By Jen Bawden
June 3rd, 2015
My article was originally published at the Huffington Post.
I am worried, like everyone else, about government spending, unemployment, global economic crises, global warming, etc., but nothing scares me more than this much bigger story that threatens the very existence of global civilization. It’s the elephant of black swans. So much so that I suggested to my three colleagues that we write a letter to President Obama, shown below, about the existential threat to America from a natural or a man-made EMP attack.
I am worried, like everyone else, about government spending, unemployment, global economic crises, global warming, etc., but nothing scares me more than this much bigger story that threatens the very existence of global civilization. It’s the elephant of black swans. So much so that I suggested to my three colleagues that we write a letter to President Obama, shown below, about the existential threat to America from a natural or a manmade EMP attack.
“America is not prepared to be without water, electricity, telephones, computer networks, heating, air conditioning, transportation (cars, subways, buses, airplanes), and banking. All the benefits of our just-in-time economy would come to a deadly halt, including the production of petroleum products, clothing, groceries and medicine. Think about cities without electricity to pump water to their residents.” — excerpt from our letter to President Barack Obama.
Life and our global civilization depends on electricity that provides our electric power, transportation, finance, banking, water and food. Without the ability to recover our critical infrastructure after an EMP catastrophe, billions could die. A single nuclear EMP could make hurricane Sandy or Katrina seem trivial compared to an entire nation blacked out for months or years. The more I learned about this threat, the more shocked and concerned I became. As an entrepreneur in the homeland security sector selling radiation detection units to the U.S. Government, I had a front-row seat to budget cuts, sequestration and had witnessed top new technologies that could save millions of lives thwarted by government bureaucracy.
Because Cheyenne Mountain is EMP hardened, Adm. William Gortney, commander of U.S. Northern Command and NORAD recently announced they are improving the communications and key operations there in Cheyenne Mountain because it’s EMP hardened. Obviously the Pentagon takes this threat seriously but essentially nothing is being done to protect our civil infrastructure upon which the lives of most Americans depend.
At a small event in New York City about four years ago I spoke to Ambassador James Woolsey, former director of Central Intelligence and head of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Clinton, about my fears. I hoped he would tell me not to worry; secret government agencies had everything under control! I went over the facts as I knew them, but instead he confirmed all my fears, that North America was NOT prepared for an EMP from a solar flare or from a terrorist attack. I asked him to do anything in his power to champion this cause because someone needed to obviously move the dial on this issue. He told me he also felt very strongly about this and was going to continue to do everything he could. That is when I really dove in and started getting involved.
Sadly, Washington is so broken and blind that WE THE PEOPLE need to force government and industry to do the right thing. The stagnation is caused mainly because no one below the president in the Executive Branch is in charge of dealing with the issue. I joined the small group of committed scientists, political leaders and activists to help change that.
At The Explorers Club in New York City, Robert Laidley invited me to meet another EMP warrior, Ambassador Henry Cooper, a former Director of the Pentagon’s Strategic Defense Initiative. He is one of the Free World’s foremost experts on missile defense and was former Acquisition Executive for all U.S. missile defense. He served as Chief Negotiator to U.S.-Soviet defense and space arms control talks where he helped negotiate treaties that continue to shape the modern world.
I’d already joined Dr. Peter Pry on the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security. Dr. Peter Vincent Pry has spent his career protecting America from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, serving in the Congressional EMP Commission, The Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee and the CIA. A real life superhero, he has given up everything to work with tiny resources to champion this cause.
Shortly thereafter, Ambassador Cooper, Peter, Robert and myself wrote the following letter to President Obama and persuaded a bipartisan group of knowledgeable policy, political and technological leaders to sign. It was received by his office last week.