CIVIL-MILITARY PREPAREDNESS FOR AN
ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE CATASTROPHE

By Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

 

KEY JUDGMENTS

 

An EMP Can Cause the Collapse of Critical Infrastructures

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a super-energetic radio wave that can destroy electronic circuits and thereby cause the collapse of the critical infrastructures — electric power, communications, transportation, emergency services, banking and finance, food and water — that sustain modern civilization and the lives of 310 million Americans. Natural EMP from a great geomagnetic storm could collapse critical infrastructures across the entire planet. Nuclear EMP from a single nuclear weapon detonated at high altitude could collapse critical infrastructures across the contiguous United States. Non-­nuclear EMP weapons could damage infrastructures locally, imperiling a major city. Due to the current state of unpreparedness to protect and recover from a natural or nuclear EMP, within twelve months of an EMP event that collapses the critical infrastructures nationwide, an estimated two-thirds of the U.S. population would likely perish from starvation, disease, and societal collapse. (Chapter I)

 

Threat Demands High Priority be Given to Preparedness

An official consensus exists about the EMP threat assessment above. Two Congressional Commissions, the National Academy of Sciences, and two other U.S. Government sponsored major studies, five studies in all, have independently examined and arrived at the same conclusion — that EMP is a potentially catastrophic threat that demands high priority be given to preparedness. The White House too concurs in this judgment. Not one official U.S. Government study dissents from this consensus view of the EMP threat. (Chapter II)

 

Progress has been Gridlocked by Conflicting Bureaucratic Interests

Progress on achieving EMP preparedness for the civilian critical infrastructures and the general population has been gridlocked by conflicting bureaucratic interests among the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and Industry. Technology for protecting against EMP is known, proven, and relatively inexpensive. But initiatives by the Congress to protect the national power grid from EMP have failed repeatedly due to bureaucratic opposition and quarrels over civil-military jurisdiction. (Chapter III)

 

Department of Homeland Security is Unprepared

The Department of Homeland Security is unprepared to protect the critical infrastructures or the American people from a natural or nuclear EMP event. Nor is DHS prepared to cope with any natural disaster or terrorist event of national scale. DHS National Emergency Planning Scenarios, that are the basis for emergency planning and training of civilian federal, state, and local first responders, are virtually identical in postulating merely local, not nation-wide, disasters. (Chapter IV)

 

Civil-Military Cooperation for Catastrophic Preparedness is Non-existent

The National Response Framework (NRF) is the master plan designed by the Department of Homeland Security for coordinating all federal, state, and local emergency services and resources in response to a manmade or natural catastrophe. But the NRF is not designed for maximum preparedness among all federal, state, and local actors —including the Department of Defense. Institutional interests over turf and avoiding costs are the unspoken higher priorities of the NRF. Experts and the Congress have repeatedly admonished the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to achieve greater civil-military cooperation as the fastest, most cost-effective, and most strategically sensible means of greatly improving U.S. catastrophic preparedness — to no avail. (Chapter V)

 

Single Greatest Problem - Failure to Plan, Prepare and Respond

Unpreparedness for hurricanes is indicative of the much larger peril the nation faces from an EMP event. Practical experience learned from hurricanes can also teach us important lessons about how to better prepare for large-scale catastrophes, including an EMP event. Congressional investigations, and investigations by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, consistently point to a single greatest problem — failure to adequately plan, prepare, and respond by civil-military authorities. (Chapter VI)

 

Great Underutilized Potential to Help

The Department of Defense has great underutilized potential to help the Department of Homeland Security mitigate the nation's present utter vulnerability to EMP. Most DOD manpower, material, and logistics capabilities are located in the United States and, therefore, constitute a de facto prepositioning of almost limitless resources for domestic disaster relief— if DOD and DHS would jointly plan to use them as such. Some sense of DOD's awesome latent capability to rescue the American people from an EMP event can be inferred from DOD's record of working logistics miracles in wars, and during natural disasters when DOD has come to the rescue of foreign nations. (Chapter VII)

 

There is Much DoD Could Do to Help DHS

The Department of Defense has an interest in helping the Department of Homeland Security protect the civilian critical infrastructures — in order to fulfill DOD's war fighting and overseas force projection mission. There is much DOD could do to help DHS that is specifically related to protecting and recovering from an EMP catastrophe all of the critical infrastructures: electric power, communications, transportation, emergency services, banking and finance, food and water. (Chapter VIII)

 

Military Bases Could Aid Survival and Recovery

The numerous military bases widely distributed throughout the United States, with their stores of material and resident manpower and expertise, are like already prepositioned islands of emergency resources that could aid survival and recovery from an EMP catastrophe. Local civilian authorities and military base commanders, even if completely isolated by an EMP event, with no communications or help from the state or federal levels, could still work together to recover local communities, which would become a foundation for a much accelerated national recovery. (Chapter IX)

 

Increase Civil-Military Preparedness in Communities

Faculty at the U.S. Army War College, located at the military base Carlisle Barracks in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, working on their own, launched a project to increase EMP preparedness at Carlisle Barracks and among the larger surrounding civilian community in Carlisle. Most installation commanders do not conduct vulnerability assessments that are outside their perimeter. So the effects of significant problem areas from communities supporting their installations are not addressed. Working with no support and virtually no resources except good planning skills, the Carlisle Barracks team achieved astonishing success. Still ongoing efforts and accomplishments in Carlisle might be regarded as an experiment indicative of what could be achieved by a much larger and broader DOD-DHS program to increase civil-military EMP preparedness in communities across the nation. (Chapter X)

 

All Proposals for Preparedness Already Authorized Under the Law

All of the proposals made in this study for civil-military preparedness for an EMP catastrophe are, without exception, legal under the United States Constitution and already authorized under the law. (Chapter XI)

 

Several Initiatives Promise to Achieve a Breakthrough in Preparedness

Several initiatives are now underway designed to advance civil-military preparedness for an EMP catastrophe. Several legislative initiatives from the newly established Congressional Caucus on EMP, including establishment of the EMP Caucus itself, originated wholly or partially from recommendations by the Principal Investigator of this study. The new Presidential Policy Directive-8 appears responsive to the EMP threat. A joint EMP exercise involving the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense — planned with guidance from the Principal Investigator of this study — promises to achieve a breakthrough in civil-military preparedness for an EMP catastrophe. (Chapter XII)

 

Time is running out to prepare the United States

Nonetheless, time is running out to prepare the United States to survive and recover from an EMP event. December 2012 commences the solar maximum, a period of heightened solar flare activity that will last through 2013, increasing the prospects for a great geomagnetic storm — already 50 years overdue. Moreover, nuclear weapons programs among rogue states, including Iran — the world's leading sponsor of international terrorism — are advancing rapidly. (Chapter XIII)

 

Nearly a Decade's Work Now Publicly Available

Finally, it warrants noting that when the Congressional EMP Commission was terminated prematurely in 2008, most of the Commission's staff papers, engineering studies, experiments, briefings and other analysis — representing nearly a decade's work by the nation's best experts — were never published. This large and invaluable body of research is the technical and analytical basis for the EMP Commission's two unclassified summary reports. This book draws upon the EMP Commission's unpublished archive to make publicly available for the first time some of the most important of this never before seen material.