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A Nation Forsaken: EMP: The Escalating Threat of an American Catastrophe by F. Michael Maloof

a.      5 hours

b.     Not recommended. While I learned a decent amount about what might happen in an EMP/geomagnetic storm catastrophe, I didn't get the sense that this book was particularly careful or moderate.

c.      What it is:

                                               i.     The book makes the case that an EMP/geomagnetic storm could be devastating for the U.S., that we aren't particularly prepared for it, that we could be more prepared than we are (e.g. by hardening the electric grid and paying more attention to what EMP capabilities other countries have), and that we should get more prepared.

d.     What I got out of it:

                                               i.     It was a good chance to think through what might happen if we lost power for a while, and what it would take to bring it back online. I clearly don't have a detailed understanding of that.

e.      How I chose it:

                                               i.     This was one of a few audiobooks on audible about geomagnetic storms/EMP. I wanted to learn more about geomagnetic storms because they could cause a significant global disruption. I recall that he had worked in government, and that seemed a bit relevant.



RF weapons. It takes passing grades in science and $400 to develop RF weapons. Can be built from stuff found at an electronic store. RF weapons could bring down an aircraft. (Ch 2., 18 min)


A declassified 2005 report outlined Chinese efforts to develop EMP and high-powered microwave weapons. (Ch 4, 42 min)


Which vehicles work? No one really knows. Government tests of a small sample of vehicles. Some disable some, some disable none. (Ch 6, 4 min)


Expected death rate. 313M Americans sent back to a simpler time. Only 10% would survive full year according to one estimate [implausible?]. (Ch 6, end)


Philip E. Coyle III sneered at an "EMP lobby", claimed this stuff was overstated. Suggestion that Coyle was "angling for a job at a left-wing think tank" [?].  (Ch 7, 4 min)


EMP commission suggested we didn't need to be vulnerable. Suggested some components would take a year to get. (Ch 7, 9 min)


Bills have been introduced, but not passed out of committee. HR2195—protection for cyberattack and other stuff. HR4842: called for protection of critical electronic. HR5026: passed House, sent to Senate, not voted on. Protected from cyber and EMP. HR6471: required assessment of other countries' EMP weapons, didn't make it past intelligence committee. HR668: set up procedures for protecting electricial grid, to help survive geomagnetic storm or EMP. says 3% chance of passing at time of writing. (Ch 7, 10 min)


Some liberal opposition to EMP stuff. [I didn't find the evidence of the partisan nature of this issue very compelling.] Institute for Policy Studies disputed the EMP commission findings. People on the right favor doing stuff about this, including Newt Gingrich. Holdrane and Beddington ran an article warning about EMP. (Ch 7, 15 min)


Pentagon agrees EMP and RF weapons could cause major problems, disagree about what to do. Some say outstanding missile defense is shield enough. Richard Lainer said this. Said people would have to develop big rockets in secret ways to do real damage. (Ch 7, 20 min)


Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA): a new weapon with EMP-like effects. [I don't know how big a deal this is.] Its capabilities remain classified. (Ch. 8, 19:00)


He says EMP is not considered a big issue by the DOD, and they aren't making a big deal of it. (Ch. 8, 32 min)


The British Parliament's Defense Committee called for greater protection from geomagnetic storms and EMP, urged hardening of the electric grid. NERC disagrees. (Ch. 9, 10 min)


Unclear how quickly replacement transformers could be delivered. (Ch. 9, 15 min)


If we could protect 10% of the infrastructure, it would really help a lot. We could have EMP protected microgrids for 10% etc. Could protect water supply, hospitals, etc. (Ch. 9, 17 min)