Ted Koppel has never been one of my favorite news people, as a long time anchor for Nightline; I have always felt that he was part of the liberal media that has so hurt this country. However, he has recently earned a bit of respect from me, because of his new nonfiction book “Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath”.
Ted Koppel who is an investigative reporter investigated the vulnerability of the US power grid to an attack. In Lights Out Koppel makes the case that the U.S. electric grid is extremely vulnerable to collapse due to cyber warfare, EMP attack, or solar flare (CMP). He came to the conclusion that a major attack on America’s power grid is not only possible but also likely. He found that the U.S. Government is completely unprepared due to a variety of economic and political reasons.
Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Millions of people over many states are affected. For those without access to a generator, there is no refrigeration or light. The sewage systems will cease to function. Gasoline is not available and even if it is, your car may not run. Food and medical supplies are running out. Cell phones and electronic devices have ceased to function. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before. If you have read the novel One Second After, Koppel agrees that this is a likely scenario.
Lights Out is organized into three parts. The first part looks into the vulnerability of our power grids to a catastrophic attack. The majority of the experts interviewed by Koppel conceded that someone who has the right skills and knowledge can damage our power grids so that multiple states and their millions of residents can be simultaneously knocked off from the grid for a very long time. This could be a year or more, depending on how quickly replacements for damaged grid components can be manufactured. Many of the large transformers are no longer manufactured in the U.S. and a number are manufactured in China.
Part Two, Lights Out poses the following question : What has our government been doing to deal with this possibility of a catastrophic cyber or other attack on our power grids? While a few in our government seem to be aware of the problem, no one seems to be doing anything to prevent it. “It’s not a question of if,” says Centcom Commander General Lloyd Austin“, it’s a question of when. Koppel makes clear, the federal government, while well prepared for natural disasters, has no plan for the aftermath of an attack on the power grid. FEMA is not prepared to respond to such a attack. Do not expert help from the government when one occurs.
Part Three examines the efforts of individuals and some communities to become self-reliant when it comes to disaster preparedness. In Lights Out he discusses the efforts of the nation’s approximately 3 million preppers and some community and religious organizations. Koppel spent some time in Salt Lake City studying the Mormon Church preparedness plan. Koppel said of his visit to Utah. “Quite literally, you have an organization that is capable of producing food, processing food and transporting food to the degree that it really amounts to an almost governmental-like organization — except more efficient.” He suggested that we could all do some of the basic things that the Mormon’s do, including “establishing a minimum of a two- to three-month supply of food and water, setting aside extra money for an emergency, and building relationships with the community where people could share their skills and resources”.
Now I know that most of you are aware of the problem and are working on preparing yourselves to deal with it when it occurs. But Lights Out may be a good nonfiction book to share with your friends and relations that still have their head buried in the sands. If you look at the right hand side of this page you will see a list of categories. Open the one called EMP and it will take you to everything I have written on this subject. Hopefully this information will help you, your friends and families.