Tag Archives: electromagnetic pulse

Vote to Fix a Broken Intelligence Community

Originally Published on Newsmax:

If Democrats win control of the House or Senate in the November 6 elections, they will capture the chairmanships of one or both of the intelligence committees — the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI).

Consequently, reforming the FBI, CIA, DIA, NSA, and other parts of an Intelligence Community deeply corrupted by the Obama Administration will become much more difficult or impossible.

The Obama Administration was notorious for producing politically biased intelligence designed to advance their domestic and foreign policy agendas, regardless of the consequences for U.S. national security.

The grave danger of politically-driven intelligence should have become obvious to all in the summer of 2017 when North Korea demonstrated ICBMs capable of striking anywhere in the United States and tested an H-Bomb. This less than one year after President Obama and his Intelligence Community reassured Congress and the American people that North Korea was many years away from developing both threats.

Many are disappointed that the Trump Administration, HPSCI and SSCI, having inherited Obama’s highly politicized Intelligence Community, have apparently done little or nothing to reform its analytical ranks by recruiting new senior analysts.

Nearly two years after President Trump’s election — among the senior analytical ranks — it is still the Obama Administration’s Intelligence Community.

If people are policy, so too with intelligence.

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 — that mandated reforms recommended by the 9/11 Commission to avoid another massively destructive intelligence failure — requires the Intelligence Community to foster alternative views, including by B-Teams.

B-Teams comprise independent experts with access to classified data to provide alternative intelligence assessments.

B-Teams would be an excellent check on Intelligence Community bias. B-team analysis begun by President Gerald Ford as a corrective to CIA underestimating the Soviet threat helped President Reagan win the Cold War.

At minimum, the Trump Administration, HPSCI and SSCI, should be proliferating B-Teams to challenge dubious, deeply erroneous and in some cases preposterous intelligence assessments such as these:

Allegedly Russia “hacked” the 2016 elections to help Trump. Astonishing that President Trump’s own hand-picked leaders of the Intelligence Community have allowed to stand unchallenged this obviously politicized assessment by the Obama Administration’s Director of National Intelligence, General Clapper, and CIA Director Brennan — both Trump haters. Many former intelligence officers have already debunked this disinformation designed to undermine President Trump’s legitimacy. Why is Clapper-Brennan propaganda tolerated by the Trump Administration to continue as a legitimate official intelligence assessment?

Allegedly climate change is the greatest threat to U.S. and global security. President Trump has not allowed this fantasy to damage our economy and lead the U.S. toward global socialism by wisely ending the “war on coal” and withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords. But Intelligence Community assessments continue to parrot Obama on climate change, serving as a rationale for misguided policies at the EPA, DOE, DOD, DHS, and throughout the U.S. government. Contrary to climate change true believers, there is no scientific consensus that climate change is “anthropogenic” (caused by Man) or a clear and present danger.

Allegedly Russia has reduced its tactical nuclear weapons from 20,000 to 1,000. The Obama Administration’s Intelligence Community concealed Russia’s violations of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and low-balled Russian cheating on tactical nuclear weapons to sell Congress the New START Treaty and advance a “world without nuclear weapons” led by U.S. unilateral nuclear disarmament. DIA and CIA continue shrinking Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal through wishful thinking in President Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review.

Allegedly electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a low-risk low-priority threat. The Obama Administration’s deeply erroneous Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee (JAEIC) report on EMP continues to misguide policy at DHS, even though thoroughly discredited by the Congressional EMP Commission.

Allegedly Iran does not have nuclear weapons. A recent Institute for Science and International Security report, by two former UN nuclear inspectors, reviewing material stolen by Israel from Iran’s secret nuclear archives concludes:

“The United States incorrectly assessed with high confidence in a 2007 declassified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that ‘in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.’ Based on the information in the archives, Iran’s nuclear weapons program continued after 2003 …Moreover, the 2007 NIE also incorrectly asserted that Iran had not re-started its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007, albeit with only moderate confidence. It should be noted that the term ‘moderate confidence’ demonstrates the limitations of intelligence information. However, there is no evidence that the program was ever fully halted, even up to today.”

