April 14, 2017

"Amid warnings that North Korea and Iran have plans to take out parts of the U.S. electric grid through a cyber attack or atmospheric nuclear blast..."

"... the Pentagon is taking steps to both protect the nation's communications and power lifeline."

Says the Washington Examiner.

52 comments:

MadisonMan said...

It would surprise me if these steps hadn't started a long long time ago. This article seems like click-bait to me.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Should have been done long ago.

Achilles said...

If the Norks can get a nuke to the ionosphere that will be particularly harsh for a very wide area. China is realizing this now that they are the most vulnerable.

Original Mike said...

What a wonderful use of Obama's stimulus spending it would have been to have hardened the nation's power grid.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Professor Reynolds weeps. Instapundit's been talking about this danger for, what, as long as it's been a blog, yeah?

Chance said...

"DARPA's focus is on thwarting a cyber attack, but Pry and Woolsey have also warned that North Korea or Iran could attack the grid with an atmospheric nuclear explosion over the East Coast that will disable the grid and that could end up leading to the death of 90 percent of those in the East."

I'm wondering about the analysis that gets them from a disabled grid to the death of 90% of the East coast.

Michael K said...

"It would surprise me if these steps hadn't started a long long time ago. "

Really ?

Do you think Obama cared about infrastructure of any kind ?

Unknown said...

"We HAVE to stop North Korea! They're led by a pampered, delusional, vengeful fat rich guy with stupid hair and access to nuclear weapons."

Oh!

EDH said...

As I've said before, I adhere to the Frank Pentangeli Doctrine.

MikeR said...

"I'm wondering about the analysis that gets them from a disabled grid to the death of 90% of the East coast." I don't know the particular analysis, but I can picture what would happen to New York City if there were no power for months (which tends to happen in these scenarios). Would food and water continue to make it to the city, and what would the people there do if it couldn't?

traditionalguy said...

OK. War Horses are back in power. But is there a horse gap?

Owen said...

MikeR: "...Would food and water continue to make it to the city, and what would the people there do if it couldn't?"

"Would food and water...?" No.

"what would the people there do...?" Die.

I think there is a 3-day rule. Assume mild temperatures so people are not freezing to death. Assume no wild storms etc. But after 3 days without running water most people will have exhausted their drinking water, toilets will have been useless, conditions are getting pretty uncomfortable. After three days without electricity to keep food cold and run microwaves, toasters, stoves, etc., the available food is getting pretty sketchy. People start to get desperate particularly if there is no news of Help On The Way.

Since the entire grid is down and the rescuers are as screwed as those waiting for rescue, the mood will get dark. And then much, much darker.

Leora said...

I thought Monica's illegal sublet from her 80+ grandmother was pretty plausible. Chandler could afford his apartment because he was a programmer and a trustafarian. Joey was sponging off Chandler. Don't think Phoebe could have afforded her apartment after her grandmother died - especially without a roommate.

Leora said...

My comment above is obviously on the wrong thread.

Original Mike said...

Chance said..."I'm wondering about the analysis that gets them from a disabled grid to the death of 90% of the East coast."

No electricity for much/most of the country for months. No transportation, no refrigeration. What do you think the result would be?

Original Mike said...

Oh yeah, no water either.

Che Dolf said...

Congress established the EMP Commission in 2001. Neither Bush nor Obama did anything to harden the power grid.

Newt Gingrich: We're doomed

Skeptics: No, we're not

Owen said...

This is just a detail but anybody who was counting on electricity to run dialysis machines, ventilators, other critical life-support gear, is going to be SOL pretty quickly. Hospitals have emergency generators which might (might) operate after an EMP pulse, I dunno. Assuming they do, they run until their fuel is gone. And the fuel truck won't be coming. The tanks at the fuel depot use pumps, which run on electricity.

Original Mike said...

In winter, no heat.

Chance said...

Why would cars not work? Couldn't people just travel to areas not effected by the disabled grid?

Original Mike said...

Car electonics would be fried. And there might not be unaffected areas.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Chance said...Why would cars not work? Couldn't people just travel to areas not effected by the disabled grid?

Lotta microchips in that fancy car of yours, Chance. Be a real shame if some massive instantaneous changing magnetic field induced a strong current flow across all of 'em, at once, shorting everything all to hell. A real shame.

