Tag Archives: electromagnetic pulse

US still unprepared for electric armageddon

Originally posted on Newsmax

If you think the coronavirus is frightening, wait until a solar superstorm or electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack blacks-out the national electric grid, collapses the economy and critical infrastructures for food and water, and 9-of-10 Americans die of starvation.

One year ago, President Trump issued his excellent “Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses” (March 26, 2019) responding to 20 years of warnings by the EMP Commission that solar superstorms, or manmade EMP from nuclear or non-nuclear weapons, poses an existential threat to the U.S. and to global electronic civilization.

Mandated by the EMP Executive Order is a progress report to President Trump from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Energy (DOE), and other relevant parts of the U.S. Government due to the White House on March 26, 2020.

My newly published book “The Power and the Light: The Congressional EMP Commission’s War To Save America 2001-2020” (www.amazon.com) is my progress report to the American people on implementation of EMP national preparedness:

—Obama-holdovers and Deep State bureaucrats who are EMP non-experts and have long opposed national EMP preparedness for reasons ideological, political, and personal, not least stupidity, are largely in charge of “implementing” President Trump’s EMP Executive Order.

—The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Standard for natural EMP/GMD is merely 8 volts/kilometer, far too low, and should be at least three times higher (24-30 volts/kilometer).

—The EMP Commission recommended EMP/GMD Standard is over ten times higher: 85 volts/kilometer, so the national grid would survive a worst-case solar storm or the long-wavelength threat (E3 EMP) from nuclear EMP attack.

There is still no FERC approved Standard for E1 EMP, the short-wavelength electromagnetic “shockwave” from a nuclear EMP attack that would do the most damage to most electronics. Protection against E1 EMP (50-100 kilovolts/meter) would also mitigate lesser threats from non-nuclear EMP weapons and system-generated over-voltages from cyber-attacks, physical sabotage, and severe weather like hurricanes.

—The deeply erroneous Obama-era EMP report by the Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee (JAEIC) and the more recent so-called “Tri-Labs EMP Report”, both written by a small number of non-experts parroting each other, continue to circulate misinforming U.S. officials and damaging national security. Both reports are highly classified, apparently to protect them from scrutiny and criticism from real EMP experts, while being invoked to prevent mid-level officials (who lack the clearances) from protecting their assets from EMP.

The EMP Commission wrote a classified rebuttal and recommended the recall of these reports, including in letters to Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coates and DNI Joseph Maguire, which recommendations have been ignored, to the grave harm of our nation.

—The DHS “National EMP Strategy” drafted at the direction of Senator Ron Johnson’s excellent Critical Infrastructure Protection Act underestimates the EMP threat and is deeply flawed.

—Bogus analysis that grossly underestimates natural and nuclear EMP threats by the Electric Power Research Institute, a lobby for the electric power industry masquerading as a think tank, is being funded by DOE and wrongly treated by DHS as analytically sound, even though the EPRI Reports have been critiqued and proven erroneous by the EMP Commission and the USAF Electromagnetic Defense Task Force.

—The rampant incompetence of DHS and DOE is manifest in that they give greater credibility to EPRI non-experts than to the EMP Commission and its Chairman, Dr. William Graham—the foremost EMP expert in the Free World. Chairman Graham also served as President Reagan’s White House Science Advisor, ran NASA, was on the defense science team that discovered the EMP phenomenon, and has been protecting U.S. military systems from EMP since 1963.

—President Trump’s EMP Executive Order responds to the work and recommendations of the EMP Commission, yet U.S. Government implementation of the EMP Executive Order proceeds with almost no involvement or consultation with former EMP Commissioners and staff.

We have seen this movie before, and are living through it now.

20 years ago, in 2001, Operation Dark Winter by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies and Center for Strategic and International Studiers simulated a biological attack on the United States, producing an excellent documentary “Dark Winter” about the wargame, that shocked and galvanized Congress to act.

Legislation and resources were invested, recommendations were supposed to have been implemented, to protect U.S. citizens from catastrophic Biological Warfare (BW).

