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Showing posts with label Collapse from EMP attack. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Collapse from EMP attack. Show all posts

Thursday, October 1, 2015

America Unprepared For Devastating 'Black Swan'

Urban Man- Here is another interesting story I just read in regards to EMP issues.

WASHINGTON – Supply-chain disruptions often are the result of adverse weather, unplanned telecom outages, data breaches or even cyber hacking.

However, the one “Black Swan” event that would make these instances pale by comparison and result in a cascading disruption is a natural or man-made electromagnetic pulse event.

A “Black Swan” is an event regarded at the time of its occurrence as unprecedented and unexpected but later, in hindsight, understood to have been inevitable.

An EMP is in that category, since scientific experts repeatedly warn that a major EMP event is not a question of if, but when.

Barrett Moore, a security specialist and founder of the security company Triple Canopy, told WND that federal officials have modeled the effects of a “Black Swan” event on the timely delivery of food, water, fuel, medical care and technology. But they have done it primarily for the government’s benefit.

Michael Maloof’s “A Nation Forsaken” exposes the catastrophic vulnerability scientists and other experts have been warning about for years

“Seeing potential for large-scale chaos,” Barrett said, “they have mitigated this risk for themselves by investing hundreds of billions of dollars in a continuity-of-government plan that has overseen the construction, equipping and provisioning of over 100 classified ‘haven’ facilities accessible only to families and staff of government officials,” he said.

“No parallel provisions have been made in our country for the general population,” he said.

Years ago, Barrett noted, there were civil-defense centers in which the local population could assemble in the event of an emergency, stocked with food, water and essential medicines. But they disappeared in the 1960s.

Consideration, he said, should be given to bringing them back as one type of “safe haven” for the general population.


A recent survey shows that an EMP event is not on the radar of professionals whose industry is part of the supply chain.

A 2014 Supply Chain Resilience Survey, conducted by the Business Continuity Institute on behalf of the Zurich Insurance Group, asked the professionals to look five years ahead regarding potential, evolving world threats

They ranked the biggest threat as cyber attacks, followed in order by IT/telecom outages, outsourcer service failure, data breaches and adverse weather conditions.

Yet, supply-chain disruption caused by an EMP – a super-burst of energetic radio waves that could knock out the already vulnerable national grid – can either destroy or damage unprotected electronic systems by instantly overloading their circuits.

The immediate result would be catastrophic damage to all the critical infrastructures that rely on the grid, including automated control systems for electric power, telecommunications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water distribution and emergency services.

A natural EMP event would be a direct hit on Earth from a massive solar storm, while a man-made EMP would be a high-altitude nuclear bomb burst instigated by any adversarial country with a nuclear weapon and a missile-delivery system.

Given the level of U.S. unpreparedness, it is estimated that within 12 months of an EMP event, two-thirds to 90 percent of the U.S. population would likely perish from starvation, disease and societal breakdown, according to the Secure the Grid Coalition.

The coalition is an ad hoc group of policy, energy and national security experts, legislators and industry insiders dedicated to strengthening the U.S. electrical grid by seeking the passage of legislation and raising public awareness of the national and international threat of an EMP.

‘Keystone’ infrastructure at risk

One of the coalition’s spokesmen is Peter Vincent Pry, who told WND that “political gridlock” in Washington has hindered the implementation of any of a number of cost-effective plans to protect the national electrical grid.

He said the electric grid is the “keystone” infrastructure necessary to recover all other critical infrastructures. Protection of the grid from an EMP – which Pry said is the “worst threat” – will also enhance overall grid security against all other threats including cyber attack, sabotage and severe weather.

Pry is a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency who serves as executive director of the congressional Task Force on National and Homeland Security and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum.

Pry also was staff director of the congressionally mandated EMP Commission, which in 2008 looked at the impact of an EMP on the nation’s vital infrastructure.

Among other things, the commission recommended an “all hazards” strategy to protect the electric grid and other critical infrastructures against all threats.

