WASHINGTON DC — The Department of Homeland Security last released status report from the Electromagnetic Pulse [EMP] Program, which documents the government’s progress in better defending itself from foreign attacks that could affect or damage our country’s critical infrastructure.
The report is an update from the Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses executive order, signed back in March of 2019, which works to raise security standards of the country’s critical infrastructure, specifically our power grid. An EMP attack could have potentially devastating affects on the nation’s security and economy.
“An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) has the potential to disrupt, degrade, and damage technology and critical infrastructure systems,” the order, E.O. 13865, states. “Human-made or naturally occurring EMPs can affect large geographic areas, disrupting elements critical to the Nation’s security and economic prosperity, and could adversely affect global commerce and stability. The federal government must foster sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective approaches to improving the Nation’s resilience to the effects of EMPs.”
The DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency [CISA] in coordination with the Science and Technology Directorate [S&T] and the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] have been working to identify vulnerabilities solutions to defend infrastructure that would be most at risk in the event of an EMP attack, the DHS said.
The report says that the agencies have been working on creating EMP mitigation programs, such as one such program mentioned in the report called “The San Antonio Electromagnetic Defense Initiative” which is testing how an entire region can defend itself from an EMP attack.
“EMP attacks are part of the emerging threats against our nation and demand a response,” said Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli in a press release. “That is why DHS is taking these contingencies very seriously, working diligently to mitigate our risks and equipping our state and local partners with the resources they need to do the same. We’ve made significant progress and look forward to the work ahead.”
“As the Nation’s risk advisor, one of CISA’s priorities is understanding and mitigating threats associated with EMPs,” said CISA Director Chris Krebs in the release. “Over the past year, we have worked with interagency and industry partners to identify the footprint and effects of EMP threats across our National Critical Functions, and are developing sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective approaches to improving the Nation’s resilience to EMPs.”