Texas Grid and U.S. National Security

May 17, 2016

by David A. Grantham, Ph.D.

Chairman Perry and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to submit written comments about the EMP threat to our nation’s electric grids. I am David Grantham, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis. We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization dedicated to developing and promoting private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector.

America’s electric power grid is arguably the most vulnerable part of our nation’s infrastructure. Divided among three geographical regions, the U.S. network remains dangerously exposed to a host of potentially devastating natural disasters and foreign attacks. The May 2016 GAO report “Critical Infrastructure Protection: Federal Efforts to Address Electromagnetic Risks” does well to highlight the potential threats from an EMP and covers the actions already taken based on the recommendations of the 2008 EMP Commission, such as establishing industry standards and federal guidelines. However, the report’s remaining proposals are noticeability broad, which present difficulties for implementation on a national scale.

Instead, the U.S. government could begin by carrying out those recommendations on a smaller scale. And Texas is the place to start.

The Lone Star State finds itself in a unique position to act as the only state with its own, self-contained grid. More importantly, the United States depends on Texas for its national security and defense readiness.

Starting small could not only offer a blueprint for future protection of the much larger Eastern and Western Grids, but secure arguably the most important state for U.S. national defense.

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