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President Obama has issued an executive order to coordinate “efforts to prepare the nation for space weather events.”

Space weather events, which include solar flares, solar energetic particles and geomagnetic disturbances, have the potential, if they are large enough, to significantly damage critical infrastructure on Earth and disable large portions of the electrical power grid.

The result could be catastrophic for America.

And F. Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst in the Defense Department, said the order is a decent first step in preparing for an incapacitated power grid, but it fails to mention the possibility of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack from one of America’s enemies.

“It doesn’t even address the prospect of an EMP from a man-made high-altitude [explosion],” said Maloof, author of “A Nation Forsaken.” “In particular, the Department of Homeland Security still hasn’t issued a National Planning directive that would tell FEMA how to respond to an emergency stemming from an electromagnetic event. Without that order, which is long overdue, local first responders will not be in a position to act promptly or have a plan in place in case of such an event.”

Obama’s executive order was concerned only with natural phenomena, not man-made attacks on the American power grid. An EMP can be either natural or man-made, and scientists have developed nuclear and non-nuclear weapons that utilize the power of an EMP.

Dr. William R. Forstchen, who poured years of research on EMP into his New York Times bestselling novel “One Second After,” warns that a man-made EMP attack would be an ideal way for a foreign power to launch a war.

“The EMP is what could be called a first-strike weapon, or an asymmetrical first strike,” Forstchen told WND. “Taking down the infrastructure of America will be the opening move of a major war. Taking down our information flow is obviously a first move. The Russians have already practiced it several times. Knocking off a person’s electronic infrastructure is just an opening gambit; it’s an opening move.”

Forstchen, a history professor and faculty fellow at Montreat College, noted Obama has had eight years to deal with the EMP threat and is only choosing to take action now, with three months left in his presidency. In fact, a number of provisions in the executive order direct agencies to take a specific action “within 120 days of the date of this order.”

The order was issued Oct. 13, so Obama will be out of office before some components of his plan have to be implemented. Therefore, it is questionable whether they ever will be implemented at all.

Forstchen suspects this order was nothing more than a political ploy to provide cover for Hillary Clinton a month before the election. He pointed out this year’s GOP platform includes planks on infrastructure security, while the Democrats have ignored the issue. Also, Donald Trump is being advised by former CIA Director James Woolsey, a staunch proponent of infrastructure security.

“To me, that’s two plus two equals four,” Forstchen said. “It means that this executive order is nothing more than a political cover to get the Democrats through the election.

“Obama’s been in office for eight years, and now suddenly he’s aware of this threat? Only after the Republicans are now saying in clear statements that infrastructure security is one of the primary issues?”

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Maloof agreed this executive order is likely more about appearances than substance.

“I think Obama’s action, given that it is a few months before his departure, is meant only to check a box – a placeholder – to say he acted on the EMP threat but without showing any results,” Maloof inferred. “With a change of administration, it is questionable whether this or any other executive order to agencies will be applicable, suggesting that these agencies probably will put this order on the backburner.”

Obama’s executive order calls for plenty of research on the sun and space weather. For instance, he directs the secretary of the Interior to “support the research, development, deployment, and operation of capabilities that enhance the understanding of variations of the Earth’s magnetic field associated with solar-terrestrial interactions.”

He directs the secretary of Commerce to “provide timely and accurate operational space weather forecasts, watches, warnings, alerts, and real-time space weather monitoring for the government, civilian, and commercial sectors.”

And he directs the NASA administrator to “implement and support a national research program to understand the sun and its interactions with Earth and the solar system to advance space weather modeling and prediction capabilities applicable to space weather forecasting.”

Forstchen said much of the information Obama seeks is, in fact, already available. While doing research for his book, he spent time at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, where they have a station for monitoring activity on the sun. He noted the U.S. has several satellites whose sole mission is to monitor solar weather.

Furthermore, Forstchen pointed out anyone can go to SpaceWeather.com anytime and get a solar weather report.

And yet, Obama’s order states, “The Federal Government must have… the capability to predict and detect a space weather event.”

“In the president’s executive order, it’s as if he’s creating this stuff for the first time,” Forstchen said. “The ability to monitor the sun’s weather has been there for years.”

Maloof and Forstchen both noted although this is an executive order, Congress will have a say in whether its provisions get funded or not. The order states, near the end, “This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.”

“When you read the executive order, we’re not seeing a call for Congress to allocate funding,” Forstchen said. “These are simply studies of information that’s already in place and has been in place going back 10 to 15 years.”

Forstchen and Maloof both said the logical next step would be for Congress to finally pass the Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act, or SHIELD Act. The bill would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission more power to protect the power grid whenever there is an imminent security threat from an EMP.

Carl Gallups, a nationally known Baptist pastor and radio host, reminded Americans not to rely entirely on the government to protect them from a strike on the electrical grid. He said each individual must take responsibility for their own preparedness and that of their loved ones.

“The bottom line is that we must individually – and corporately, as church families – always be prepared to provide at least the basic necessities of life to our families, and perhaps the community around us in the case of just such an event,” Gallups advised. “My book “Be Thou Prepared” addresses, in detail, preparation for just such an emergency preparation scenario.”

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