In “Congress seeks IG probe of radio” (Web, Oct. 4) Bill Gertz highlights aspects of a report produced by the Energy Department and the Electric Power Research Institute. The report concludes that more needs to be done to understand and respond to the electronic magnetic pulse (EMP) threat.
Henry Cooper, a previous director of the Strategic Defense Initiative, the predecessor of the Missile Defense Agency, has been warning successive U.S. administrations of our susceptibility to an EMP burst for more than 20 years. But his sound warnings have been ignored and we remain in a far less secure position as North Korea and Iran march steadily toward full nuclear-warhead capabilities.
A high-altitude nuclear explosion could not only eliminate all satellite communications, it could disrupt control centers for electric power systems and might even destroy the power grid. Cooper’s warnings of these dangers have been ignored for over two decades. What are the chances of the latest report stirring some action from the highest levels of the government?
It has long been recognized that international agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty can delay but were never likely to stop proliferation. There has been ample time for successive administrations to prepare for the situation we now see approaching, but like so many requirements action has been deferred. Even the much-debated nuclear agreement with Iran fulfilled this prediction by not preventing Tehran’s becoming a nuclear power, merely delaying it. Thus, we must conclude that judged by past inaction, the report highlighted by Gertz will be another such warning that will be filed away and forgotten until all hell breaks out.