Israeli intelligence officers and some U.S. former senior intelligence officials — including a former CIA Director, a former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, and a former White House Science Advisor — have warned Iran probably already has nuclear weapons. (See “Underestimating Nuclear Missile Threats from North Korea and Iran” National Review, February 2016 by Ambassador James R. Woolsey, Ambassador Henry Cooper, Dr. William Graham, Fritz Ermarth, and Dr. Peter Vincent Pry.)

These are just a few of the dubious, deeply erroneous, and in some cases preposterous intelligence assessments produced by the Obama Administration’s Intelligence Community that deserve B-Team treatment.

Expect these and other far-left fantasies that are “the world according to Obama” to continue undermining U.S. national security if Democrats capture control of the Senate or House intelligence committees as a result of the November 6 elections.

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security. He served on the Congressional EMP Commission as chief of staff, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of “Blackout Wars.” For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

Russia’s Pearl Harbor 2.0 Asymmetrical War Plans, Gulftainer, Club-K, and EMP

Image source: Russian Federation State-Owned Enterprise ROSOBORONEXPORT

Translations from a Russian defense journal and from a secret Iranian military handbook suggest that Russia and Iran have developed a Pearl Harbor 2.0 plan to sink the entire U.S. Navy fleet as part of coordinated asymmetrical attacks against the United States and U.S. military bases around the world.

The plan is to launch Russian Kalibr cruise missiles from submarines, freighter ships, and Trojan Horse Club-K Container Missile System intermodal cargo “containers” that can be smuggled into U.S. ports and moved into the U.S. interior aboard trains and semi-trucks.

In 2015 the Russian journal “Natsionalnaya Oborona” (translation: National Defense) outlined a plan to “hit them in their ports” with Kalibr cruise missiles that could sink entire US Navy fleets docked in ports across the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.

The journal published a paper, written by Aleksandr Mozgovoy, called “RUSSIAN NAVY’S LONG ARM: KALIBR MISSILE FAMILY.”  Mozgovoy writes (translated from Russian):

Thanks to the (Kalibr) cruise missiles, nuclear and conventional submarines will no longer have to change ship targets all over the ocean, but strike them in their ports, attacking from long ranges. They can now attack a wide range of land targets and from directions poorly protected by air defenses. This also applies to attacks on surface ships. In the near future, Russian submarines, missile boats, and surface ships will be able to hold at risk all important sites in Europe and in the Middle East. While the nuclear subs will have the US as their potential target…We believe that the idea of placing Kalibrs in standard 40-foot containers (the Kalibr-K system) installed on civilian ships, including riverine ones. Such concealed floating arsenals can operate on seas and rivers unnoticed.  Club-S export version is also enjoying success. It has been installed on more than twenty diesel-electric submarines delivered to Algeria, Vietnam, India, and China. Iranian sailors are casting covetous gazes at them.

The West clearly understands the power of the Kalibr system. Not for nothing did they name it the “Sizzler.”

Russia has been shifting to an asymmetrical cruise missile strategy by retrofitting Russian submarines and surface warship fleets with Kalibr cruise missiles and the Club K Container Missile Launch System. This information on the Kalibr retrofitting of Russia’s naval fleets was confirmed by a “high ranking Russia defense industry official” according to the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence.

Russia is also equipping freighter ships and ice breakers near Alaska with the Club-K Container Missile System. Russia is selling the Club-K to America’s enemies. Iran has purchased the Club K missile launching system per Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, America’s foremost authority on ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP).

Europe, the Middle East, and U.S. coasts in range of Russian Kalibr cruise missiles

U.S. military bases along the coast are in range of Russian Kalibr cruise missiles that can be launched from submarines and freighters at sea, according to the CSIS Missile Defense Project.

Russia already “holds” most of the Europe and the Middle East in range of Russian Kalibr cruise missiles, the same type of missile used in the Club-K Container Missile System, a map from the Office of Naval Intelligence reveals.

Source: Office of Naval Intelligence

Additionally, Russia is building up military bases in the arctic near Alaska, as revealed in a map from the office of U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK).

