There’s no denying that cyberattacks represent the No. 1 threat to governments, companies and individuals around the world. Experts are predicting we’ll spend trillions globally to counter that threat.
However, there’s another threat to our infrastructure that demands attention. That threat is an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that could lead to extended blackouts for millions of Americans. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article called “The Threat We’re Not Ready For, an EMP from a solar storm or a nuclear device could be catastrophic. Worse yet, we’re nowhere near prepared for it, although the dangers have been known for years.
The Task Force on National and Homeland Security told Congress two years ago that EMPs pose “existential threats that could kill 9 of 10 Americans through starvation, disease, and societal collapse.”
Although special initiatives were created by Congress about eight years ago to address the threat, little has been done. Some of the proposals including upgrading the electric grid at a cost of about $2 billion and developing protections for 5,000 power-generation plants at a cost of $250 million. However, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said those initiatives are stagnant because of bureaucracy.
While the government is struggling to see movement on EMP protections, the private sector also has been taking notice of the serious threats that could result from this type of interference.
During a Data Center World conference a couple of years ago, experts said that those in the data center industry are becoming increasingly aware of the issue, with some implementing EMP-resistant measures in the case of an event.
According to ETS-Lindgren’s Michael Caruso, who is pushing for more regulation for utilities, the threat can no longer be ignored. “The common response is ‘it can’t happen.’ ,” he said “It can and will happen.”