Threats to our way of life
“I am very concerned that if we as individuals and families do not know what to do and are not prepared, that every one of us then becomes a ward of the state.” He then asked, “And are we not enormously stronger if we are individually and family wise self-sufficient during an emergency like that?” U.S. Representative Roscoe Bartlett, “Threat Posed by Electromagnetic Pulse Attack” U.S. Armed Services Committee, July 10, 2008, page 28.
There are many natural and man-made threats to the safety and security of the United States that our politicians take seriously and prepares the country for; war, terrorism, chemical, biological and nuclear attack, civil unrest, hurricanes and tornadoes, etc. There is one threat that Congress has known about since researchers of this threat brought it to their attention in 1997, but Congress has failed to react to protect Americans from this threat, which is still true today. That threat is nuclear-based Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attacks on our power grid.
There is also a natural threat very much like an EMP called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) (also known as geomagnetic disturbance (GMD), solar storm, space weather or solar flares) that originate from the sun and disrupts electronics with a huge static electrical power surge, much like a nuclear based EMP.
The CME is believed to be a once in a 100-year event, which we are 7 years overdue. We are currently in a Solar minimum cycle. In Solar minimums, the Suns’ shielding effects on the earth are reduced, which presents a higher likelihood of cosmic disruption due to the earths’ increased exposure to solar cosmic radiation, weakening our magnetic shield, which also could cause life threatening disruption to our power grid, as well as severe weather changes.
Since our federal and state legislators have failed to properly protect the citizens of our country, there needs to be another approach initiated from the grassroots level of our communities. This grassroots initiative is called Continuity of Community, which brings back the concept of civil defense; local citizens working to prepare, respond to and recover from an All-Hazards threat to our communities and our way of life.
The concept of Continuity of Community is a call for a renewed system of community-based civil defense. The original mission of the civil defense system of the 1950’s through 1980’s would not work as well in our modern age as it was singularly focused one one threat, a Soviet nuclear missile attack. We need a more streamlined system, but one robust enough to provide for the care, feeding, safety and security of our homes, neighborhoods and communities.
The call for renewal of the civil defense system in America is not new to the Trump era. In fact, since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there have been multiple calls for a revival of civil defense, the most recent from the 112th Congressional Session of the U.S. House of Representatives in House Resolution 762 Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding community-based civil defense and power generation on August 2, 2012.
There are several threats to the safety and security of the United States today that keep many of those who are aware up at night. The number one threat is an EMP attack. The reason EMP is at the top of the lists of many scientists, military leaders and some in Congress is because it does the most damage to our infrastructure and causes the most deaths long-term. According to some experts’ estimates, if the U.S. were attacked with an EMP weapon that affected the entire country, upwards of 90% of the US population would parish within one year. These potentially several hundreds of millions of deaths would result from poor sanitation, disease, civil unrest, raging fires, starvation, lack of potable drinking water, and many other causes.
To save the most amount Americans we must have a plan. FEMA doesn’t have a plan. The state emergency management agencies don’t have a plan. There most likely isn’t a city or county government in the nation that has a plan. Our big federal government and FEMA’s centralized big government top-down style of emergency management isn’t the answer. Responding after the fact is not a real plan for the type of catastrophic event this threat represents. They won’t even be able to respond to help themselves in their secret bunkers, let alone every city, county and state in America. There is no EMP-based scenario in DHS and FEMA’s National Incident Response plans.
What would a plan look like? The plan would begin with honestly evaluating and thoroughly understanding the potential effects of these threats the community faces and begin the process of preparing for a worst-case scenario. That worst-case scenario, no matter how remote, must be the starting point to begin the planning and training process. A step-by-step plan will guide the efforts to educate, prepare, train, stockpile, and exercise the plan before the actual need arises. All other disaster scenarios along the continuum are scalable and can be met as they are less lethal and destructive to the community, but the preparations for it have already been planned for in the event of the worse-case scenario.