The really scary stuff, though, is what happens when the machine tool plants and/or the machines we use to make really massive, important grid equipment gets destroyed. I mean, we can slap together a car or two, no big deal. But how do you rebuild all the big generation and transmission equipment if your plants don't work and the tools/machines you would use to make parts to construct new machines aren't powered...anyway, it's fine, everything's fine; the government's got me on this. Top men.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"that could end up leading to the death of 90 percent of those in the East."

Maybe we should think this through more carefully ...

Mike said...

This is a horrible vulnerability for us and other Western nations. Only TX would have working electricity if the last assessment I read of a mass stack is still relevant. Sure we could all fit in TX but what would we eat?

buwaya said...

"It would surprise me if these steps hadn't started a long long time ago."

They have.

http://www.nerc.com/Pages/default.aspx
One of those USG Quangoes. But this one is strategically necessary.

Security and critical infrastructure hardening is a very large part of this.

Original Mike said...

"But how do you rebuild all the big generation and transmission equipment if your plants don't work and the tools/machines you would use to make parts to construct new machines aren't powered...anyway, it's fine, everything's fine; the government's got me on this. Top men."

I said at the time Obama was pushing through his stimulus: "Fine, you want to spend gobs of money? Build transformers, switching equipment, etc. and preposition them". But that would be a job for burly men. Instead we pissed it away. Putz.

Mike said...

This why I rebuilt a '62 Chevy pick-up with nary a chip in her. Well that and more aesthetic reasons.

All the worrying about Clinate Change! will seem silly if we got no heat nor light nor a/c or phones. Ugly scene man. Ugly!

Michael K said...

Another reason for my daughter to hang onto the 1996 Nissan Pickup I gave her.

Michael K said...

I wonder what it would take to shield generators for emergency power ?

I'm talking about small generators for me.

Original Mike said...

I'm guessing NK or Iran can't do this yet, but it's not long. One or two nukes, that don't even have to be aimed, and the US is gone. Defenses need to be put in place now. Obama blew his chance. Now Trump wants to spend $1T. Protect the damn power grid before its too late.

Original Mike said...

Not much MK, but you're dreaming if you think you'd survive very long in such an environment.

Rusty said...

Michael K said...
"I wonder what it would take to shield generators for emergency power ?"

A faraday cage will protect against an EMP.

Michael K said...

Here is some information about generators and shielding.

madAsHell said...

Do you think Obama cared about infrastructure of any kind ?

In parts of rural Oregon, I did notice in 2010-2011 that suddenly all the backroads had names, and signs. I believe this was part of Obama's stimulus.

So, he's got that working for him.....

David said...

Just when do they plan to do this? Perhaps we should hurry?

mockturtle said...

Mike asks: Sure we could all fit in TX but what would we eat?

Beef, of course. Vegetarians will be SOL.

Apsofacto said...

"Beef, of course. Vegetarians will be SOL."

I'm saddened by these gross stereotypes. We make some pretty good pork here too.

mockturtle said...

I'm saddened by these gross stereotypes. We make some pretty good pork here too.

Indeed you do! :-)

Original Mike said...

"Sure we could all fit in TX but what would we eat?"
"Beef, of course. Vegetarians will be SOL."


I think we're eating liberals. Really.

JPS said...

The scenario where one or three fission-size devices produce an EMP that leads to the death of 90% of people in the affected area is the nuclear equivalent of the belief that anthropogenic global warming will raise sea levels 80 feet by 2100. Can I cobble together a convincing chain of logic, backed by unimpeachable factoids, that gets us there? Sure, but it requires all assumptions to be made in catastrophic worst-case, plus some stolen bases besides.

We should be concerned. We should take steps to mitigate in case the scenario comes to pass. Bill Forstchen is a hell of a storyteller and his warning is valuable. But the more realistic scenario would be for some significant minority of electronics to be fried. Not all, not most. Not unless we're talking about multimegaton H-bombs quite high up. (Note to those knowledgeable about EMP: Yes, I am aware of the different components and how they depend or don't on yield.)

Achilles said...

A short primer on high altitude nuclear explosions and resulting EMP effects.

The radius of the effect will be basically Line of Sight and dependent on altitude. Standard 40km altitude is ~700km radius. If you go higher than that you require higher yield (100+ kt) bombs. 100km altitude will affect 1100ish km.

