Whither the EMP Commission?

by AMBASSADOR HENRY F. COOPER September 27, 2017

The EMP Commission which has served with distinction since 2002 will be abolished by Congress unless reveresed by the Conferees for National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2018!!! Meanwhile, Congress is leaving town. . . again. . .

Earlier this month, I wrote that North Korea's state news agency KCNA News for the first time reported that the "explosive power" of its hydrogen bomb was "adjustable from ten kilotons to hundreds kiloton [sic.];" and that the weapon was described as a "multi-functional thermonuclear nuke . . which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP [electromagnetic pulse] attack according to strategic goals." Click here for my full September 5th message. 

Since then, rapid and still unfolding events have burst the bubble of many who have irresponsibly claimed and propagated the myth that North Korea was years away from its now obvious status, which has been its goal for decades - and against which our foreign and national security policy leaders have poorly prepared.

Moreover, some deny it still, claiming that North Korea must still show that its now demonstrated H-bomb can be mated to its now demonstrated intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and can reenter the atmosphere with sufficient accuracy to destroy a city by directly attacking it.

Such so-called experts are seemingly oblivious to another North Korean threat, recently made public in officially sanctioned North Korean announcements that a "high altitude super powerful" EMP attack is a "strategic goal."  No particular accuracy is required to execute that existential threat, nor is an ability needed to reenter the atmosphere.

Furthermore, North Korea demonstrated in 2012 and 2016 that it could launch a satellite to approach us from our mostly undefended south - and now, such satelllites can carry a demonstrated nuke to reach that strategic goal . . . 


I urge you to set aside an hour and watch the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), USAF General John Hyten, who last week gave the most well-articulated public assessment that I have seen/heard on the combined threat we now face - and the urgent requirement to get our collective act together.

Watch the above video for the clearest, most sober, most complete discussion of the perspective of the combatant command with the critically important mission of assuring the viability of our nation against all attack corridors.

Go to 28 minutes for General Hyten's assessment that we must go faster in addressing the existing threat than our adversaries are adding to it - and that we have lost the innovative edge we once held, and especially his discussion of General Bennie Schriever and his historic team effort that gave us our first 3-stage Minuteman ICBMs in 5 years from a standing start.

General Schriever was one of my heroes, and became a personal friend in his later years when he gave me welcome advice as I directed President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).

I witnessed his historic achievements when I came was a young Air Force Lieutenant at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, working to assure our Minuteman ICBMs could survive nuclear weapons effects. Our originally deployed ICBMs were vulnerable, a fact we sought to rectify as a national top priority mission. 

I agree with General Hyten that we clearly have lost our way, and our nation's survival depends on rectifying this situation and again to become innovative.

Go to 41 minutes in to hear his discussion of what he called "a very dangerous threat" to which we must be able to respond.  He reported that STRATCOM assets were hardened against the EMP threat, but also correctly observed that our critical civil infrastructure, upon which the nation's very survival depends, is not. 

While he did not so state, the reason for that shortcoming is that Department of Defense (DoD) authorities do not consider protecting our critical civil infrastructure to be their business. 

Then Commander of Northern Command (NORTHCOM) Admiral William Gortney noted several years ago that assuring the viability of the nation's critical civil infrastructure was not his job.  He said his job was to support the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI in executing their mission of protecting the nation from terrorism.

And guess what . . . DHS is not accomplishing this mission; to my best understanding, DHS is still not planning to lead in accomplishing this important job, especially when it comes to the EMP threat to the nation's electric power grid!

There are several thousand utility companies and CoOps that are involved in delivering needed electricity to the American people through a network of generation, distribution and transmission infrastructure.  We need clear thinking and working plans to make this infrastructure viable.

As I testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in May 4, 2017, the Federal Government is dysfunctional, and repairing this situation will require serious involvement of local and state authorities to assure that this issue is dealt with anytime soon.  

Click here and here for my May 9 and 16 discussion of this issue and links to my testimony and of the entire hearing, including important testimony by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich!  

Such incredible dysfunction continues today, and furthermore Congress threatens to add to the most unhelpful issues we confront by not renewing the current EMP Commission, with its original charter.


This action will be considered in the Senate-House Conference on the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018, the NDAA 2018.  The House language would disestablish the existing Commission which has served with distinction and without compensation since 2002 - and establish a new EMP Commission after an extended period of re-organization. 

The House position is a recipe for politicizing this important commission, and the associated delay could not come at a worse time. I understand the Senate proposed language is different, but I do not have it to share. As I wrote in a recent Newsmax article, I hope the product the Conference will conclude something like the following:

"The commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, as described in the FY2001 Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act, Public Law 106-398, Title XIV with all the powers and authorities invested in the EMP Commission under Title XIV, is herby re-established. The nine EMP Commissioners including the EMP Chairman, originally appointed to serve on the EMP Commission are herby re-appointed. Any new Commissioners to fill vacancies on the EMP Commission shall be appointed by the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees.  The Commission shall deliver a report to Congress on threats to the United States from nuclear and non-nuclear EMP attack, natural EMP from solar storms, and other threat vectors to military and civilian critical infrastructures, 18 months from the date that the EMP Comission Chairman certifies that the Commission has received adequate funding, security clearances, and other support commence work."

Click here for my full September 14th Newsmax article that also urges that the new NDAA 2018 stipulate that the reinstated Commission be placed in an appropriate White House office and provided a direct pathway to the president to assure that it can have the greatest effect in correcting the current dysfunctional management of the federal government in managing the nations efforts to assure the viability of our electric power grid and other critical infrastructure.  

No one below the President is currently responsible for this vitally important activity.

Everyone in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and elsewhere still recovering from hurricanes Harvy and Irma - and all, especially Puerto Rico after Maria, understands the consequences of the loss of electricity - especially if there is no outside help from emergency responders, as well could be the case in a major EMP attack.

This urgent matter deserves top priority attention by the Senate and House in finalizing the NDAA 2018.

Bottom Lines

Our leaders have for years ignored the near-term existential threat from North Korea (and Iran) posed by nuclear weapons detonated in space over the United States.  This threat has long existed from North Korea - and finally is being recognized by even the dumbest among us, even as "Rocket Man" is making abundantly clear.

So will the Washington "powers that be" continue to ignore this existential threat reality? Or deal effectively with it?

The key question is, "Do we have the will and time to do so?"

The clearest pending indication of the current political status will be the outcome of the NDAA 2018 Senate House Conference and its consideration of the EMP Commission.

Stay tuned!!!!

What can you do?

Join us in praying for our nation, and for the rebirth of the freedom sought, achieved and passed to us by those who came before us.

Help us to spread our message to the grass roots and to encourage all "powers that be" to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do.

Begin by passing this message to your friends and suggest they visit our webpage www.HighFrontier.org, for more information.  Also, please encourage your sphere of influence to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.

Encourage them to review our past email messages, posted on www.HighFrontier.org, to learn about many details related to the existential man-made and natural EMP threats and how we can protect against them.  I hope you will help us with our urgently needed efforts, which I will be discussing in future messages.

Ambassador Henry F. Cooper is Chairman of High Frontier and a former Acquisition Executive for all U.S. ballistic missile defenses.  He also served in several other senior USG acquisition and policy positions, including as President Reagan's Chief Negotiator at the Geneva Defense and Space Talks with the Soviet Union. He is currently focused on helping local, state and federal authorities protect against the natural and manmade EMP threat by building effective ballistic missile defenses and hardening the electric grid. Otherwise, loss of the electric grid would freeze America's "just in time" economy, leaving most Americans without means for survival.


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