Yet today, the coronavirus, which is chiefly a psychological threat, is having disastrous economic and societal consequences. What happened to BW preparedness?

For the $2 trillion that will be spent on the coronavirus, we could harden all critical infrastructures against EMP; deploy space-based missile defense Brilliant Pebbles before the end of a second term in office by President Trump; modernize the entire U.S. nuclear deterrent from top to bottom (including new missiles, bombers and submarines; new nuclear weapons; and a completely renovated nuclear scientific-industrial base) and have over $1 trillion to spare.

The strategy of pretending to do something, but really doing nothing, and then throwing money at the threat when it happens, will get millions of Americans killed when there is an EMP.

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.

30 Years After Tiananmen: Is Communist China Crushing the Effort to Secure America’s Electric Grid?

Originally published by The Epoch Times:


Today marks the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Chinese regime’s massacre of student-led, peaceful protesters who called for democracy and open government. In 2019, the hand of the Chinese Communist Party reaches into America, where it supports a lobbying organization that downplays threats to America’s electric grid and opposes stronger security standards.

Retired U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Michael Mabee, a member of the Secure the Grid Coalition, today revealed that the mammoth trade association representing nearly all investor-owned U.S. electric utilities—The Edison Electric Institute (EEI)—includes members that are Chinese state-owned companies. These EEI members have an obligation under Chinese National Intelligence Law to “support, assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work.”

Yesterday, some of the Free World’s foremost experts on the threat of Communist China came together in Washington for a meeting of the “Committee on the Present Danger: China (CPDC)” on the topic “Tiananmen Plus Thirty: The Chinese Communist Party’s Unrestricted Warfare Against Freedom.”

One after another, the CDPC presenters exposed methods by which Communist China is executing the warfighting concept conceived in the late 1990s by two People’s Liberation Army Colonels and published in their book “Unrestricted Warfare.” China expert Roger Robinson referenced a specific passage (p. 191) of the book that postulated a number of critical questions, two of which are immediately applicable to electric grid security:

  • Question 1: “During a war between two countries, during the fighting and killing by two armies, is it necessary to use special means to wage psychological war aimed at soldiers’ families far back in the rear area?”

The Congressional EMP Commission has consistently reported that, indeed, China considers an attack on America’s critical infrastructure a priority.  In its 2017 report titled “Foreign Views of Electromagnetic Pulse Attack,” the Commission pointed out the following writing from Shen Weiguang, a senior Chinese academic military theorist, in his book “The Third World War: Total Information War”:

“As soon as its computer networks come under attack and are destroyed, the country will slip into a state of paralysis and the lives of its people will ground to a halt. Therefore, China should focus on measures to counter computer viruses, nuclear electromagnetic pulse, laser, bunch of particles, and other photoelectric wave weapons and quickly achieve breakthroughs in those technologies in order to equip China without delay with equivalent deterrence that will enable it to stand up to the military powers in the information age and neutralize and check the deterrence of Western powers, including the United States.”

Clearly, the Chinese are interested in protecting their own critical infrastructure and networks against cyber and electromagnetic (EMP) attack so it seems fitting for the United States to seek to do the same.  This leads to the second of the many troubling questions cited in Unrestricted Warfare:

  • Question 2: “Can special funds be set up to exert greater influence on another country’s government and legislature through lobbying?”

If China wanted to influence the United States to under-protect American critical infrastructure, gaining access to EEI would be one effective way of doing this. In 2018, EEI expended $8,109,166 on lobbying, which is supported through its membership dues and is conducted before the U.S. Congress and also the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the government agency that approves electric grid security standards.

Interestingly, EEI’s lobbying activities have included opposing stronger cybersecurity protections for grid infrastructure. In its corporate communications, EEI has downplayed the threat of electromagnetic pulse (EMP). EEI recently argued that the names of companies who violate federal Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards should be withheld from public scrutiny.

Sergeant Major Mabee rightly points out that EEI’s lobbying could benefit the Chinese Communist regime. Chinese agents have already infiltrated the U.S. electric grid, according to disclosures by senior U.S. officials.

