CONGRESS TOLD: U.S. LIFE ‘UNSUSTAINABLE’ AFTER EMP
by F. MICHAEL MALOOF
WASHINGTON – Congress today was told that the Department of Homeland Security hasn’t identified an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, event as a serious national security threat to the nation’s grid system even though testimony revealed it could making living in the United States “unsustainable” for 70 to 90 percent of the population.
And the few billion dollars it would cost to harden systems against such an occurrence is hardly the tens of billions or hundreds of billions it could cost to repair the damage.
Brandon Wales, director of the DHS Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center, was unable to give a cost breakdown so that Congress would know how much money needs to be provided by the federal government in view of the tremendous costs of such hardening defenses that the private utilities would incur.
He, along with other witnesses from the federal government, testified on the consequences of either a natural or man-made EMP event on the national grid before the House Homeland Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies.
Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz, who is on the House Armed Services Committee, also testified that the military is highly vulnerable to an EMP event, since it relies some 99 percent on the national grid to accomplish its functions.