On Monday, policy and military experts gathered at the Texas Capitol to discuss the importance of hardening the nation’s grid. Today, residents take utilities for granted – when a light switch is flipped up, power is there. A faucet is turned on, and clean water appears. What happens when those capabilities are disrupted? How long can our residents access water and food when electricity is gone? Urgent action is required in order to identify vulnerabilities and high-priority assets, as well as prepare for a catastrophe should one arise.
With welcome remarks from Texas State Senator Bob Hall and Representative Tony Tinderholt, the Summit consisted of two panels: The first on the threat environment facing the United States, and the second on solutions and how Texas can lead the nation.
The first panel included:
- Major David Stuckenburg, USAF (Electromagnetic Defense Task Force, Air University)
- Frank Gaffney (Founder, Center for Security Policy)
- Peter Pry (Executive Director, Task Force on National and Homeland Security)
The second panel included:
- Former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative, Ambassador Hank Cooper;
- Randy White of Jaxon Engineering;
- Tom Brennan of Sol-Ark; and
- James P. Jackson, an energy project developer.
They briefed attendees on preliminary report findings from the Electromagnetic (EM) Defense Task Force. They also discussed how the nation is not prepared for a widespread food shortage in the event of an EM attack, and the projected cost of hardening the nation’s grid.
Lieutenant General Steven L. Kwast, Commander of the Air Education and Training Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, provide keynote remarks. Lt. Gen. Kwast shared three principles to frame the discussion:
- Don’t try to predict the future;
- Allow innovation to thrive and incentivize that innovation; and
- Leadership is critical. Texas has the largest military footprint, the largest National Guard, two excellent public university systems, and a culture of leadership.
As Lieutenant General Kwast stated: History will punish the passive, and bless the bold.
Be a part of the solution, and join the military affairs and/or cybersecurity council to contribute: https://www.sachamber.org/get-involved.