WASHINGTON – The U.S. electric grid is a critical component to our nation’s economy and everyday life. While electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) and significant geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs) are characterized as low probability/high impact events, their physical and economic impacts would be substantial. Until recently, there had not been sufficient action to effectively mitigate these threats. On March 26, 2019, the Trump Administration issued Executive Order 13865, “Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses,” to move the federal government toward actionable EMP and GMD mitigation efforts. U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sponsored a bipartisan amendment that was included in the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by the Senate Tuesday that codifies portions of the executive order. In addition, the amendment includes provisions requiring relevant federal agencies to provide congressional stakeholders with valuable information to oversee and support the development of appropriate mitigation solutions.
“Codifying these important requirements will help protect our nation’s critical infrastructure from an array of national security threats, including EMPs, cyberattacks, and natural disasters. It will also provide Congress with the information necessary to assist decision-makers in the development of additional mitigation solutions,” Chairman Johnson said.