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house Bill H.R. 1073

Developing a Strategy for Protecting Infrastructure from Electromagnetic Pulses

Argument in favor

An EMP could have catastrophic consequences for the American homeland and very little is being done to mitigate that threat. Coming up with a strategy is the logical first step in taking action.

Sandra's Opinion
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11/16/2015
Simply put. WHY haven't they done it ALREADY?!!
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Anthony's Opinion
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11/16/2015
An EMP has the power to send the United States back to the 1800s; that combined with our technologically depended systems of management, and our loose, liberal, system of government, the Federal Government may find itself incapable of regaining control of its holdings fast enough to regroup, reorganize, and fend off any possible invaders coming into a, then, disabled United States. Personally, I love our loose, liberal, government system, and the Freedoms and Rights I have under it, and I am willing to support measures to ensure that that system is well defended against secession and/or collapse, as whatever system would follow, would surely be the greater of the two evils.
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Joseph's Opinion
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09/16/2016
Our entire society is now on electronic platforms. If an enemy could disrupt that our economy and many other things are put into jeopardy.
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Argument opposed

While a strategy to deal with the threat of EMPs could be useful, Congress would still have to come up with a plan to spend money on implementing DHS’ plan once it is developed.

Jim2423's Opinion
···
11/15/2015
Congress could help with funds but that is about it. Can't count on them for much. So let us as individuals do the most first.
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Josh's Opinion
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09/16/2016
Taxpayers shouldn't pay for this, the electric companies should.
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John's Opinion
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01/13/2016
Yes but not at the cost of the taxpayers Electric companies are corporations and make a profit this should be an issue for them. Why spend taxpayers money to improve a system that these companies have neglected only for the sake of profits. This bill is a wolf in sheep clothing putting the cost of updates to a system that billions of profits have been taken. Why let these corporations keep profits instead of fix the very means of their businesses.
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What is House Bill H.R. 1073?

This bill would provide guidance to the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) in planning to mitigate the threat of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to the electrical grid and other aspects of national security. An EMP could be caused by an act of terrorism, such as the detonation of a nuclear weapon at altitude, or through geomagnetic activity such as solar flares.

DHS would be directed to include the threat of EMP events in its national planning scenarios, and conduct outreach with owners and operators of critical infrastructure, emergency planners, and emergency responders of the threat EMPs pose.

Additionally, DHS would be directed to conduct research and development to mitigate the consequences of EMP events, including:

  • An objective scientific analysis of the risks to critical infrastructures from a range of EMP events.

  • Determination of the critical national security assets and vital civic utilities and infrastructure that are at risk from EMP events.

  • An evaluation of emergency planning and response technologies to address the findings and recommendations of experts from the Commission "to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack."

  • An analysis of available technology options to improve the resilience of critical infrastructure to EMP.

  • The restoration and recovery capabilities of critical infrastructure under differing levels of damage and disruption from EMP events.

Within its intelligence and analysis responsibilities, DHS would assess infrastructure protection and provide congressional committees with:

  • A recommended strategy to protect and prepare the critical infrastructure of the American homeland against EMP events;

  • Biennial updates on the status of the strategy.

Within 180 days of this bill’s passage, DHS would be required to report to Congress on its progress in meeting its requirements, and provide an estimated completion date.

Impact

The owners and operators of critical infrastructure, emergency planners, emergency responders, congressional committees and Congress, and DHS.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1073

The CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would not significantly impact spending as DHS is already carrying out similar activities.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) cited the urgency needed to put in place protections for the electrical grid from disruptions caused by EMPs:

“Anyone who understands how critical our power grid has become in modern America to feeding our families or keeping our children warm will understand why this act is so crucially important. The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act will enhance DHS threat assessments for geomagnetic disturbances and electromagnetic pulse blackouts which will enable practical steps to protect the vital electric grid that serves America and her critical financial, agricultural, medical and emergency response capabilities and many other critical systems.”

The House Homeland Security Committee passed this legislation by voice vote, and it currently has 19 cosponsors in the House.


Of Note: An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is basically a short burst of electromagnetic energy that can be manufactured by a person, or caused naturally. National security planners are concerned with the prospect of EMPs because of their ability to destroy electronic infrastructure — like cars, phones, computers, water and sewage systems.

