The Orwellian $795 Billion "Inflation Reduction Act" claims to provide $369 billion for "energy security and climate change," but no apparent help for protecting the nation’s electric power grid against the current existential threats from natural or manmade electromagnetic pulse (EMP) events.
This situation is contrary to my July 22, 2021 Newsmax article, "Guarding, Bolstering Our Electric Infrastructure Should Be Top Priority," which emphasized the Department of Energy’s failure to test a multimillion-dollar large transformer that Duke Energy gave to the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) for testing against EMP threats.
It has sat idly for over three years in North Charleston, South Carolina — awaiting Energy Department funding to ship it to SRNL and testing.
It should be understood that hundreds of such essential transformers produced by China have been purchased and embedded in the nation’s grid — a potential cyber-attack vulnerability, which we ignore at our peril.
An EMP attack is the most horrific cyber threat one could imagine, a factor that SRNL testing could also evaluate, perhaps in conjunction with the Army’s Cyber Command Headquarters on Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia — 30 or so miles away.
Given the current brouhaha following the recent trip by U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to Taiwan, and China’s hostile reactions, one might think that our "powers that be" would take seriously the concern of such threats from China and its leaders who for decades have openly declared their intent to replace the United States as the preeminent global superpower.
This is not a new or idle threat — just now more prominent given China’s more open current military and economic challenges that all can see.
See Michael Pillsbury’s authoritative "The Hundred Year Marathon," reflecting his decades as a national authority on China and its aspirations and now growing threat to the United States.
We continue to ignore this openly expressed threat at our peril.
In my opinion, we are living through the most dangerous period of my lifetime, which includes World War II. China is not alone; but is allied with Russia, North Korea and Iran.
Any and all pose existential EMP threats, whether acting alone or in concert.
The recent debate has ignored this threat, while focusing on criticism of the Senate 51-50 entirely partisan vote as a victory for President Biden and Democrats who support the "Green New Deal."
Critics have focused on the ills of the $313 billion for a 15% Corporate Minimum Tax that will be passed on to the U.S. middle class consumers and $124B to hire another 87,000 IRS agents to enforce IRS taxes.
These criticisms are indeed valid concerns and those who voted for these provisions should be held accountable for them.
But they do not present an existing existential EMP threat to America that was first warned about by the Congressional EMP Commission two decades ago — and numerous others, including yours truly, ever since.
Whatever might be valid climate concerns (such as the possible electricity losses due to unusually hot or cold weather), none approach the consequences of near instantaneous loss of the nation’s electric power grid following a high altitude EMP attack from Russia, China, North Korea or Iran — all of whom include that objective in their military doctrine and plans.
And as many, again including yours truly, have warned for years, we will surely experience a Geomagnetic Disturbance (GMD) a natural event resulting from a major solar flare that intersects the Earth’s orbit when we are present.
Some have estimated that the likelihood of major GMD that could shut down our electric grid is about 12% per decade.
The Earth experienced a major GMD in 1859, when we had no electric grid — but it damaged telegraph systems at the time.
This time it could take down our entire unprotected grid for an indefinite period — and many millions Americans would perish from the resulting starvation, disease and societal collapse.
See my discussion a year ago, stimulated by a then recent National Geographic article that noted the Sun is getting "more stormier."
Manmade EMP would add additional high-frequency effects, including to the electronics that empower so much of our current critical infrastructure that provides food, water, hospitals, emergency response capabilities, transportation, etc.
Meanwhile, every administration — Republican and Democrat — has for two decades ignored documented warnings by the Congressional EMP Commission, and the grid remains vulnerable to these natural and manmade existential threats.
As previously discussed in considerable detail, about $35 million in Federal funding could validate the lessons-learned from the Lake Wylie Pilot Study, which demonstrated that protecting the Distribution Grid is quite affordable, less than $100-per-citizen, and to plan how to extend those lessons-learned throughout South Carolina and the rest of the nation.
The nation’s Distribution Grid constitutes over 90% of the nation’s overall electric grid, but receives little if any support from the federal government.
What limited provided protection supports the "Bulk Power Grid" —power plants and high voltage transmission lines that deliver electricity to those large transformers such as pictured above. Without protecting the Distribution Grid, the American people will remain vulnerable to an existential threat
Not funding SRNL to comprehensively exploit the nation’s largest combined Bulk Power and Distribution Grid available for such testing under laboratory conditions reflects the overall failure of the Washington Establishment, no matter how much money is thrown at the so-called "Inflation Reduction Act."
In giving the above Transformer for testing, our Lake Wylie Pilot Study partner, Duke Energy, years ago demonstrated it takes this EMP threat (and other threats to the grid) seriously — and can be counted on to continue supporting our Wylie Pilot effort and extending its lessons learned throughout South Carolina and beyond — if also funded.
But will the administration and Congress take this issue seriously and support needed funding to make it happen?
The current "Build Back Broke" legislation clearly fails to meet that objective.
Time is wasting.
Ambassador Henry F. (Hank) Cooper is an acknowledged expert on strategic and space national security issues and was President Ronald Reagan's Chief Negotiator at the Defense and Space Talks with the Soviet Union and Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) Director during the George H.W. Bush administration. Read Ambassador Cooper's Reports — More Here.
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