personnel) appropriate authorities to address threats to the electric grid in order to ensure that the Nation does not suffer a pro-longed blackout and unprecedented loss of life and property.
The American people can take action by executing the following:
1. Sharing this article with their network of friends, family, religious leadership, and elected leadership.
2. Sharing this “Call to Action” to anyone in the above list who are not yet educated about the gravity of the threats to the U.S. Electric Grid.
3. Contacting elected officials, particularly their Senators and members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to ask them to amend the NDAA (2018) with this specific language:
“The Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, as described in the FY2001 Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act, Public Law 106-398, Title XIV, with all the powers and authorities invested in the EMP Commission under Title XIV, is hereby re-established. The nine EMP Commissioners, including the EMP Commission Chairman, originally appointed to serve on the EMP Commission are hereby re-appointed. Any new Commissioners to fill vacancies on the EMP Commission shall be appointed by the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees. The Commission shall deliver a report to Congress on threats to the United States from nuclear and non-nuclear EMP attack, natural EMP from solar storms, and other threat vectors to military and civilian critical infrastructures, 18 months from the date that the EMP Commission Chairman certifies that the Commission has received adequate funding, security clearances, and other support to commence work.”
4. Writing the President and Energy Secretary to suggest that the Executive Branch make the EMP Commission a “Presidential Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection” answerable to the White House and thereby protect the EMP Commission from the obstructive political forces and self-interests that prevail in Congress and elsewhere in government.
The Secure the Grid Coalition and the Task Force for National and Homeland Security have created resources to make this process much faster and easier. These resources are provided in the “Admin/Logistics” and “Command/Signal” paragraph below.
1. Pre-addressed / pre-written letters to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Just enter your information in the “footer,” print, and mail.
a. These mailing labels will work with style A4 L7149 pre-formatted label pages
2. Pre-addressed / pre-written letters to the President and White House Chief of Staff.
3. Pre-addressed / pre-written letters to the Energy Secretary, your senators, and other important members of the House Armed Services Committee. Just enter your information in the “footer,” print, and mail.
a. These mailing labels will work with style A4 L7149 pre-formatted label pages
In the current Chain of Command, there is a Marine Who Can Make a Difference
General James Mattis is a legendary Marine. He is absolutely loved and respected by the many warfighters who have served America in combat over the past two decades. Yet, somehow, the Department of Defense he leads is “living in a dream world” when it comes to threats to the U.S. Electric Grid. General Mattis could make a difference by rooting out Obama Administration holdovers in the DOD who have actively slow-rolled the Congressional EMP Commission and led to its demise.
1. Please use this pre-addressed / pre-formatted letter to write to Jim Mattis to make such a request.
2. Please also contact the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to let them know to expect your letter and to ask them to direct General Mattis to investigate why his Defense Department is not taking the threat of EMP seriously.
a. This document provides contact information for these offices where the above letters can be faxed.
3. Please use Twitter to post this article on the Twitter Handles of the Secretary of Defense and the Senate Armed Services Committee and call the numbers below to inform their staff to look for your twitter posts and letters:
Jim Mattis / Secretary of Defense @DeptofDefense
John McCain (R – AZ) Chairman 202-224-2235 @SenJohnMcCain
James Inhofe (R – OK) 202-224-4721 @JimInhofe
Roger Wicker (R – MS) 202-224-6253 @SenatorWicke
Deb Fischer (R – NE) 202-224-6551 @SenatorFischer
Tom Cotton (R – AR) 202-224-2353 @SenTomCotton
Mike Rounds (R – SD) 605-224-1450, 202-224-5842 @SenatorRounds
Joni Ernst (R – IA) 202-224-3254 @SenJoniErnst
Thom Tillis (R – NC) 202-224-6342 @SenThomTillis
Dan Sullivan (R – AK) 202-224-3004 @SenDanSullivan
David Perdue (R – GA) 202-224-3521 @SenDavidPerdue
Ted Cruz (R – TX) 202-224-5922 @SenTedCruz
Lindsey Graham (R – SC) 202-224-5972 @LindseyGrahamSC
Ben Sasse (R – NE) 202-224-4224 @SenSasse
Luther Strange (R – AL) 202-224-4124 @SenatorStrange
Finally, we must remember that when the Nation goes to war, the citizens pray for those in the fight. We ask everyone to pray that the Commander in Chief, his Secretary of Defense, his Secretary of Energy, and the American Congress do what is necessary to make the much-needed course correction in our government’s approach to addressing threats to the U.S. Electric Grid. Let us all pray for the members of the EMP Commission, that they can somehow continue their work unofficially and without pay, that they weather the current storm, and that they begin finding young passionate and talented experts to fill the ranks as each member retires or moves on. Finally, let us all pray that 17 months from now, when the President delivers his State of the Union address, that the union is moving urgently and deliberately toward protecting its most critical infrastructure – the Electric Grid – and that the Nation’s best experts – the current EMP Commission (and those new Commissioners they hire) – are in a position to shepherd this effort.