In New York, EMPact America is leading the discussion about the vulnerability of our power grid in a region that is so vital to the rest of the country when it comes to providing electricity.
The unclassified publication of the 2008 Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack influenced the leadership of private food company Steuben Foods, to form EMPact America. After meeting with local leaders and first responders, EMPact America decided to hold a world-class conference in Niagara Falls on September 8-10, 2009. The Niagara EMP Conference was an unprecedented and historic event that marked the first time leaders of the national security and EMP community spoke directly to the American people to warn them about the EMP threat. The conference was entitled “Permanent Continental Shutdown from Electromagnetic Pulse.” A star-studded list of speakers (all of whom were unpaid, including such prominent national politicians as Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and several members of Congress) and 700+ attendees from around the World (with perspectives that ranged from tactical to strategic) met for the purpose of gaining information, furthering awareness and advocating action to protecting the United States from the effects and aftermath of an EMP event (solar, cyber, and/or nuclear). It was noted many times “our vulnerability may be an invitation to attack.”
As stated by several senior leaders during the Niagara Falls Conference, there is absolutely no excuse for dismissing this threat — it will happen; and no matter what the cause, we must be prepared. Means have been identified to mitigate the effects, and the expenditures to do so are minimal compared to other items currently under consideration; but those with the authority to allocate funding for critical infrastructure protection must be ready and willing to do so immediately. Simultaneously, leaders must be in place and everyone (to include the public) must be made aware of what would be expected of them in the days, months, and years following an event. This is an issue that cannot wait any longer. The threat of “permanent continental shutdown” is not merely a point of interest and debate, but an issue that is absolutely critical to our national security, and indeed, our very survival.