Pry said the “all hazards” strategy is the most practical and cost-effective solution to protecting the grid and the other critical infrastructures.

He pointed out that electric grid operation and vulnerability are dependent on two key technologies – extra-high voltage, or EHV, transformers and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems, or SCADAS.

“EHV transformers are the technological foundation of our modern electronic civilization as they make it possible to transmit electric power over great distances,” Pry said.

They cost millions of dollars and are custom-made rather than mass-produced. Making one EHV takes about 18 months under normal conditions, and only 200 are made a year.

While EHV transformers were invented in the United States by Nikolai Tesla, Pry said, they no longer are manufactured in the U.S.

“Because of their great size and cost,” he said, “U.S. electric utilities have very few spare EHV transformers. The U.S. must import EHV transformers made in Germany or South Korea, the only two nations in the world that make them for export.

“An event that damages hundreds – or even as few as nine – of the 2,000 EHV transformers in the United States could plunge the nation into a protracted blackout lasting months or even years,” Pry said.

SCADAS are small computers that run the electric grid and all the critical infrastructures. For example, they regulate the flow of electric current through EHV transformers, the flow of natural gas or water through pipelines, the flow of data through communications and financial systems and operate everything “from traffic control lights to refrigerators in regional food warehouses.”

SCADAS number in the millions and are indispensable as EHV transformers in running a modern electronic civilization, Pry said.

“The EMP Commission found that if the electric grid can be protected and quickly recover from nuclear EMP, the other critical infrastructures can also be recovered, with good planning, quickly enough to prevent mass starvation and restore society to normalcy,” Pry recently told a congressional panel.

“If EHV transformers, SCADAS and other critical components are protected from the worst threat – nuclear EMP – then they will survive, or damage will be greatly mitigated, from all lesser threats, including natural EMP from geomagnetic storms, severe weather, sabotage, and cyber attack,” he said.

Pry said cyber warfare is another existential threat to the U.S., not because of computer viruses and hacking alone, but owing to military doctrines of potential adversaries that call for all-out cyber attack, including an EMP.

Pry told the congressional panel that a 2011 U.S. Army War College study, “In The Dark: Planning for a Catastrophic Critical Infrastructure Event,” warned U.S. Cyber Command that U.S. doctrine should not overly focus on computer viruses to the exclusion of an EMP attack and the full spectrum of other threats, as planned by potential adversaries.

Pry said anti-hacking and anti-virus solutions will just result in an “endless virus versus anti-virus software arms race” that will prove “unaffordable and futile.”

He said the worst-case cyber scenario can be overcome through an “all hazards” strategy recommended by the congressional EMP Commission. He said the worst-case scenario envisions a computer virus infecting the SCADAS that regulate the flow of electricity into EHV transformers, damaging the transformers with overvoltage and causing a protracted national blackout.

But if the transformers are protected with surge arrestors against a high-altitude nuclear EMP attack which Pry said would be the worst kind of attack, they “would be unharmed by the worst possible overvoltage that might be system-generated by any computer virus.”

“While gridlock in Washington has prevented the federal government from protecting the national electric power infrastructure, threats to the grid – and to the survival of the American people – from EMP and other hazards are looming ever larger,” Pry said. “Grid vulnerability to EMP and other threats is now a clear and present danger.”

Urban Man-

Sunday, May 4, 2014

EMP Threat From North Korea and Others

This is a good article written by Dr. Peter Vincent, and was published on Family Security Matters. It seems I may have read something similar in 2013, and this article is dated 2014, in any case it is still valid today,...maybe even more so given North Korea's, and not to mention Iran's, continuation of their nuclear weapons programs.