An EMP could be sent Earth’s way by a solar flare, which would be the most catastrophic natural cause of an EMP. Just recently a large sunspot that had been spewing solar flares had the potential to send some towards Earth, but it stopped while our planet was directly in its path. Typically solar flares are relatively harmless, or cause small scale interference with satellites, but the potential for significant impacts exists.

A nuclear EMP could also be triggered by detonating a nuclear weapon several hundred miles above the Earth’s surface above a target area. The Federation of American Scientists have researched the implications of an EMP attack on the U.S. and found that a nuclear weapon detonated over Kansas at the right altitude would affect the entire continental U.S.

The U.S. government has recognized the need to begin to harden the electric grid in order to mitigate against an EMP, and state governments are urging cooperation with utility companies to take the steps necessary to prevent the grid from going down due to an EMP. But as of August 2014


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user david_shankbone)

AKA

CIPA

Official Title

To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to secure critical infrastructure against electromagnetic threats, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed November 16th, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedFebruary 25th, 2015

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    Simply put. WHY haven't they done it ALREADY?!!
    Like (41)
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    Congress could help with funds but that is about it. Can't count on them for much. So let us as individuals do the most first.
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    An EMP has the power to send the United States back to the 1800s; that combined with our technologically depended systems of management, and our loose, liberal, system of government, the Federal Government may find itself incapable of regaining control of its holdings fast enough to regroup, reorganize, and fend off any possible invaders coming into a, then, disabled United States. Personally, I love our loose, liberal, government system, and the Freedoms and Rights I have under it, and I am willing to support measures to ensure that that system is well defended against secession and/or collapse, as whatever system would follow, would surely be the greater of the two evils.
    Like (23)
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    Our entire society is now on electronic platforms. If an enemy could disrupt that our economy and many other things are put into jeopardy.
    Like (9)
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    Another project the overfunded under managed DHS should have addressed. Here's a thought, contact DOD, I am fairly confident they have a plan!
    Like (7)
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    EMP attacks have been possible for decades. Ridiculous that Gov't is just now beginning to think about addressing it.
    Like (6)
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    It seems to me that this should have been done years ago. Forget an enemy attack and think about the sun. It's happened before and it will happen again. But this time it could have very serious and expensive results. So I say do it now.
    Like (5)
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    The world lives and breathes on a power grid. Overwhelming solar flares are as absolute an inevitability as any other natural disaster. To ignore this fact is foolish and maliciously irresponsible.
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    Good job for the private sector.
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    In an age which revolves around technology, a defense against electromagnetic pulse bombs should be implemented to deter possible threats, and provide a plan in case an attack is successful. An EMP has the possibility to send the United States into turmoil, and steps need to be taken in order to ensure domestic stability and protection.
    Like (4)
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    Small EMPs are not exceedingly difficult to build and they're a real threat to infrastructure as they can fry any tech in their vicinity.
    Like (4)
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    If we don't do anything soon and the sun sends a massive EMP our way we will all loose internet, TV, radio, etc. It will be the dark ages and we will have do start from scratch
    Like (4)
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    This should have been done years ago! There are so many issues that Will stem... We shouldn't be building roads or buildings in countries that Do Not Want our ideas or our Presence, while the American people are heading to AMERIGEDDON!!!!!
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    While it might be difficult to fund this, I can't imagine the private sector being unhappy having to pitch in, seeing as they're the ones directly affected if something was to go wrong
    Like (4)
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    Taxpayers shouldn't pay for this, the electric companies should.
    Like (4)
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    Yes but not at the cost of the taxpayers Electric companies are corporations and make a profit this should be an issue for them. Why spend taxpayers money to improve a system that these companies have neglected only for the sake of profits. This bill is a wolf in sheep clothing putting the cost of updates to a system that billions of profits have been taken. Why let these corporations keep profits instead of fix the very means of their businesses.
    Like (4)
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    The fact that a blast from the sun is inevitable. Yes.
    Like (3)
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    There is wisdom in planning for the worst, especially when protecting the energy grid.
    Like (3)
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    This should be a MAJOR priority in our country. The repercussions of an EMP attack are too scary to contemplate.
    Like (3)
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    EMP is a threat to our electric grid, or financial markets,and our transportation.
    Like (2)
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