EMP Commission dismantled by Obama holdovers as North Korea tested “Super EMP” capable hydrogen bomb

Foremost EMP expert Dr. Peter Vincent Pry wrote in Israel’s Arutz Sheva.

One nuclear warhead detonated at high-altitude over the United States would blackout the national electric grid and other life sustaining critical infrastructures for months or years by means of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP).  A nationwide blackout lasting one year, according to the Congressional EMP Commission, could cause chaos and starvation that leaves 90 percent of Americans dead.

Iranian military documents describe such a scenario — including a recently translated Iranian military textbook that endorses nuclear EMP attack against the United States.

Dr. Pry headed the Congressional EMP Commission until it was dismantled by Obama administration holdovers in September 2017, just as North Korea was testing a hydrogen bomb that could be used in a super EMP attack.

“The people who sabotaged the EMP Commission, Obama holdovers, are still at the Department of Defense. They have not been replaced by the Trump administration. This is happening not just with the vitally important EMP Commission” Dr. Pry told World Net Daily. “They held back money for a whole year. They held back security clearances. They tried to stop the commission’s staff from working, arguing that ‘you need a contract in order to work for the EMP Commission.’ They wouldn’t even let me work, or other staff, pro-bono. We did anyway.”

The EMP Commissions was comprised of America’s top scientist, a brain trust of national defense experts.

Gulftainer in joint venture with ROSTEC, exporter of Russia’s Club-K Container Missile System

In 2014 the Obama administration handed over Port Canaveral’s cargo container terminal to UAE-based container and ports management company Gulftainer. Gulftainer is linked to Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs and to Russia.


Delaware officials just approved a plan to hand over the Port of Wilmingtonto Gulftainer for the next 50 years.

Gulftainer is co-owned by a UAE ruler and Iraqi oil billionaire Hamid Dhia Jafar. Hamid Jafar was under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department and three congressional committees for his “Oil-For-Superweapons” scheme to fund Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program, directed by Hamid’s brother Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar.

Gulftainer is in a joint venture with Russian state-owned weapons conglomerate ROSTEC, ROSTEC exports the Club-K Container Missile System through its wholly-owned subsidiary ROSOBORONEXPORT. President Trump just placed ROSOBORONEXPORT under sanctions, which had been lifted by the Obama administration.

The Club-K’s Kalibr cruise missiles can deliver nuclear, EMP, chemical, biological, and conventional payloads. Submarines can also launch Kalibr cruise missiles.

Russia and other U.S. adversaries could smuggle Club-K Container Missile System units through U.S. ports such as Port Canaveral and the Port of Wilmington. Club-K units look identical to standard intermodal shipping containers.

Dr. Joseph King is the former Chief of the National Security Section, Department of Homeland Security’s New York City office. In an exclusive interview with these reporters, Dr. King stated:

The detailed information that has been amassed regarding Project Pelican makes it clear that the threats to our Ports and Terminals, our first line of defense, and the corruption and criminal conduct in these conspiracies, surpass the scope of the “Iran Contra” and “Whitewater” affairs combined.

Dr. King elaborated:

I find it mind-boggling that this Byzantine attack on our national security has been swept under the rug by the previous administration. I hope that someone in the Trump administration will pursue this dangerous and criminal attack on our Ports and Terminals and ultimately our national security so that, unlike Churchill, we will not have to fight them on our beaches.


Will Americans Vote for Congressional Gridlock or US National Security?

Originally published on Newsmax.com:

Days before U.S. congressional elections crucial to Trump Administration plans for protecting the U.S. and deterring World War III, Moscow’s new “peace offensive” is trying to mobilize the kind of American voter Vladimir Lenin allegedly once described as “useful idiots.”

Will Americans vote for congressional gridlock or for U.S. national security?

At stake are Trump Administration programs strengthening U.S. military might and homeland security, all long-neglected or opposed by the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats:

— Rebuilding the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines.

— Modernizing U.S. nuclear deterrent forces and their scientific-industrial base.

— Protecting the U.S. electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures from cyber and EMP attack.

— Creating a U.S. Space Force and space-based defenses that could render nuclear missiles obsolete.

But wait! Are these programs really necessary?

