President Trump Keeping Promise On EMP Protection


President Donald Trump on Monday (December 18, 2017) in what may well be remembered as an historic speech describing his new "America First" National Security Strategy, broke new ground by promising to protect U.S. critical infrastructures from "cyber, physical, and electromagnetic attacks."

After 8 years of the Obama Administration ignoring the existential threat posed by electromagnetic pulse (EMP), President Trump deserves the gratitude of his nation for being the first president to include EMP in his National Security Strategy. 

In so doing, President Trump is keeping a promise made in the 2016 Republican Party Platform on which he ran and was elected:

Protection Against an Electromagnetic Pulse: A single nuclear weapon detonated at high altitude over this country would collapse our electrical grid and other critical infrastructures and endanger the lives of millions. With North Korea in possession of nuclear missiles and Iran close to having them, an EMP is no longer a theoretical concern - it is a real threat. Moreover, China and Russia include sabotage as part of their warfare planning. Nonetheless, hundreds of electrical utilities in the United States have not acted to protect themselves from EMP, and they cannot be expected to do so voluntarily since homeland security is a government responsibility. The President, the Congress, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the States, the utilities, and the private sector should work together on an urgent basis to... protect the national grid and encourage states to take the initiative to protect their own grids expeditiously.

The new National Security Strategy acknowledges the importance of protecting U.S. critical infrastructures from "cyber, physical, and electromagnetic attacks":

Critical infrastructure keeps our food fresh, our houses warm, our trade flowing, and our citizens productive and safe. The vulnerability of U.S. critical infrastructure to cyber, physical, and electromagnetic attacks means that adversaries could disrupt military command and control, banking and financial operations, the electrical grid, and means of communication.

Presidential recognition of the EMP threat hopefully will mobilize the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense to give EMP protection of military forces and civilian critical infrastructures high priority.  That protection should include not only hardening key assets against EMP effects-but more robust and layered missile defenses.

President Trump's new National Security Strategy-reversing the Obama Administration's long neglect and weakening of National Missile Defense-promises to:

ENHANCE MISSILE DEFENSE: The United States is deploying a layered missile defense system focused on North Korea and Iran to defend our homeland against missile attacks. This system will include the ability to defeat missile threats prior to launch. Enhanced missile defense is not intended to undermine strategic stability or disrupt longstanding strategic relationships with Russia or China. 

Hopefully, as the Trump Administration liberates itself from the damaging influence of Obama-holdovers opposed to National Missile Defense, the "America First" National Security Strategy may evolve to support space-based missile defense capable of protecting America from all potential adversaries-including Russia and China. 

President Trump understands, even if everyone in his administration does not, that "strategic stability" and "longstanding strategic relationships with Russia or China" are best maintained-not by a policy of mutual vulnerability-but by a policy of "Peace Through Strength."  Protecting the nation from all missile threats and EMP should be the cornerstone of a "Peace Through Strength" policy. 

Toward the goal of EMP protection, President Trump should establish an Executive Agent to manage U.S. national infrastructure protection against the existential EMP threat.  Current institutional authorities and responsibilities-government, industry, regulatory agencies-are fragmented, under-resourced, and unable to protect against foreign hostile EMP threats and natural EMP from solar super-storms.

President Trump himself would be the best Executive Agent for national EMP protection.  He could start by reforming Defense Department dereliction of duty on EMP.  Up to the present, the Department has failed to lead the country in providing for national defense and security from EMP attack:

--Failed to transfer much of its technical capabilities and accomplishments to other agencies of the federal government;

--Failed to use its knowledge to assist and critique activities of other federal agencies, including the intelligence community;

--Failed to declassify EMP environment and effects data and predictions that, while known to U.S. adversaries, are not available to the U.S. public, U.S. infrastructure organizations, and U.S. professional societies that develop specifications and standards for protecting critical national infrastructure;

--Failed to inform the Congress and the public of the present and continuing existential EMP threat to the nation;

--Failed to develop and pursue plans to protect the U.S. from EMP threats.

Last but not least, Obama-holdovers in the Defense Department sabotaged the Congressional EMP Commission and made false assertions causing termination of the Commission in September 2017.  That same month North Korea tested an H-Bomb that Pyongyang describes as capable of "super-powerful EMP attack."  On September 4, 2017, North Korea published "The EMP Might Of Nuclear Weapons" accurately describing a Super-EMP nuclear warhead.

So the inclusion of EMP in the new National Security Strategy comes just in time.  Mr. President, thank you for your leadership!

Dr. William R. Graham, Chairman of the Congressional EMP Commission, White House Science Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, former Administrator of NASA, who was on the defense science team that discovered the EMP phenomenon resulting from the 1962 STARFISH PRIME high-altitude nuclear test.    

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and Director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both Congressional Advisory Boards, and served on the Congressional EMP Commission, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of Apocalypse Unknown: The Struggle To Protect America From An Electromagnetic Pulse Catastrophe and Electric Armageddon, both available from and



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