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and Director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both Congressional Advisory Boards, and served on the Congressional EMP Commission, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of Apocalypse Unknown: The Struggle To Protect America From An Electromagnetic Pulse Catastrophe and Electric Armageddon, both available from and

Presentation by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

The Atlantic and Conservation Institute

New York City ~ April 10, 2014

North Korea's third illegal nuclear test on February 12, 2013, was followed by increased international sanctions, that prompted escalating threats from North Korea to make nuclear missile strikes against U.S. allies, South Korea and Japan, and the mainland United States. President Obama denied that North Korea could deliver on these threats, claiming that North Korea does not yet have nuclear armed missiles--despite assessments to the contrary by DIA, CIA, and NATO.

Three months earlier, on December 12, 2012, North Korea successfully orbited a satellite, the KSM-3, thereby demonstrating the capability to deliver a small nuclear warhead to intercontinental ranges--against any nation on Earth. The Congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack assessed that Russia, China, and North Korea (with help from Russia) have probably developed nuclear weapons of special design that produce a low explosive yield and high gamma ray output in order to generate an extraordinarily powerful EMP field. The Russians term these "Super-EMP" weapons. Independently, South Korean military intelligence and a Chinese military commentator in open sources credit North Korea with having Super-EMP warheads.

The design characteristics of a Super-EMP warhead are such that it would likely be small enough for delivery by North Korea's Unha-3 space launch vehicle or its Taepodong-2 ICBM.

North Korea during its December 12, 2012 launch of the KSM-3 satellite apparently practiced making against the U.S. a surprise nuclear EMP attack. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union developed a secret weapon--the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS)--disguised as a peaceful space launch vehicle, that could orbit a nuclear warhead like a satellite, to make a surprise EMP attack.

The FOBS would launch southward, away from the U.S., and orbit a nuclear warhead on a satellite trajectory over the South Pole, attacking the U.S. from the south. During the Cold War and today, U.S. Ballistic Missile Early Warning Radars and anti-missile interceptors are all looking north. U.S. National Missile Defenses are blind to the south and not prepared for an attack from that direction.

The first warning of a FOBS attack would be the nuclear EMP burst which could paralyze military communications and forces and would have catastrophic consequences for the electric grid and other civilian critical infrastructures. The Congressional EMP Commission assesses that a nuclear EMP attack that causes a protracted nationwide blackout lasting a year or more could kill up to 9 of 10 Americans from starvation, disease, and societal collapse.

The trajectory of North Korea's KSM-3 satellite had the characteristics for delivery by FOBS of a surprise nuclear EMP attack against the United States. The satellite was launched to the south, away from the U.S., transited the South Pole, and approached the U.S. from its southern blindside--at the optimum altitude for placing an EMP field over all 48 contiguous United States.

President Obama, despite public dismissal of the North Korean nuclear missile threats, nonetheless conducted B-2 bomber demonstrations over the demilitarized zone and strengthened National Missile Defenses (but not in the south).

Amidst the nuclear crisis with North Korea, on April 10, 2013, the KSM-3 satellite was near the geographic center of the U.S., at optimum altitude (if KSM-3 was a nuclear weapon) for placing an EMP field over most of the continental United States.

On April 16, 2013, the KSM-3 satellite was over the Washington, D.C.-New York City corridor--the optimum location and altitude for placing a peak EMP field over the area most likely to blackout the Eastern Grid. The Eastern Grid generates 75 percent of U.S. electricity and is indispensable to national survival. The peak EMP field would also have maximized damage to Washington and New York, the nation's political and economic centers.

Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, on April 16, 2013, on the same day North Korea's KSM-3 was over Washington and New York, saboteurs unknown attacked the critically important Metcalf transformer substation outside San Jose, that services a 470 megawatt power plant and the Silicon Valley. Had the attack on Metcalf destroyed the transformers, cascading failures might well have blacked out much of the Western Grid. U.S. military operations in the Pacific, and against North Korea in a major war, depend upon West coast power projection capabilities.

Power projection to the Pacific and Asia cannot be sustained if the Western Grid is in blackout.