Just last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised: “We have no concept of a preemptive strike.”

“We expect to be struck by nuclear weapons, but we will not use them [first],” Putin said, “The aggressor will have to understand that retaliation is inevitable, that it will be destroyed, and that we, as victims of aggression, as martyrs, will go to heaven.” Whereas Americans “will simply die because they won’t even have time to repent.”

On October 18, according to TASS: “Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov believes that Moscow and Washington should reaffirm the idea it will be impossible to win a nuclear war.”

Lavrov: “The Americans and we have made two fundamental statements since the Soviet era to the effect nobody can win a nuclear war and for that reason it cannot happen. It might be a good idea to reaffirm this postulate.”

Lavrov criticizes U.S. nuclear deterrent modernization, including the development of a U.S. low-yield warhead to counter Russia’s 10-to-1 advantage in tactical nuclear weapons, as dangerously destabilizing and threatening to “undermine all existing agreements.”

Yet Moscow expects Washington to be OK with Russia’s violations of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, too long tolerated by the Obama Administration, but now challenged by President Trump.

Threatens Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on October 21, U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty, which now constrains only the United States and NATO, not Russia or China, would be “very dangerous.”

Who would believe such propaganda, be cowed by such threats?

Too many Americans.

Too many Americans belong to the party of “blame America first” and to the party of suicidal appeasement and to the party that fantasizes about former President Obama’s “world without nuclear weapons” beginning with U.S. unilateral disarmament.

For example, according to national security expert Peter Huessy (October 15): “The Princeton University disarmament group, Global Zero, has released a new…report — The End of Nuclear Warfighting — that calls for the unilateral disarmament of more than two-thirds of the U.S. nuclear deterrent and…placing most U.S. warheads in storage bunkers.”

Moscow wants Americans to temporarily forget, until after voting on November 6, dictator Putin’s March 1 televised briefing to the world describing new nuclear super-weapons giving Russia “nuclear superiority” and demanding that the U.S. “listen to us now.”

Moscow hopes voting Americans never read former Director of the U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency, Vice Admiral Robert Monroe’s recent article accurately describing Russia’s hyper-aggressive nuclear strategy in The Hill:

Russia makes “no distinction between conventional and nuclear weapons. They consider the full spectrum of weaponry to be available for military use; and they have even gone farther, by establishing a preferred strategy of early (conflict-ending) use of low-yield nukes in all military actions, large and small. For a quarter-century Russia has been focusing their nuclear weapons research and testing on very low yields (say, from ten to 500 tons). During this same period, they have also been researching and testing greater use of fusion, less of fission, possibly achieving pure fusion. These weapons would emit only neutrons and gamma rays, and leave little or no contaminating residual radiation.”

“Their tactics of use would be ones we’ve never seen or thought about. Putin has threatened military action in many areas of Europe, to recover the former Soviet empire. If armed conflict broke out tomorrow, the advancing Russian armor, mobilized infantry, artillery, and tactical aircraft would be preceded by dozens of low-yield nuclear detonations, killing everything, but leaving roads and bridges intact. The war would be over in days or hours.”

Moscow doesn’t want American voters to read the Congressional EMP Commission Chairman’s Report, recently approved for unclassified publication by the Defense Department:

Russian military doctrine “describes the combined use of cyber viruses and hacking, physical attacks, non-nuclear EMP weapons, and ultimately nuclear EMP attack against electric grids and critical infrastructures as a new way of warfare that is the greatest Revolution in Military Affairs in history. Like Nazi Germany’s Blitzkrieg (‘Lightning War’) Strategy that coordinated airpower, armor, and mobile infantry to achieve strategic and technological surprise that nearly defeated the Allies in World War II, the New Blitzkrieg is, literally and figuratively, an electronic ‘Lightning War’ so potentially decisive in its effects that an entire civilization could be overthrown in hours.”

Vote November 6. And don’t be an idiot.