The executives and U.S. utility members of EEI should take a close look at the book “Unrestricted Warfare” and then reexamine their membership policy for companies beholden to foreign intelligence services. EEI’s activities should fall on the side of freedom, not pave the way for Communist China to take down America’s electric grid, and with it—our nation.

Tommy Waller is vice president for special projects at the Center for Security Policy. In that capacity, he has been involved in a project called The Secure the Grid Coalition.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Christopher Holton Guest Hosts “Ringside Politics” Radio Show And Is Joined by Other CSP Experts on the Program

The Center’s VP for Outreach Christopher Holton guest hosted the “Ringside Politics” radio program and brought on guests including:

  • CSP Executive Chairman Frank Gaffney
  • CSP President Fred Fleitz
  • CSP VP for Government Relations J. Michael Waller
  • CSP VP of Analysis and Research Clare Lopez
  • CSP VP of Special Projects Tommy Waller
  • Col. Paul “Bubba D” Deckart
  • John Guandolo of Understanding The Threat

Click here to listen to the show

Grid Experts Decry EMP-Deniers’ Special Interest-Generated ‘Junk Science’


For Immediate Release
April 30, 2019

Hamilton Strategies, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102

Grid Experts Decry EMP-Deniers’ Special Interest-Generated ‘Junk Science’

WASHINGTON—Today, what amounts to a lobbying arm of the utilities industry, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) released a so-called “scientific study” that misleadingly and dangerously low-balls the threat posed to the U.S. electric “grid” from enemy-induced or naturally occurring electromagnetic pulses (EMP).

Fortunately, a number of America’s actual experts on the subject—including a former Director of Central Intelligence, experienced engineers and national security practitioners—have stepped forward to debunk the EPRI report as what has been accurately described as “junk science,” reminiscent of past tobacco industry-underwritten efforts to have putatively independent “scientists” disinform the public about the actual dangers of smoking.

This message was powerfully conveyed in a press conference held yesterday on the steps of the State Capitol of Alabama in Montgomery. The event was co-sponsored by the Save the Grid Coalition and the EMP Task Force on Homeland and National Security and moderated by Frank J. Gaffney, executive chairman of the Center for Security Policy, which sponsors the Coalition.

The press conference participants were welcomed by Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, USAF, the host of a four-day meeting at Maxwell Air Force Base of the Electromagnetic Defense Task Force, which drew them and several hundred other leaders to address EMP and other electronic spectrum threats—and President Donald Trump’s executive order directing the military and relevant civilian agencies to mitigate them. The press conference speakers critiqued the EPRI study based on that organization’s previous, discrediting track-record of advocacy, rather than objective research, and on a sneak-preview of the document.

They were: former Clinton Director of Central Intelligence, R. James Woolsey; former staff director of the congressionally mandated EMP Threat Commission, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry; former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, Amb. Henry Cooper; chairman of the Foundation for Resilient Societies, Thomas Popik; author and grid-down consultant, Jonathan Hollerman; executive director of the Alabama chapter of Eagle Forum, Becky Gerritson; and chairman of Eagle Forum’s Terrorism Committee, Commander Theresa Hubbard, USCG (Ret.).

Video of the press conference is available at www.SecuretheGrid.com, and its co-sponsors issued a statement offering several specific critiques of the defective EPRI report including, notably, its:

  • faulty assumptions about the amount of damage nuclear weapon-generated or severe solar storm-induced EMP would cause to transformers, SCADAS and other control systems;
  • reliance on computer modeling, unsupported by experimentation;
  • ignoring abundant data derived by the Pentagon, civilian agencies and government-sponsored studies, including much of it based on such experimentation; and
  • the ominous evidence that enemies of this country have doctrines and capabilitiesthat make EMP attacks anything but the “low-probability” threat that underpinned the EPRI report’s don’t-worry, be-happy effort to minimize it.

To interview a representative of the Secure the Grid Coalition, contact Deborah Hamilton, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, 610.584.1096, ext. 102, or Patrick Benner, ext. 104.  