At a minimum a worst-case scenario plan would prepare for:
- Long-term interruption of power
- Long-term interruption of supply chain
- Long-term interruption of essential service
- Collapse of law and order (after first three-plus days)
- Starving and sick refugees arriving from larger urban areas (urban to rural mass migration)
- People will be without heat/AC
- People will be without refrigeration – this includes grocery stores, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies
- People will be without the ability to perform basic functions like cooking and boiling water or providing heat to their homes during cold temperatures causing increased fire dangers
- People will be without basic sanitation and, hence, at risk for diseases
- People may be without transportation – without fuel due to no electrical power for the pumps and no resupply
- Most, if not all, forms of communication will be disrupted
- Food delivery will stop
- Fuel delivery will stop
- Banks will be closed, no cash withdrawals or ATM service
- Delivery of medicine and medical supplies to hospitals, clinics and pharmacies will stop
- Delivery of all products, parts and supplies will stop
- Water service will stop
- Sewer service will stop
- Fire, EMS, Police/Sheriff will not be able to respond (for lack of fuel, personnel and communications)
- The Police/Sheriff will not have the manpower, communications, or transportation to provide security for the community
- Desperate people will resort to looting, burglary, robbery, or any means necessary to get food and water
- It is unlikely that state or federal help “is on the way” anytime soon, no way of knowing
- Many local governments will quickly become ineffective
- Without ATMs there will be a lack of cash for purchasing few available food items
- EBT cards will not work and those receiving them will not have a way to obtain food and other life sustaining supplies
- Even after the restoration of power for a prolonged period there will still be areas within your jurisdiction that will need to be reestablished within the normal standards of civility (Once civility fails, it is often hard to bring it back under control quickly)
- Even if, miraculously, you are in a jurisdiction that is prepared and has a plan to attack the above challenges, look to your nearest urban areas – refugees will soon be forced to flee the cities due to lack of food, medical, and safety. Any plan for a community’s survival will have to address how to humanely handle desperate refugees while protecting your community and maintaining law and order
- Farms and rural homesteads will be targets of gangs and opportunists looking for food and valuables to use as barter. Produce and livestock will be slaughtered and wasted by criminals not knowing how to properly process these resources
- Safety of rural residents will be severely imperiled by a lack of civility and no law enforcement coverage
- City/County borders will have to be monitored and protected
- City/County assets will have to be guarded from looters/criminals (assets include: government buildings and offices, other critical infrastructure, banks and credit unions, grocery stores, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, liquor stores, gas stations, etc.
- After more than a week without food, locals, as well as refugees, will be looking for food at the farms and ranches in the rural parts of the country
- A Major War
- Power Grid
- Solar Flare
- Physical Attack
- Financial Collapse
- Civil Unrest
- Terrorist Attacks
- NBC Attacks
- Severe Weather
The exponential growth of modern technology has made life in the industrialized world much more comfortable. The reliance on electrical gadgets and technology is at an all-time high in America. Without electrical power, the U.S. would not be the economic powerhouse we are today. The national power grid is essential for life and our military defense. However, the electric power grid and power generating facilities are extremely at risk of disruption via EMP attack, cyber-attack or physical attack. The power grid could also face a three-pronged attack using all three methods by terrorists or rogue state actors.
China and the old Soviet attack strategy against the United States was to kill us first with an EMP and kill us second with a nuclear strike. Then they would commence physical attacks, if that was something they wanted to commit to. There is reporting that Iran and North Korea have adopted the old Soviet strategy, but altered it to include EMP, cyber and physical attacks on our power grid by hostile saboteurs possibly prepositioned in our country already. They would begin with a massive cyber campaign targeting our critical infrastructure. Then they would hit us with either a satellite-based nuclear EMP strike, or with sea-based nuclear tipped SCUD missiles from cargo ship in the Gulf of Mexico.
