Block the Pending Arms Control Folly
What Did Biden Achieve on his Mideast Trip?
New Hope for Defending the Grid?
My frustration with the failure of various "Powers That Be" to protect the electric power grid should have been evident from my Jan. 27 article: When Will "Powers That Be" Protect The Electric Grid?
I was waiting for some positive sign to write a hopeful follow-on article; but alas, there has been no such sign. If anything, recent events suggest the negative trend is, if anything, accelerating as the threat grows and the lethargy continues — perhaps is even growing.
At the Feb. 28 hearing before the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster stated he thought "China poses a greater threat to our freedom than the Soviet Union ever did."
Further, Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. McMaster also noted that this threat was "unprecedented" because "we never gave the Soviet Union the kind of access that we gave to the Chinese Communist Party operatives" under the "fundamentally false assumption that China, having been welcomed into the international order, would play by the rules and that as China prospered, it would liberalize its economy and its form of government."
This observation is particularly important because China has used that access to most, if not all, U.S. institutions that create our most important technological innovations — from our universities to our key private sector and government laboratories. And the CCP has thereby stolen much cutting-edge technology and advanced it with its thus advantaged technical expertise.
For example, we are playing "catch up" to China's hypersonic missile technology that was at our cutting edge during the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) era, abandoned by the Clinton administration in 1993 and revived, but only in limited ways, during the Trump administration. (For example, space-based defenses were and remain ignored.)
Now, China uses its advantage to threaten a mostly undefended America. For example, there are reports that Chinese satellites are gathering intelligence for hypersonic missiles to attack Pearl Harbor.
And the growing threat is not only from China — though China is complicit in helping other adversaries to advance its means to threaten America.
For example, reports of China's collaboration with Iran and Saudi Arabia telegraph not only shrinking U.S. influence in Middle East affairs, but also the increasing capabilities of Iran to threaten the United States with nuclear attack.
These developments led to questions of whether U.S. leaders are ignoring the threat from Iran. Such considerations suggest that Iran is getting close to developing nuclear weapons ... but other observers (including yours truly) have long thought Iran probably already has sufficient nuclear weapon capability to pose an existential threat to the United States via an electromagnet pulse (EMP) attack, as discussed in my Jan. 27 Newsmax article.
As my articles for several years have repeatedly noted, we have long known that Russia, China, North Korea and Iran all include such a high altitude EMP attack in their military plans, should they decide to attack the United States.
That attack would shut down our entire electric power grid for an extended time. The resulting starvation, disease, and societal collapse poses an existential threat to all we hold dear — most Americans would die within months.
Many of our political leaders believe our opponents would never attack us because they believe they would always be deterred by our ability to retaliate afterward with a catastrophic attack — the so-called Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) theory that underpinned our bilateral condition with the former Soviet Union, when it was adopted as the basis for the 1972 Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty ... notably long ago abandoned for good reasons, not the least of which were many Soviet violations.
President Ronald Reagan never bought the MAD idea, and instead believed that we should not base our strategy on advancing our vulnerability. So, on March 23, 1983,— 40 years ago next week, he challenged America's scientists and engineers to develop an alternative to protect America, not just retaliate if we were attacked.
He was ridiculed by much of the political community (and some politically motivated technologists) who labeled his call of innovation as "Star Wars" to suggest it was a fantasy. Instead, he named his objective as the Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI.
As a former SDI director, I would emphasize that contrary to this ridicule, Reagan's SDI not only provided the basis for realizing his objective of providing effective defenses — including against today's hypersonic missile threat — which I believe we would have today if SDI efforts were not abandoned 30-years ago.
SDI also was rightly credited with bringing an end to the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Aug. 3, 1990, told us at SDI's Colorado Springs National Test Facility:
"I firmly believe it was the determination to embark upon the Strategic Defense Initiative and to continue it that convinced the Soviet Union that it could never, never, never achieve their aim by military might because they would never succeed. ... We must always keep our defenses sharp and we must always keep our technology well ahead."
While our existing missile defense capabilities result from President Reagan's SDI, the best of the SDI technologies were abandoned by the Clinton administration and no administration since (Democrat or Republican) has revived it.
So, we have not followed Prime Minister Thatcher's advice and the lethargy continues as others challenge our ability to protect America against today's growing threats.