POTUS v. the Electromagnetic Pulse-Deniers

In June 2015, shortly before Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency, he learned at an event we organized in Iowa that federal bureaucrats and electric utility executives were relentlessly impeding progress on protecting the nation’s most critical of critical infrastructures: our electric “grid.”  He was incredulous and expressed his determination, as president, to knock their heads together and secure the grid.

On March 26th, President Trump did just that – issuing an executive order directing action on countering specifically the threat posed to our grid and the society that utterly depends on it from enemy use of electromagnetic pulses or similar effects from intense solar storms.

Unfortunately, today electric industry obstructionists are unveiling a so-called study by their in-house think tank dismissing such threats. It will be used to defy the President.  He’s right; they’re wrong. Time to really knock heads.

Trump Rose To EMP Challenge, Now Must Fight DC Swamp

Originally published by Newsmax:

President Trump proves once again that he keeps his promises.

When candidate Trump began his race for president in the Iowa Republican caucuses, I briefed him that the greatest and least understood threat to our nation and global electronic civilization is electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

Candidate Trump, astonished that the U.S. government had done nothing to protect the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures, said, “Don’t worry. When I’m elected president, we’ll knock some heads together and fix this.”

Now President Donald Trump deserves the gratitude of every American for his new “Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Threats” signed on March 26, 2019.

It may well be the most significant executive order of any presidency.

And it does, in effect, “knock together the heads” of the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Defense (DOD) and all other relevant U.S. government departments and agencies in a well-crafted masterplan to achieve national EMP preparedness.

The president’s executive order recognizes manmade and natural electromagnetic pulse (EMP) (from the high-altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon or from a solar superstorm) are existential threats to America and the world:

“An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) has the potential to disrupt, degrade, and damage technology and critical infrastructure systems. Human-made or naturally occurring EMPs can affect large geographic areas, disrupting elements critical to the Nation’s security and economic prosperity, and could adversely affect global commerce and stability.”

Crucially, after a quarter-century of warnings by scientists and experts, Mr. Trump is the first president to act decisively against the EMP threat: “The federal government must foster sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective approaches to improving the nation’s resilience to the effects of EMPs.”

The Congressional EMP Commission, officially the Commission to Assess the Threat from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, has been warning for years that manmade or natural EMP could destroy our electronic civilization — killing millions — in reports published in 2004, 2008, and 2017. And before that, beginning in 1995, Congress held the first unclassified hearings sounding the alarm about the then little-known threat from EMP.

In 2008, Dr. William R. Graham, Chairman of the Congressional EMP Commission, testified that an EMP event causing a nationwide blackout lasting one year could kill up to 90 percent of Americans through starvation and societal chaos.

According to the July 2017 “EMP Commission Chairman’s Report” (available on Amazon.com):

“While during the Cold War major efforts were undertaken by the Department of Defense (DoD) to assure that the U.S. national command authority and U.S. strategic forces could survive and operate after an EMP attack, no major efforts were then thought necessary by the national leadership to protect critical national infrastructures, provided that nuclear deterrence was successful.

“With the development of small nuclear arsenals and long-range missiles by small, hostile, potentially irrational countries, including North Korea, the threat of a nuclear EMP attack against the U.S. becomes one of the few ways that such a country could inflict devastating damage to the U.S.”

The chairman’s report concludes, “Therefore, it is critical that the U.S. national leadership address the EMP threat as an immediate, existential issue, and give a high priority to assuring the necessary leadership is engaged and the necessary steps are taken to protect the country from EMP.”

President Trump’s EMP Executive Order seeks to realize the recommendations of the Congressional EMP Commission on a fast timeline, quickly.

It’s an excellent first step toward achieving national EMP preparedness.

Wisely, President Trump’s executive order puts the White House in charge of managing national EMP preparedness, as recommended by the EMP Commission and my book “EMP Manhattan Project” (Amazon.com).

DOE and DHS have been asleep at the wheel for years, doing little or nothing to protect the nation from EMP, so White House leadership on EMP preparedness is urgently necessary.