The North Koreans currently have two satellites orbiting over the U.S. twice per day in a North-South trajectory. They could drop one or both of their satellites, if, in fact, they were nuclear capable, to just 72 miles above the center of the United States and detonate it. This would cause a cascading crash and/or instant shutdown of the entire electrical grids of the United States and much of Mexico and Canada.
Or, they could use one of their SCUD missiles with a nuclear warhead launched from a cargo ship off the coast of the United States. There are virtually no defenses in the U.S. inventory that could react quickly enough if the attack was done in a certain way. A nuclear explosion at a height of just 40 to 72 miles above the center United States could send us back into the early 1800’s, before the modern industrialization in America began. Both the Iranians and North Koreans have practiced just this technique. A long-term loss of our power grid would also trigger a financial collapse of the US dollar and economies around the world.
Our critical electric infrastructure is exposed to all the world. From our nuclear power plants, power stations, high-voltage transformer sub-stations, to the power transmission lines we see everywhere are all vulnerable to physical attack. A coordinated attack on multiple components of our exposed power grid could be very damaging to the areas affected, but still could be repaired, over time. But if the damage is extensive enough and the right components destroyed, the grid could be down for many months, even years. It is estimated it would take 12 to 18 months, or longer, to manufacture the replacement parts, transport them from overseas and replace the damaged components to restore our grid, one location at a time. In the meantime, our economy would suffer catastrophic loss and many lives would be lost from the same reasons as an EMP attack.
An incident in 2012 at the Metcalf sub-station in San Jose, California nearly ended in a major catastrophe. Three men with AK47 rifles broke through the meager security fence and strategically positioned themselves around the transformers. They began firing and shut down the transformers, but not before the switching software transferred the power load to another nearby sub-station. If the saboteurs would have been successful with their attack on the sub-station, Silicon Valley would have gone dark until power could have been restored. At least a few experts and military special operators believe this was a dry run attack, or proof of concept. The saboteurs, or “vandals” as they have been called in the media, may have also been observing the response times and techniques of law enforcement and repair personnel, which was very slow. If terrorists were the ones that conducted this criminal attack on the sub-station they now have a much better idea of what to do.
The U.S. is a debt-ridden nation with $20 Trillion of national debt. There are many financial experts and non-financial professionals alike who believe the United States is on the brink of a major financial collapse. And it would be even worse than the financial troubles of 2008. If we would, in fact, have a financial collapse, it would not be as civilized as 2008, or even the last one history remembers as the “Great Depression.” This one would not involve tax money bailing out the banks and Federal Reserve, but everyone’s retirement accounts would be confiscated by the banks. Everyone’s money in 401(k)s, 403(b)s, IRAs, ROTH IRAs, money market accounts, and even possibly savings and checking accounts over a certain amount would be gone with a few key strokes. This is what the industry calls a “bail-in.” They have done this in Greece and other countries in the past few years.
Financial advisory newsletter publishers have been warning of this for at least five years. If everyone’s’ life savings were confiscated in a “bail-in”, the results would be even more devastating to our economy; think Argentina in 2001, but 100 times worse. The financial failures of the Socialist government of Venezuela is a current example of a country in crisis. One would hope the United States would not experience the level of failure of civility Venezuela has. The potential troubles for America during a financial collapse would be very troubling indeed.
Severe natural weather events are common in many areas of the nation. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfire (which can be used as a form of terrorism like in Israel in 2018), etc., cause death and destruction every year. 2017 was an extreme example of this. The Houston area set the example of neighbor helping neighbor, which is what it is all about. It was heartwarming to see the people respond the way they did in a true spirit of civil defense. It really does take a village.
The duty to prepare, organize and respond to help our neighborhoods and communities is every individuals responsibility. A robust civil defense organization is the key for our collective safety and security during disasters and catastrophic times. It worked very successfully during and after World War II, it can work again in our time just as well. A community-based civil defense organization is the answer to the life-changing threats we face today.