The Secure the Grid Coalition (STG) recently filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Guard Bureau (NGB). The requests are related to each agencies’ responsibilities under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020. The FOIA requests can be viewed HERE and HERE.
STG has requested any and all documents from the NGB relating to NDAA 2020 Section 1720’s “Report on National Guard and United States Northern Command capacity to meet homeland defense and security incidents.” There does not seem to be any publicly available data on this “report.” Similarly, STG requested “all documents” from DHS relating to NDAA FY2020 Section 1740 on “Electromagnetic Pulses and Geomagnetic Disturbances.” This section of the NDAA requires several reports and briefings on the topic, and no public data has been found on this front. Lastly, STG requested all documentation on NDAA FY2017 Section 1913 on “EMP and GMD Planning, Research and Development, and Protection and Preparedness.”
The lack of information on these NDAA sections should not come as a surprise. On August 17, 2020, DHS released their Program Status Report on electromagnetic pulse (EMP). This report was not only finished five months after the date specified in Executive Order 13865, but the report was lacking any real steps being taken on the federal level to prepare the United States electric grid for the potential of an EMP attack.
In this DHS report, they claimed “There are a number of field demonstration (or pilot) projects planned and underway by both DHS and DOE to assess EMP vulnerability and then deploy, evaluate, and validate EMP mitigation and protection technologies. One such pilot is the San Antonio Electromagnetic Defense Initiative.”
But this is not true, DHS did not initiate the San Antonio Electromagnetic Defense Initiative. DHS “joined the party” once this project was already in full swing, and there is still no concrete data available showing they have taken steps to harden the electric grid.
The Secure the Grid Coalition hopes to get information back from the federal government showing progress has been made on each front to help protect our grid, but given Uncle Sam’s track record, one should not hold their breath.