President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday ordering federal agencies to take steps to protect the country from potential electromagnetic pulses.
The order calls on federal agencies to coordinate in preparations to prevent and react to an electronic pulse, or EMP, which is a blast of electromagnetic energy that can damage the U.S. electric grid and other infrastructure.
“Today’s Executive Order — the first ever to establish a comprehensive policy to improve resilience to EMPs — is one more example of how the Administration is keeping its promise to always be vigilant against present dangers and future threats,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.
National security adviser John Bolton is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the order, which calls on agencies to identify critical infrastructure and establish ways to protect them from EMPs or help them quickly recover from potential EMP strikes.
The order gives Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen 90 days to list pieces of critical infrastructure that, if disrupted by an EMP, could “reasonably result in catastrophic national or regional effects on public health or safety, economic security, or national security.”
Nielsen is also required to compile a list of critical infrastructure systems that are most vulnerable to the effects of EMPs within a year.
The order directs the secretaries of the Homeland Security, Defense and Energy departments to submit an annual report to the president on how to best make critical infrastructure resilient to EMP attacks.
“EMPs are a threat to our national security and energy security. The Executive Order sends a clear message to adversaries that the United States takes this threat seriously,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in a statement. “As the Sector-Specific Agency for the energy sector, the Department of Energy will work with our Federal and private sector partners to reduce the threats EMP events pose to the Nation.”
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