I became involved in the issue of EMP nearly 15 years ago, when I undertook the writing of a novel about the potential impact and after-effects of an EMP strike on the United States. As a trained historian, I started with researching the facts and not just speculations as to what such an attack would do to our country. It was chilling work, leading me more and more toward openly asking why our government was not responding to what is indeed an existential threat to the existence of America. My first book about EMP, One Second After, was released in 2009 and leapt to 12 weeks on the best-seller list. It was surprising how many readers told me they had never even heard of EMP until reading my book.
I naively assumed that in fairly short order the government would finally address the issue at a national level as public awareness increased. America literally had a “Sword of Damocles” suspended over it; nations like North Korea and Iran, by launching a preemptive first strike, could literally bring our nation to its knees in one second.
The 10 years after my book was released were long and frustrating. Several times the House voted to address the threat to our infrastructure and undertake and encourage a “hardening” of our grid against such attacks. All such legislative action disappeared into the gridlock of a Senate committee. Beyond the legislative inaction, I witnessed a presidential administration that actually dismissed the concept. Such actions were a dereliction of their duty to protect and defend the United States from an attack that could result in a casualty rate of upwards of 90 percent in the year after an offensive strike. Such an attack would destroy our nation’s electrical and electronic infrastructure, along with shutting down our transportation grid, communications and food distribution. Those who survived would be thrown back to a 19th century standard of living.
March 26, 2019, should be marked as a historic date, as the White House unveiled an executive order intended to coordinate the federal government’s ability to prepare for and respond to a potentially catastrophic EMP attack.
The order, Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses, states that the federal government will “engage in risk-informed planning” and “prioritize research and development” into EMP protection, response and recovery and will “promote collaboration and facilitate information sharing, including the sharing of threat and vulnerability assessments, among executive departments and agencies” and stakeholders.
At long last we have a president who has willingly taken hold of the threat of an EMP attack and is launching an effort to ensure the protection of America from such a deadly threat.
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