One of the smartest features of the EMP Executive Order requires that vulnerability of critical infrastructure vital equipment be established through empirical testing in EMP simulators.

DOE, the national labs, and their partners in the electric power industry, like the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI, really an industry lobby masquerading as an objective think tank), have done great injury to national security with junk science reports.

Accounts purportedly proving the national electric grid would be little damaged and quickly recovered from natural or nuclear EMP.

These studies rely on garbage-in-garbage-out computer models grossly underestimating EMP threats.

EPRI’s junk science is knowingly dishonest, since the EMP Commission met with their two EMP non-experts to try correcting their faulty analysis — to no avail.

EPRI’s happy face EMP reports are reminiscent of the cigarette industry’s untrustworthy “independent laboratory assessments,” allegedly proving there is no causal linkage between smoking and lung cancer.

Computer models are no substitute for EMP equipment testing, as last done comprehensively by the Congressional EMP Commission.

Now the battle to make America safe from EMP really begins.

President Trump must now penetrate the obfuscations of lobbyists, the lies of do nothing bureaucrats.

That is, he must keep knocking heads together to achieve the objectives of his excellent EMP Executive Order.

An Executive Order That Must Inspire a Paradigm Shift on EMP

This is Tommy Waller with the Secure The Grid Minute.

This week President Trump issued an Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to EMP. Until now, many in government and private industry have been rewarded for downplaying the threat from EMP and ridiculing those who warned about EMP as “unreasonable” or “apocalyptic.”

This Executive Order builds upon the research of the Free World’s most credible experts – the Congressional EMP Commission – and directs the U.S. Government to take the threat seriously.

Naysayers should be put on notice.  The paradigm has shifted.

Not only does America’s survival depend on those in Government addressing EMP, but now so does their career progression. Let’s pray our civil servants will embrace this sea change and waste no time executing the orders of the Commander in Chief!

Learn more at www.SecureTheGrid.com

North Korea’s Satellites Could Unleash Electromagnetic Pulse Attack

Originally published by Newsmax:

North Korea reportedly is rebuilding its Sohae satellite launch facility, widely interpreted as threatening to resume intercontinental missile development — ignoring the greater immediate threat from North Korea’s satellites and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

Dr. William Graham, EMP Commission Chairman, in “North Korea Nuclear EMP Attack: An Existential Threat,” on Oct. 12, 2017, warned Congress:

“While most analysts are fixated on when in the future North Korea will develop highly reliable intercontinental missiles, guidance systems, and reentry vehicles capable of striking a U.S. city, the threat here and now from EMP is largely ignored. EMP attack does not require an accurate guidance system because the area of effect, having a radius of hundreds or thousands of kilometers, is so large.

“No reentry vehicle is needed because the warhead is detonated at high-altitude, above the atmosphere. Missile reliability matters little because only one missile has to work to make an EMP attack against an entire nation.”

Moreover: ” . . . an EMP attack might be made by a North Korean satellite, right now. A Super-EMP weapon could be relatively small and lightweight, and could fit inside North Korea’s Kwangmyongsong-3 (KMS-3) and Kwangmyongsong-4 (KMS-4) satellites. These two satellites presently orbit over the United States . . . The south polar trajectory of KMS-3 and KMS-4 evades U.S. Ballistic Missile Early Warning Radars and National Missile Defenses, resembling a Russian secret weapon developed during the Cold War, called the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) that would have used a nuclear-armed satellite to make a surprise EMP attack on the United States.”

The Congressional EMP Commission Chairman’s Report (available from Amazon.com) in “Are North Korea’s Satellites An EMP Threat?” answers affirmatively, noting technology transfer from Russia to North Korea of Super-EMP weapon technology:

“They said North Korea could test a Super-EMP weapon ‘in a few years.’ The 2006 and subsequent low-yield tests do not appear to have been failures because North Korea proceeded with weaponization.

“In 1997, Andrey Kokoshin, then Russia’s First Deputy Defense Minister, stated Russia was deploying a new generation of advanced nuclear weapons ‘that have no counterparts in the world’ including EMP weapons and ‘ultra-small warheads weighing less than 90 kilograms.’ Such weapons would be small enough for North Korea’s satellites.”

