WASHINGTON, D.C. - On March 26, 2019, President Trump signed an Executive Order (E.O.) establishing the first ever comprehensive whole-of-government policy to build resilience and protect against electromagnetic pulses, or EMPs – temporary electromagnetic signals that can disrupt, degrade, and damage technology and critical infrastructure systems across large areas.
This E.O. directs action to protect key systems, networks, and assets that are most at risk from an EMP in a dynamic threat environment, and will aid in preparedness against EMP events through increased public and private coordination and planning.
“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,” said Energy Secretary Rick Perry. “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.”
The E.O. is aligned with the Administration’s broad efforts to secure our Nation’s critical infrastructure from all threats and hazards, including the National Cyber Strategy; directs Federal agencies to clearly define roles and responsibilities; and increases coordination and information sharing between Federal and non-Federal stakeholders.
The E.O. directs action in five areas to reduce the risk that EMPs pose to U.S. critical technology and infrastructure systems: (1) identify national critical functions and associated priority critical infrastructure at greatest risk from EMPs; (2) improve understanding of EMP effects; (3) evaluate approaches to mitigate the effects of EMPs; (4) strengthen critical infrastructure to withstand the effects of EMPs; and (5) improve national response to EMP events. It also promotes government and private sector innovation, directing the Federal agencies to further the research and development necessary to build the Nation’s resilience to EMP events.
“Reducing the risk of EMPs requires not only increased coordination across government and industry, but also increased innovation,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “DOE’s unique assessment and modeling capabilities and the world-class capabilities and expertise at our National Laboratories has played, and will continue to play, an important role in securing our Nation against this formidable threat.”
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