There are 3 EMP waves: short, medium and long. Short and Long are the main risk. Short to chips, long to overall grid. Long requires bigger yield weapons too. The short EMP is actually more "efficiently" created by the standard atomic bombs NK has.

When it comes right down to it I personally don't think the norks have the capability to wipe out the entire US electrical grid. They would get some pretty big areas if left to their own devices IF they have intercontinental ballistic missiles. I don't think they do so the people who are really sweating it are the people within 1000km of NK.

As it is I am guessing our anti-missile systems are better than we are letting on also. It will suck if they manage to get a missile 40km straight up and detonate it but really only for everyone around them.

Roughcoat said...

Bill Forstchen is a terrible, terrible writer. Laughably bad. I couldn't get through his book: I couldn't stomach his awful writing. He's one of those writers who uses dialogue to advance his story. Dialogue as wooden as a redwood forest. Long and relentlessly tedious. God almighty.

JML said...

None of my guns are electric... put perhaps it is time to invest in a few more thousand rounds of ammo. Just in case.

Michael K said...

Mechanical guns but more ammo.

The Vault Dweller said...

We need to start taking cyber attacks much more seriously. I am not saying treat it as an act of war. But nations need to feel that if they launch or support a cyber attack that affects our commercial structure or utilities, they might be going without power for a couple weeks.


Also I am not getting sidebar ads for Cocoavia. I guess I have tricked the google algorithms in to thinking my interest in Cocoavia was something more than just the litigation.

AllenS said...

No more electricity, then you won't have to put up with Vimax Medan said..., and that's a good thing.

The Vault Dweller said...

oops my above comment about not getting ads for cocoavia should say now getting ads for cocoavia

Rusty said...

First off Lilkim and the mullahs have to lob their nukes(J. Farmer assures me the Iranians have no nukes, so no worries. Go ahead go to the mall. Make a weekend out of it) this far and with reltive accuracy. It will do them no good if they miss and turn out all the lights in Vancouver BC. That would be embarassing. Imagine having to explain THAT to the Central Committee.Now Portland , on the other hand. Whos gonna miss it? Amiright? This. Provided something untoward doesn't occur to stymie their plans. Like say, we interrupt thr proceedings in its booster phase.
The funny thing is China scambling to be the peace maker here. Somebody in the Politbureau suddenly relized that; Hey! This Lilkim asshole is rapidly becoming a liability. We aren't prepared to meet the US head on. Shit. They got, like six aircraft carriers and we got, at the most 3/4 of one. Thier submarines follow ours around like they're wired to their sterns. Goddamn it you guys! Do something!
Anybody know how many submarines are in a task force?
I bet there's quite a few. A boomer or two mebbe.
Lilkim has got hisself some thinkin to do.

tim in vermont said...

Best reason to keep two 1975 Suburans, one for parts.

0_0 said...

Rusty, there are probably 2 fast attacks with a carrier group on the front line. More isn't better.
One SSGN might be in the area, but well detached, for cruise missiles.

General question- why are some here quivering in their shoes and wanting the USA to back down (rethink) over every imaginable threat from despots?

EMP effects are being overstated. So is our recovery ability.

Bad Lieutenant said...

0_0, my main concern is how quickly we can service the legendary (?) ~10,000 presighted, emplaced and concealed artillery tubes and launchers strung out along the DMZ, so as to avoid the immolation of Seoul. The Kims had that deterrent in place before I think the first one died.

What would be an exciting, awe-inspiring, dreadful image is if, in fact, the United States can do something like that, can get enough planes and missiles to deploy enough small, smart munitions in the air at once, get enough detection, enough intelligence to guide most of them onto targets, to snuff all or most of them before they can do their doomsday routine and level South Korea's capital city.

If the United States has the martial capacity to arrange ~10,000 simultaneous PGM explosions across a difficult ~40x40 mile grid in East Asia, and could use this to remove North Korea's blackmail capability , presuming of course that the nuclear program is checked before it is viable, that would be a feat analogous to what was achieved on D-Day.

Rusty said...

0-0
It has been opined in the some of the defense media that N Korean conventional preparedness has fallen into disrepair with the advent of Lilkims obsseion with his nukes. It is believed that full half of the artillary pointed at S. Korea is inoperable due to the lack of maintenance. His conventional forces are poorly fed and ill trained. Used mainly for infrastructure maintenance and farm support. IOWs the rank and file are just going through the motions.