Ambassador Henry Cooper, former Director of the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative, and a preeminent expert on missile defenses and space weapons, has written numerous articles warning about the potential North Korean EMP threat from their satellites:

North Korea…could use its demonstrated satellite launcher to carry a nuclear weapon over the South Polar region and detonate it . . . over the United States to create a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) . . . The result could be to shut down the U.S. electric power grid for an indefinite period, leading to the death within a year of up to 90 percent of all Americans — as the EMP Commission testified over eight years ago. (Sept. 20, 2016)

Former NASA rocket scientist James Oberg visited North Korea’s Sohae space launch base, witnessed elaborate measures undertaken to conceal space launch payloads, and in a 2017 article warned North Korea’s satellites pose an EMP threat.

North Korea tells the world its satellites are for peaceful scientific research. But the Sohae satellite launch facility is run by North Korea’s military, subordinate to their strategic rocket forces. Sohae during the 2013 crisis over Pyongyang’s third illegal nuclear test was “mobilized” along with other strategic missile forces.

North Korea acts as if its satellites are their greatest military asset. In 2016, amidst threats to make nuclear strikes and punish the U.S. for economic sanctions, North Korea launched their KSM-4 satellite.

In 2017, Kim Jong-un threatened to reduce the United States to “ashes” with “nuclear thunderbolts” and threatened to retaliate for U.S. economic sanctions and military pressure by “ordering officials and scientists to complete preparations for a satellite launch as soon as possible.”

North Korean press asserts readiness for “any form of war” and includes their satellite with “strengthening of the nuclear deterrent and legitimate artificial satellite launch, which are our fair and square self-defensive choice.”

Moreover, “The nuclear [weapons] we possess are, precisely, the country’s sovereignty, right to live, and dignity. Our satellite that cleaves through space is the proud sign that unfolds the future of the most powerful state in the world.” North Korea makes “constant preparations so that we can fire the nuclear warheads, which have been deployed for actual warfare for the sake of national defense, at any moment!”

In September of 2017, North Korea apparently tested an H-Bomb they described as capable of “super-powerful EMP attack” and published a technical report accurately describing Super-EMP weapons.

Yet on Feb. 27, 2019, in a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Brian Harrell, Department of Homeland Security’s director for infrastructure security, asserted: “The [intelligence community] currently has no specific, credible information indicating there is an imminent threat to critical infrastructure from an EMP attack.”

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., to his great credit, said he’ll push for mandatory federal regulations protecting the nation’s electrical infrastructures from EMP.

Mr. President, drain the swamp in your intelligence community, help Senator Johnson, and send Kim Jong-un a message by shooting down his satellites!

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.

Tommy Waller: U.S. Power Grid Vulnerable to Everything from EMP Bombs to Rifle Bullets

Originally posted by Breitbart:

President of Special Projects for the Center for Security Policy Tommy Waller joined SiriusXM host Amanda House on Breitbart News Sunday to discuss the vulnerability of America’s power grid to sabotage.

Waller described the grid as “essentially the largest, most complicated machine ever developed by humans.”

“What it consists of is all of the assets that either generate electricity, transmit that electricity across distances, and then distribute it to the users that need it,” he said.

With over 300 million users, the complex American power grid is “the foundation upon which all of our critical infrastructures function,” and Waller cautioned it has several components that are particularly vulnerable to sabotage.

“One of them are these extra-high-voltage transformers, EHV transformers,” he said. “In order for electricity to be transmitted over a long distance, they have to step the voltage up. At the end of that transfer, they have to step the voltage down.”

“Those transformers are essentially irreplaceable. It takes about 18 months to build them. They’re custom-built, almost exclusively overseas. We have roughly 2,000 of these EHV transformers around the country and most of them are completely unprotected,” he said.

Waller said another vulnerability is presented by the SCADA controls, the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition computers that allow the grid to function.

