Our Greatest Vulnerability!
The Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen
Secretary of Homeland Security
Madam Secretary Nielsen,
I am writing to express my grave concerns about the vulnerabilities to our Nation’s security that I’ve heard little to nothing about. Specifically, I am deeply worried that not enough attention is being given to the very loose and spotty measures being instituted to secure our Nation’s electric power grid! Any well planned and coordinated attack from a sophisticated and well-equipped adversary could bring America to her knees and lead to utter destruction of our civilization within a matter of days!
Imagine the progression of chaos and destruction that would result from sudden loss of electric power; traffic signals would cease operation, resulting in mass confusion of traffic in all areas affected by a blackout. All commerce would screech to a halt without power to run their computers, telephones, lights and gas pumps. All communications, including those between fire and police, military units and emergency services of every kind would be rendered inoperable. Security systems on businesses and homes would become useless, creating an almost immediate condition of anarchy, as looters and thieves began to victimize and plunder. All food resources would begin to spoil, in home freezers and grocery stores alike. Murders and mayhem would proliferate by the hour as people without guns would find themselves under attack by criminals, while those lucky enough to own firearms would begin to defend themselves, their families and property by shooting those threatening them. Even generators would fail when gasoline dried up.
Darkened and disabled hospitals would become overwhelmed almost immediately by vast numbers of injured seeking medical attention. It is absolutely beyond description the level of total chaos and crime that would rip American cities into an “Armageddon” like condition of complete dysfunction. The tragic effects of a total blackout on America is endless, even in limited regions, and would be a catastrophe beyond imagination! Clearly, under such conditions, a well-trained and highly provisioned enemy could own us in very short order.
I’ve heard some concern expressed about a potential “cyber” attack, and the need to set up pre-emptive defenses against such. I know that Internet use for connections and information feedback are a great convenience to those in control of our electric resources and infrastructure, and there have been many advances in use of the Internet for better management and control of these. However, in light of the advancing levels of hacking sophistication that have recently been revealed, I feel it is imperative that all use of the Internet or even an “Intra-net” by power companies be abandoned ASAP! The vulnerabilities are too high, and compromise of security in this area has the potential of catastrophic damage to large population centers throughout the nation! We must return to more manual/regional methods of operation/control of electric resources. A successful attack resulting in shutdown of only a minimal number of specific locations would minimize loss of life and make damage control much easier and quicker to provide, thus minimizing the far greater disaster which would result from a ‘hit’ on a broader network of electronically connected grid sections.
Removing the ‘connections’ of vast sections of America’s electronic grid is but the first step in securing that vital resource so essential to our civilization. We must also initiate, in cooperation with the many individual and cooperative electric providers, a comprehensive plan to protect specific parts of their systems, such as hydro-electric dams, sub-stations, transmission lines and transformers that remain above ground. Every part of electric networks that can be practically protected by burying them must rapidly be converted to underground. Other parts must be provisioned with strategic barriers and armed human security with electronic surveillance equipment. Such additional security measures to the infrastructure would be very costly, to be sure, and Federal and State governments must partner with electric companies to make these conversions happen. Security for our power grid must become priority number ONE, if America is to survive the insane threats that we face in the world today.
I hope you will begin to make the case to Congress for this critical need to immediately begin planning for an effective defense of our electric facilities before they become the object of attack by those who seek to destroy America! It should be obvious that this is our greatest present vulnerability, and one which cannot remain overlooked any longer.
Respectfully & urgently yours,
Arthur Bruce Robertson
Lake Saint Louis, Mo.