Profile photo of

Meanwhile, CONgress resists hardening the grid at least as steadfastly as they resist repealing Zerocare, or building a border wall.

Sadly, an electrical engineer friend of mine who works for a major electric utility told me that the cost to try to protect the grid from a major EMP is prohibitive. He agrees that it would be 1800s, but they just don’t see a means of adequately doing it. And storing a large number of the huge transformers necessary would be out of the question as well. Separately, I learned a couple of years or so ago that those big transformers weren’t even being made in the U.S. anyway. However, supposedly some company was finally going to start them up in the U.S. at least. Still, transporting those things, and all the other equipment necessary to rebuild the grid, would be nigh unto impossible since virtually everything electronic would have been wiped out anyway – construction equipment, test equipment, communications equipment, you name it. China isn’t that stupid, nor the dreaded RUSSIANS ;-) , but Lil Kim could just possibly pull that off. And I’m not sure Iran would worry too much about the U.S. economy instantly tanking. It’s all very hypothetical, but I don’t see a lot of good outcomes if we’re hit with an EMP, especially.

On the plus side, without going into detail that at least at the time was classified, I got a chance to tour some facilities at Wright Patterson AFB between my junior and senior years in college. We got provisional secret clearances, and some of the things we saw we could not have explained to us fully because we didn’t have top secret clearance. But I think we were told more than they probably should have. It was a curious college student’s dream, in any case. We toured both the laser lab, as well as getting some briefings on satellite imaging. I’ll just say that the resolution they could get on satellite imagery back in the very late 1960s was stunning, at the time. These days, the stories about reading license plates or doing facial recognition at an angle from space do not seem far fetched at all. I’ll leave that at that. As for the laser technology, we were also told about some of the laser weapons being worked on at the time, and what the expectations were for the future – with a fair amount of specificity. Given what we accomplished way back in the late 1950s at the Skunk Works with Kelly Johnson, and actually flying a YF-12 by 1963 (basically the early version of the SR-71), I would not be terribly surprised at almost anything we might have in inventory that most of Congress may not even have a clue about. I’m hopeful that in reality we can take out an incoming ballistic missile with laser technology, and would not be at all surprised if we’re far more protected than we care to let on. But just the same, I remember how the Air Force ordered a large number of production F-12s for Air Defense Command back in the early 60s, but that [sarc/ON] forward looking patriot [sarc/OFF] Robert McNamara cancelled the entire order. So how badly the gummint has screwed up our march forward technologically, is anybody’s guess.

It still comes down to two truisms: death and taxes. We’re assured of both. :-)