Three months after Metcalf and the KSM-3 orbit over Washington-New York City, a North Korean freighter that transited the Gulf of Mexico was intercepted trying to enter the Panama Canal carrying, hidden in its hold under bags of sugar, two nuclear-capable SA-2 missiles on their launchers. The missiles had no nuclear warheads. But North Korea's demonstrated capability to move nuclear capable missiles into the Gulf of Mexico is eerily similar to the EMP Commission's nightmare scenario of a rogue state launching a nuclear EMP attack from a freighter operating off the U.S. coast.

An EMP attack launched from a freighter near the U.S. coast could achieve surprise, minimize the possibility of interception, and be executed anonymously to escape retaliation. Deterrence and retaliation depends upon knowing who executed the attack.

The nuclear crisis of 2013 may have been an elaborate training exercise by North Korea for an all-out Cyber Warfare Operation against the United States. The Congressional EMP Commission found, and as explained in May 2013 congressional testimony of former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, in the military doctrines of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, Cyber Warfare is not limited to computer viruses and hacking--but includes sabotage, like the Metcalf attack, and nuclear EMP attack. The objective is to destroy the enemy by collapsing the civilian critical infrastructures--communications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water--and especially the electric grid, which sustains all the infrastructures, and modern civilization.

All the elements of a total Cyber Warfare Operation were present. Every day the electric grid and other critical infrastructures experience hundreds of attacks and probes by computer viruses and hacking. The Metcalf attack on April 16 may have been practice for a much larger and more ambitious sabotage campaign against the electric grid, as Jon Wellinghoff, former Chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and many experts believe. The April 16 orbit of KSM-3 over Washington and New York, in the perfect position for an EMP attack on the Eastern Grid, is an astounding coincidence, if it is a coincidence. Three months later, the presence in the Gulf of Mexico of a North Korean freighter carrying nuclear capable SA-2 missiles completes the picture, and checks all the boxes for an all-out Cyber Warfare Operation.

What is to be done?

Former Director of Central Intelligence Woolsey and I have written in the Wall Street Journal that it is too risky to tolerate North Korean launches of their Unha-3 space launch vehicle or their Taepondong-2 ICBM--we should blow them up on the pad in a surgical strike.

During President George W. Bush's Administration, former Secretary of Defense William Perry and Ashton Carter, until recently President Obama's Deputy Secretary of Defense, both advocated such a policy. They urged President Bush to surgically destroy North Korean long-range missiles under development--because it would be too dangerous to allow North Korea the capability to deliver a nuclear weapon against the United States.

Now that North Korea has Super-EMP weapons, and the capability to deliver them, preventing their launch of weapons or "satellites" over the United States is even more imperative.

More important than ever, vital to national survival, is protecting the electric grid from EMP and the other elements of an all-out Cyber Warfare Operation. Bills enjoying strong bipartisan support are before Congress designed to protect the grid--the GRID Act, the SHIELD Act, and the Critical Infrastructures Protection Act. But these have been stalled, blocked from a vote, by lobbying from the electric power industry, especially the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

State initiatives to protect the grid from EMP and other threats have been more successful and appear to be a promising way to achieve progress. Maine and Virginia have already passed initiatives to study protecting their State grids. Florida, New York, New Mexico, Utah, Oklahoma and Indiana have movements afoot to introduce grid protection initiatives, instead of waiting for Washington to act.

Finally, Ambassador Henry Cooper, former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative, has excellent ideas about how we can quickly bolster National Missile Defense with Aegis cruisers and Aegis ashore interceptors to patch the holes in our defenses--especially to the south. Ambassador Cooper is our nation's foremost expert on missile defense. During the Cold War he was deeply involved in efforts to protect our military forces from EMP.

And then we have this article from World Net Daily, titled: "State warns on EMP: There's no help coming". We're glad there is some level of government recognizing the EMP threat. Just too bad it's not the Federal Government.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed legislation to require the state’s Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to prepare materials outlining what citizens need to know to deal with either a natural or man-made electromagnetic pulse event that could knock out the vulnerable electrical grid system over a wide geographical region.