“Without the SCADAs to run the grid, you could of course have an upset. You could have some limited damage. But the transformers – without those transformers in our current grid infrastructure, if those were to go away, you would have a loss of electricity for a very, very long time,” he said.

Waller clarified that sabotage, which could involve methods as crude as physically wrecking the transformers with simple weapons or explosives, could compromise the power grid for much longer than the days or weeks of power loss associated with hurricanes and other natural events.

“A study done by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that just the right nine substations attacked in the United States – if someone just with rifles attacked the right nine substations – the cascading failures and power outages could put us in a blackout that could last about 18 months,” he reported.

Waller said the most catastrophic possible attack would be conducted with an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon, or possibly a natural phenomenon that duplicates the effects of one. He explained the EMP phenomenon was first discovered when the United States began conducting nuclear bomb tests outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, an altitude of about 30 kilometers or higher. The strength of the electromagnetic pulse released by a nuclear blast outside of the atmosphere stunned the researchers who discovered it.

“What happens when a nuclear weapon detonates at that altitude is, there’s three series of pulses. One, the E1 pulse, happens within a manner of nanoseconds. Every electron is stripped off of every atom and travels towards Earth in a manner of nanoseconds,” he explained.

“That E1 pulse can couple into really, really small conductors in electronics, so the computers that we operate everything in our lives with – our cell phones, if they are plugged in, chances are they will get fried. The vehicles that we drive, many of them could fail to function because of that E1 pulse,” he said.

“Within a fraction of a second, that E1 pulse is followed by E2, which is much like natural lightning – but just imagine natural lightning that takes place at one point, this would be over a widespread area,” he continued.

This would be followed by the E3 pulse, a wave of energy released as the nuclear explosion interacts with the Earth’s magnetosphere, much as the aurora borealis is created by much less violent shifts in the magnetosphere or solar storms cause relatively mild magnetic disruptions when the energy they release reaches our planet.

Waller explained the E3 pulse from a nuclear EMP strike would not inflict as much damage on electronics as the E1 pulse did, but it would have catastrophic effects on the long conductors found in our power grid and communications networks, from power transmission lines to fiber optics. The resulting power surge through the grid could destroy devices connected to it, including the computers and transformers vital to grid operation.

Waller warned that all of America’s potential adversaries understand the vulnerabilities of our power grid and view attacking it as “the best method to take us down,” in line with the advice given by ancient strategist Sun Tzu to subdue enemies without fighting them.

“This is a phenomenon that’s been studied for decades by the federal government,” he said. “There are hundreds of reports, unclassified and classified, that both say that an EMP attack on America could black out the nation for years and result in up to 90 percent of our population dying.”

Waller said electromagnetic warfare plans can be found in the cyber warfare doctrine of adversary nations like Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

“These are countries that practice this sort of thing. They even practice protecting their own grids. Unfortunately, we’ve done very little of that in our own nation,” he said.

Waller said the U.S. government has largely “failed” to prepare for attacks on the power grid, although he applauded movement toward identifying the scope of the problem under the Trump administration.

“It was just incredible, for years and years and years, you wouldn’t even hear government bureaucrats use those three acronyms – like they were scared to say it. We understand the president right now is working on an executive order on EMP, which could be a momentous accomplishment, if he’s able to author such an executive order and it’s able to be executed,” he said.

Waller called for an effort on the scale of the Manhattan Project to address the vulnerability of the power grid, warning that the threat is not science fiction and even the low-end estimates for fatalities from a major EMP strike on the United States assume two-thirds of the population would be killed.

“If you didn’t have electricity, what could you do?” he asked. “How would you live? How would your family live?”

Waller recommended the work of the Secure the Grid Coalition, an initiative spearheaded by the Center for Security Policy that is working to get federal, state, and local governments to address the threat.

“The Manhattan Project, they didn’t seek to create a nuclear warfighting strategy or a nuclear triad. They just wanted a bomb,” he observed. “They made two bombs and they both worked. What we need is a Manhattan Project-style effort to just get one city, one state secure, and then that will inspire the change throughout the rest of the country.”