After years of ignoring the very real threat of an electromagnetic pulse weapon (EMP), the US House Committee on Homeland Security recently passed the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act. Like most government programs, it is best known by its acronym (“CIPA”). CIPA is an important first step, but its a baby step and does nothing to immediately address the threat of an EMP weapon. At least its getting attention in Congress.
Representative Trent Franks of Arizona was the sponsor and Representative Pete Sessions of Texas was the only co-sponsor which says a lot about the lack of interest from others in the House. Regardless, its a positive step, but has a long way to go toward becoming a law and even longer way to being put into action in a meaningful way. It wasn’t a very controversial bill in the committee, but now it will be competing with other bills before Congress that are considered more pressing. However, Representative Franks feels it is of critical importance.
In this article, Representative Franks states he believes an EMP weapon is “the most dangerous short term national security threat that we face.” Strong words, and very true. As my readers know, and anyone who has read “One Second After” by Dr. William Forstchen, an EMP detonation could send any nation state that is highly dependent upon electricity back to the dark ages. The fact is, the more technologically advanced a nation becomes, the greater the risk of a disruption to that technology, and an EMP is one of several such threats. A cyber attack on critical infrastructure could be just as damaging, and even easier to pull off. A Coronal Mass Ejection from the Sun could have a similar effect, so it isn’t just a man made threat, but a natural one as well. According to Representative Franks, Iran has apparently adopted the use of an EMP into its “Passive Defense” plans as a way to overwhelm a much more powerful military opponent such as the United States.
So we applaud Representative Franks for stepping up and getting some action on this subject. Now its up to Congress to enact it, appropriate funds, and then set up the inevitable bureaucracy that will be tasked with overseeing its implementation. In the meantime, we need to enact our own EMP protection plan for our personal electronic devices and pray we never have to use them.
You can read the bill here.