The legislation, SB 1476, was introduced by Sen. David Farnsworth, R-Mesa. It includes the type and quantity of food, water and medical supplies that each person should stockpile in case an EMP occurs over the U.S.

The legislation, however, doesn’t require actual hardening of the grid within the state.

“In our lifetimes the emergencies we’ve seen have been local emergencies, and really all we have to do is be prepared enough to hang on until help arrives,” Farnsworth said at the time he introduced it last February. “With an EMP, there’s no help coming.”

Under the legislation that now is law, the Arizona Division of Emergency Management is to post on its website recommendations such as the type and amount of supplies residents should stockpile to be prepared for an EMP event.

Farnsworth’s more immediate concern was the prospect of an EMP triggered by the detonation of a high-altitude nuclear weapon. The EMP would have the effect of knocking out the vulnerable grid system and any unprotected electronics. “My hope is that by bringing this out, we’ll start discussions and come to the realization that as a government we can’t feed all these people, but as responsible citizens we need to do our part and make individual preparations,” he said at the time he introduced the legislation. A co-sponsor of the legislation, Don Shooter, R-Yuma, had criticized the federal government for not taking a similar public education program. Read the documentation that’s sparking the worry about the EMP threat, in “A Nation Forsaken.”

“It’s too expensive for the government to prepare on a national scale,” Shooter said. “This time around, it’s people who can do the most to prepare. It’s even possible to EMP-proof your electronics. It just takes time.” Shooter said the threat of an EMP event may be small, but “if it ever does happen, most people won’t be prepared. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and warn them now. God puts a watchman on the tower for times like these.”

State Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, was one of 17 lawmakers who voted against the original legislation, criticizing the focus on a catastrophe that he said was a very remote possibility. “Really, we already have a major catastrophe in the state and that’s called our schools falling apart, our roads falling apart and we should be fixing those things,” he said. “Not living in some fantasy world worrying about some unquantified attack or some disaster that’s not gonna happen.”

Survival gear expert Tim Ralston of Scottsdale, Ariz., however, said that there are simple things that can be done to give people “peace of mind.” “The food, the water, everything has to do with electricity. And an EMP in an instant would shut that all off,” he said. Ralston said that less than 15 percent of the Arizona population is prepared for an electrical disruption of 30 days or more. “I think it’s fantastic,” Ralston said of the new law. “I think any time we can take a proactive step to help people become more self-reliant it will help that transition.”

Arizona has taken a lead in moving on the EMP issue.

In February 2013, Congressman Trent Franks introduced the SHIELD Act in the House of Representatives and established in the U.S. House of Representatives the EMP Caucus. The Shield Act stands for Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage. It calls on industry and government to develop, promulgate and implement standards and processes that are necessary to address the electric grid’s current vulnerabilities and shortcomings that would be affected by an EMP.

Franks has been trying to get the SHIELD Act into law since 2011. In the last session of Congress, it passed the House but failed in the Senate. His efforts stem from findings of the congressional EMP commission which spelled out in considerable detail the cascading impact of an EMP on the electrical grid system and its catastrophic impact on life-sustaining critical infrastructures that depend on it.

Experts agree that if there were an EMP event, the U.S. could see some 90 percent of its population affected. Experts believe food, water, energy and other supply systems could be unoperational, possibly for periods extending to years.

Arizona is but the latest state to take action due to the failure of the federal government to address the EMP issue. Last June, Maine passed and the governor signed legislation ordering its grid to be hardened against an EMP. The law not only requires preparation against a natural or man-made EMP, but it encourages other states to take a similar initiative.

Other states, including New York, Texas, North Carolina and Missouri, also are considering EMP legislation.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has failed to look at EMP as a major threat in its 15 planning scenarios, even though DHS officials have testified before Congress that they are very aware of the consequences of an EMP event, whether natural or man-made.