Paul  Weyrich

Graham has made many recommendations which should be implemented to avoid such an attack. (Would that the public now understand the urgency to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear device. Iran already has successfully tested a missile capable of carrying one into the high atmosphere).

Graham asserts that it is essential to pursue intelligence, interdiction, deterrence and defense to discourage an EMP attack. The highest priority is to prevent an attack. Our policies should shape the global environment to reduce incentives to create EMP weapons. We need to make it difficult and dangerous to acquire them.

Graham argues that we need to begin immediately a program to protect critical components of key infrastructures. We must maintain the ability to monitor and evaluate the condition of critical infrastructures. Graham reminds us that the absence of information can make things worse through inaction or incorrect action. Graham points to the blackout of August 13, 2003 as an example of the absence of information leading to inaction. We need to recognize an EMP attack and understand how its effects differ from natural disruptions.

America needs a plan to carry out the systematic recovery of key infrastructures. We must demonstrate the will and ability to recover from any attack. Toward that end we need a special team which frequently reports to Congress. We need to define the responsibilities of the Federal, state and local governments. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) needs to develop a plan for the country in conjunction with local governments and the Pentagon needs a clear plan to keep the Armed Forces functioning in the event of an attack. DHS must establish a senior leadership position with the accountability, authority and appropriate resources to defend against the most serious threats. Graham says that an EMP attack is a credible, potentially catastrophic threat to the United States. He says that the U.S. strategy should balance prevention, preparation, protection and recovery.

The Administration of President George W. Bush has known this for years, yet almost nothing has been done about it. Had he released this report and enforced the panel's recommendations he would be remembered as the President who saved America. Some scientists think the report may be released next month. If so it would behoove Bush to spend his remaining six months in office implementing Graham's recommendations. He cannot begin a moment too soon.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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