Hold NPR Accountable for Ridiculing the Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Threat from North Korea

At 5:10AM ET on 27 April 2017, the Morning Edition program at National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast a segment titled “The North Korean Electromagnetic Pulse Threat, Or Lack Thereof.”  An audio recording of this segment can be found here:   http://www.npr.org/2017/04/27/525833275/the-north-korean-electromagnetic-pulse-threat-or-lack-thereof

The 2 minute 26 second segment was in response to an interview of Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey from 26 April, where Ambassador Woolsey discussed the EMP threat posed by North Korea:  http://www.npr.org/2017/04/26/525675203/former-cia-director-james-woolsey-on-trumps-first-100-days)

In the 27 April broadcast, NPR’s science editor – Geoff Brumfiel – gave prominent treatment to Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.  Mr. Lewis not only dismissed the North Korean EMP threat but ridiculed it by laughing out loud at the comments of a former Director of the CIA discussing a real, present, and existential threat to the nation.

Mr. Lewis, who claims to be a nuclear expert, has been denigrating EMP for the last 6 years.   Aside from his brief time as an intern the Pentagon, he has never served in the DOD or intelligence community and his formal education is in policy studies and philosophy rather than engineering or nuclear weapons design.  Yet NPR’s editors thought it appropriate to champion not only his “analysis” but his obtuse laughter at a sobering subject that is one of the most important of our time.  It is clear by the way Geoff Brumfiel edited this broadcast that he sought to denigrate not only the topic of EMP, but also James Woolsey, the U.S. Military, and the U.S. Congress – since the Ambassador has warned for years about the EMP threat and the DOD and Congress have appropriated billions of dollars to protect America’s strategic forces against it.

Arms control proponents like Mr. Lewis don’t want to admit that EMP is a threat for a number of reasons, chiefly to prevent the U.S. from spending money on missile defense and because to admit that EMP is an issue is to undermine their claim that nuclear weapons are obsolete.  Relying on the electricity that powers the computers on which they type, these people seem to overlook the fact that major electric utility companies have spent millions of dollars to protect their facilities against the very EMP they consider to be harmless.  A second listen at Lewis’ flamboyant laughter makes it clear that, indeed, “ignorance is bliss.”

Evidently, National Public Radio, an organization whose operating expenses are paid in part by the U.S. taxpayer, considers it appropriate to promote ridicule of anyone concerned with the threat from Elecromagnetic Pulse, when the nation’s most informed authorities on EMP consider it to be a real, present, and existential threat to the country and it’s population.

In response to this abject failure in journalism, Center for Security Policy founder and president – Frank J. Gaffney Jr. – recently authored a formal letter to Senator Roy Blunt and Congressmen Tom Coles, who serve on their chambers’ respective Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittees.   This letter calls on these men and these subcommittees to hold NPR accountable for dereliction of its public trust.

We encourage all Americans who are concerned about EMP to join Frank, The Center for Security Policy, and The Secure the Grid Coalition in holding to account National Public Radio.  We encourage you to inform your own elected representatives of this journalistic malfeasance and to confront NPR directly through messages to its Ombudsman and Management by submitting your own comments at the following link:


Let us hope and pray that these actions get the attention of NPR now and that this media outlet doesn’t need to be awakened to the dangers of EMP by having, in the future, to report on loss of American lives following an EMP attack.

According to Mr. Lewis, “this is the favorite nightmare scenario of a small group of dedicated people.”  Well, Mr. Lewis, this group is NOT small, and fortunately for you, it IS dedicated.  Like those in the military who secure your right to speak freely, we’ll keep working to secure the grid that keeps the lights on in your office.

We suggest, though, that you find some academic sobriety and fill it with some better reading material.

     Tommy Waller

     U.S. Marine Veteran

     Director, Special Projects

     Center for Security Policy



Dr. Peter Vincent Pry Highlights America’s Present Failure of Imagination in “The Long Sunday”


Dr. Peter Vincent Pry Highlights America’s Present Failure of Imagination in “The Long Sunday”
(Election Day 2016 – Inauguration Day 2017)

In the opening paragraphs of the 9/11 Commission Report published in the wake of the attacks of September 11th 2001, the term “failure of imagination” is repeated three times. Specifically, “Across the government, there were failures of imagination, policy, capabilities, and management.”

