We have all heard about EMP, CMP, Cyber attacks on the electrical grid and computer failures. In the last few days, several things have come to my attention that are relevant to these subjects and at the same time show how much we are dependent on electronic systems. Infrastructure collapses in any of these areas either big or small can affect us.
Yesterday I spoke with a friend whose daughter is having some medical issues. She had a number of tests including a colonoscopy, a upper GI and some blood test and a biopsy. Now normally you would hear back the results within a couple of days. In this case, it has been about 3 weeks and they do not have the results due to the collapse of a computer system. She said that the Doctor does not even know which lab the samples were sent too. Now my friend does not fully understand the problem, but she knows that the test results have disappeared into limbo. They did not have a good backup plan for infrastructure collapses. Now this gives a taste of how large-scale infrastructure collapses would affect the medical community.
Let’s talk about EMP for a moment, On Oct 29, 2015 the White House Office of Science and Technology published its strategic plan to prepare for an extreme weather event in space that could destroy satellites, spacecraft, and vital telecommunications systems. This is a plan that seems to center on developing early warning systems of CMP (a solar storm).
In addition it is my understanding that the Department of Homeland Security, in partnership with the Department of Energy, has been given 120 days (from the strategy plan’s publication date) to develop an “all-hazard Power Outage Incident Annex” that will include steps to respond and recover from an extreme solar surge, if one strikes.
Now I know that some of the power companies are working on various plans to prevent the electrical system from failing due to EMP, CMP or cyber attacks. Some information that I have received shows that they are making some progress. At the same time the Center for Security Policy is very concerned about the potential threats on infrastructure collapse.
My suggestion is to do two things, one assume that we will have infrastructure collapses and prepare accordingly. The best technology of its day did not prevent Pearl Harbor. Two, try not to become too dependent of technology without having a good backup plan for infrastructure collapses.