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, Director of the EMP Task Force and the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both congressional advisory boards, has served in the House Armed Services Committee and the CIA. His new book will help policymakers better imagine the most dangerous threat to our survival – nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) – and how our nation’s adversaries have demonstrated capability and intent to use EMP against the U.S. and our allies.

The Long Sunday–Election Day 2016 – Inauguration Day 2017–Nuclear EMP Attack Scenarios warns that the EMP threat is not merely theoretical, but real, and could be upon us as soon as the 74-days between Election Day and Inauguration Day, which period Dr. Pry describes as “The Long Sunday.” The short monograph does not predict that a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack is likely to occur between the national elections on November 8 and the next presidential inauguration on January 20. But it is a sign of just how deeply troubled and unpredictable are the times in which we now live, when almost every day brings another unpleasant surprise, that any or all of the scenarios this report shall describe are entirely plausible.


The “unpleasant surprise” is a high-altitude nuclear EMP attack that could permanently blackout the nation’s electric grid and kill 90 percent of Americans through starvation and societal collapse, warns the Congressional EMP Commission and The Long Sunday.

A true Paul Revere of our generation, Dr. Pry warns that EMP is a threat unique in history, empowering failed states and terrorists to destroy Western Civilization. Ambassador R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence, applauds this warning: “Churchill in the 1930’s stared across the Channel at the growing threat of a Blitzkrieg and condemned his countrymen’s blindness. So too Peter Pry sounds the alarm today, except that those who deny the danger of the North Koreans and others turning toward preparation of an EMP attack make Neville Chamberlain look like George S. Patton.”

The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on a Sunday, when they knew our guard was down. We hope that Dr. Pry’s book will correct the failure of imagination about the existential threat from EMP, and avert an electronic Pearl Harbor against entire nations. We believe the survival of America and our allies depends upon it.

Additional praise for The Long Sunday comes from numerous national security experts, such as the former director of the Defense Nuclear Agency:

“In many ways, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is the single greatest threat America faces. One basic nuclear weapon, detonated in space above the U.S., can destroy much of the nation’s electric power grid, leaving us without electricity for months or years. Without electricity for communications, transportation, food, water, and medical, financial, and management services, millions will perish. Dr. Peter Pry is the nation’s most knowledgeable EMP expert, and his short, readable booklet on EMP should be read by every citizen.”

Robert R. Monroe
Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Former Director, Defense Nuclear Agency”

….and the former Senior U.S. Military Representative to the United Nations:

“I encourage policymakers and defense professionals alike to read the works of Dr. Peter Vincent Pry to gain an important understanding about EMP and how our enemies might use this weapon against our nation and its allies. “The Long Sunday” is the most recent of his excellent works and it demonstrates just how serious a threat we face from EMP. Our nation can’t afford to re-learn the lessons of Sunday 7 December 1941 or 11 September 2001. Dr. Pry shows us just how much we’ve lowered our guard to this threat and what policymakers must do to address it.”

James “Ace” Lyons, Jr.
Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Former Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet
Father of the U.S. Navy’s “Red Cell”

….as well as the Former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative:

“Peter Pry spins a compelling and regrettably all too possible tale of how our entire way of life could come to an abrupt end within a few weeks, without the electricity upon which most Americans depend for their essential life support. Wake up America!”

Ambassador Henry F. “Hank” Cooper,
Chairman, High Frontier
Former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative

Resilient Societies Files Appeal at FERC of Defective Standard For Solar Storms; Electric Utilities Not Required to Spend Ten Cents Per American to Protect Nation

“Ninety percent of utilities are exempted from compliance with the NERC solar storm standard, including operators of 102 nuclear power reactors and all other electricity generation plants.”


Find Docket Filing Here

NASHUA, NH—July 22, 2014—Late on July 21, the Foundation for Resilient Societies filed an administrative appeal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asking its Commissioners to reverse a defective reliability standard that will not protect the nation’s electrical grid against catastrophic solar storms. FERC is the lead federal agency charged with ensuring electric grid reliability and security.
The FERC-approved standard had been written by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), an industry-dominated group selected by FERC to set and enforce electric grid reliability and security standards. Previous FERC studies had indicated that major solar storms are capable of causing long-term blackouts over large regions of the continent.
Under the defective standard, no instrumentation of vulnerable high voltage transformers during solar storms would be required. Instead, grid operators would be “flying blind” as harmful currents vibrate and burn out hard-to-replace equipment. Resilient Societies estimates appropriate protective instrumentation would cost only ten cents per American.
Instead of requiring meters that would allow grid operators to detect harmful currents and proactively shut down vulnerable equipment, the NERC-drafted and FERC-approved standard requires only that electric utilities monitor space weather, have paper plans to protect against solar storms, and document self-determined actions during storms. No practice drills or tests of solar storm protection plans would be required.
In a 2010 report sponsored by FERC, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory concluded that a severe solar storm could leave 130 million Americans without power for several years. In the event of a severe solar storm, Resilient Societies estimates economic losses of $6.4 trillion, in addition to the deaths of millions of Americans. In March 1989, a moderate solar storm blacked out the province of Quebec, Canada, causing economic losses of $2 billion.
Of those voting on the NERC solar storm protection standard before its submission to FERC for final approval, 92% were in favor, an unusually high percentage for NERC-drafted standards. NERC regulates approximately 2,000 electric utilities nationwide. Ninety percent of utilities are exempted from compliance with the NERC solar storm standard, including operators of 102 nuclear power reactors and all other electricity generation plants.
Under the approved standard, electric utilities need to monitor space weather reports from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration but not harmful currents induced in their equipment. Protective plans would be self-determined by the utilities. Utilities would not be required to compare generation plants at risk during solar storms to reserve generation capacity. By complying with the standard, electric utilities would get liability protection from solar storm-caused grid outages.
Foundation for Resilient Societies is a Nashua, New Hampshire based non-profit research group. For interviews, contact William Harris at williamh@resilientsocieties.org, 978-255-2203.

What If All the Lights Go Out?

Californians may be inured to rolling blackouts that cut off their power for hours at a time, but imagine an outage that darkens the entire country — for more than a year. That nightmare scenario could happen if just a handful of crucial, heavy-duty electrical transformers are taken down, according to a confidential federal report disclosed last week by the Wall Street Journal. Federal regulators and the utilities’ trade association were outraged that the report was leaked, but the real outrage is that this vulnerability persists even though policymakers and industry executives have known about it for years.

The transformers at issue raise the voltage of the power generated so it can be transmitted across long distances. The size of overfed dumpsters, they are custom fitted into arrays in utility substations, often industrial or remote areas. Last April, unidentified snipers shot holes in 17 transformers at a Pacific Gas & Electric substation near San Jose, forcing PG&E to scramble to reroute power. The utility averted a blackout, but the attack — which authorities have been investigating as vandalism, not terrorism — highlighted how susceptible substations could be.

Given that there are tens of thousands of substations on the national grid, PG&E’s experience may not seem so alarming. But according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission study disclosed by the Journal, a few dozen of the substations are so important to the flow of energy that knocking out just nine of them would cause a metastasizing blackout that stretched from coast to coast. And replacement transformers for these substations can take more than a year to build, deliver and install, in part because most are made overseas.

Industry officials downplayed the FERC study and said they’ve been preparing for attacks since Sept. 11, 2001, developing a system to share spare transformers. But that’s not very reassuring, considering that heavy-duty transformers aren’t interchangeable. Acting FERC Chairwoman Cheryl A. LaFleur also noted that the commission had just ordered the development of new mandates for keeping “critical” utility assets safe from physical attack.

But why did it take almost a year after snipers used a PG&E substation for target practice, and more than 12 years after the 9/11 terrorists showed their affinity for unconventional assaults, before FERC acted? Instead, the commission left its rules unchanged until the news media reported the previously unheralded PG&E attack. The revelations in February prompted Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and three other Senate Democrats to press FERC to upgrade its regulations for physical security.

Regardless, the commission’s effort to improve security is a welcome development. But as part of that work, FERC should also address the frightening challenges posed by the grid’s reliance on custom-fitted equipment that can take months, if not years, to replace.

Originally posted at the Los Angeles Times