A US Senator's Perspective on the Importance of EMP and High-Impact Threat Planning and Protection

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    • 00:26

      CHARLES MANTO: We're very honored todayto have Senator Johnson who will give us some openingremarks in just a moment about this wonderful new CriticalInfrastructure Protection Act and other thingsthat he may want to care to talk to us about.But I want to take a moment to introduce the person whowill introduce him.As you know, we're here at the DuPont Summit.And the DuPont Summit is organized

    • 00:47

      CHARLES MANTO [continued]: by all those organizations that are basically universitieswith public policy departments, the Policy studiesOrganization.And one of the big sponsors of this groupis the American Public University System.And Dr. Boston has been a key leader in this organization.He not only brought them through the process of accreditation.

    • 01:09

      CHARLES MANTO [continued]: They now have well over 100,000 students.They're one of the premier online organizationsin the world.We're working with their library folksto make certain that we can synchronizethe for official use only librarythat InfraGard members who are cleared by the FBIcan use and all the Homeland Security kinds of things

    • 01:29

      CHARLES MANTO [continued]: that they offer along with the Naval Postgraduate College.So we're very honored to have himhere today to give the introduction to SenatorJohnson.Now I'd like to introduced to someonewe're very enthused to be connectedwith through the DuPont Summit, Dr. Wallace Boston.[APPLAUSE]

    • 01:52

      DR. WALLACE BOSTON: Thank you very much.I'm sure that though we'd like to hear our speaker morethan me.So I'll try to be brief with my biography.Senator Ron Johnson has been a hard worker all of his life.As a boy, he mowed lawns, shoveled snow,delivered papers, and even caddiedfor a few extra dollars.At the age of 15, he took his first jobwhere he paid money into Social Security as a dishwasher

    • 02:15

      DR. WALLACE BOSTON [continued]: at a Walgreens Grill, later moving up to the jobas night manager before he was 16.He gained early acceptance into the University of Minnesotaskipping his senior of high schooland worked full time while obtaining a degreein business and accounting.You can see where this is going.After graduation, he worked as an accountantand earned his MBA at night.

    • 02:35

      DR. WALLACE BOSTON [continued]: He's a highly successful entrepreneurand business leader.He brings a wealth of experience and private sector perspectiveto the Senate.He's fairly critical of the expanding size, scope, and costof government regulation.The Senator serves on the committees on budget, commerce,science, and transportation, foreign relations, homelandsecurity, and government affairs, small business,

    • 02:56

      DR. WALLACE BOSTON [continued]: and entrepreneurship.He lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with his wife Jane.They have three children.We are immensely proud that he's taken timefrom all of his activities to open the conference.Please welcome Senator Ron Johnson.[APPLAUSE]

    • 03:14

      RON JOHNSON: Well, thank you, Wally.Thank you, Chuck.I thank all of you for being involved.I think this is a relatively important issue here.This is also a relatively intimidating crowdto be speaking in front of.I'll tell you what I'm not.I'm not an engineer.I'm not anywhere near smart as you guys.I mean, you guys are the smartest people in the roomhere.I'm an accountant.I'm a business guy.So what I want to bring to this discussion

    • 03:37

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: is how do you solve a problem, kindof a businessman's perspective.Because I've been in accounting, but what I've primarily beenis a manufacturer for 31 years.And being in manufacturing, you're always solving problems.And there's an organized approach to solving a problem.It generally starts, by the way, with admittingyou have one, which is kind of a big deal,

    • 03:58

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: and then properly defining it.And I'd like to use a couple examples in terms of governmentin terms of why it's so difficult to solvesome of these [AUDIO OUT].One thing I do try and do when I'm talking to crowd,especially as a business person trying to businesspeople,to try get them to understand in some way,shape, or form the dysfunction that is the federal government,

    • 04:20

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: convey the differences between the businessworld and government, but also to convey the similarities.And here's one thing that the private sectorand the public sector have in common.They're motivated by the same factor.They both want to grow.The difference in the private sector is in order to grow,

    • 04:41

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: you have to succeed at something.You have to actually produce a successful product,a successful service.That's how you grow.In the public sector, let's face it, failure allows you to grow.Now, I make that point because I'll come back to it.Because I think it's crucial in termsof why we don't grapple some of these problemsand why we address others.

    • 05:01

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: So my first understanding of EMP really dates back a long time.I heard about this.Some nuclear blast would be catastrophic.Oh yeah, but what's the likelihood of that?I first really became aware of it a few months agowhen gentleman mean named Bob Pfaltzgraff and HankCooper visited my office and presentedme a little book which I started to read.

    • 05:24

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: And I didn't really like reading it.And I got a little concerned.And so that really began my journey here.But the reason I came to Washington, DCwas to address some other problems.And I want to talk about those other problemsto put in context what it is we need to do to start addressingthis problem.Now, I ran for office because Washington

    • 05:47

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: passed Obamacare, which is basically a governmenttakeover of the health care system, which I thinkis going to do a great deal of harm to our health care system.I think it's an assault on our freedom.That was the number one issue.But along the way, I was a little concerned about factthat we're mortgaging our children's future.Now I'm an accountant.As I've gotten here, I've really triedto delve into the full extent of the problem.

    • 06:09

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: I just want to ask a question here.Anybody in the room here know what our 30 yearprojected deficit is?Ever heard of it?There's a reason why you've never heard of it.Because nobody wants to tell you what it is.CBO actually does project these things.But they don't put it in dollar termswhere we can actually understand.Some people talk about the unfunded liabilities,

    • 06:32

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: its net present value, back [INAUDIBLE].Nobody can understand that.Nobody can relate to it.So in my dealings with the White House,I was one of a small group of a body of Republican Senatorstrying to work at the White House,trying to find some common ground,at least take the right steps in solving the problem.I came up with the concept that we reallyought to look and define the problem properly.

    • 06:53

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: Because let's face, talking about a problem solvingprocess, America has not collectivelyadmitted we have this enormous debt and deficit issue.They tell you, yeah, it's unsustainable.But no one can really define it.And we haven't properly defined it.We don't have a 10-year budget window problem.We have a 30-year demographic problem.All the baby boom generation wereretiring at the rate of 10,000 people per day.

    • 07:15

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: We've promised all these benefitsbecause that's an easy thing to do.We don't have any way to pay for it.So anyway, CBO actually projects these things out.They don't do it in dollars.They do it as a percent of GDP.Nobody really understands that.So we converted those projections into dollars.Let me give you the bad news.

    • 07:36

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: Their baseline shows that-- or projects--that are deficit over the next 30 years will be $66 trillion.Their alternate fiscal scenario is $127 trillion.Now when you annualize that, when you analyze it,when you take a look at really what'sbeen our 20-year average spending history in defense,all other programs, entitlement programs,

    • 07:58

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: then interest on the debt, if you really take a look at it,even the alternate fiscal scenario projectedspending as a percentage of GDP is under our 20-year averages.So I would argue even the $127 trillion is understating it.But let me tell you how it's coming at us.We're always ways talking about a 10-year budget window, right?Well, the first 10 years is about $8 trillion in deficit.

    • 08:22

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: The next 10 years is about $31 trillion.The third decade is $88 trillion for a whopping totalof $127 trillion.And again, that could be understated.Now, let me put that in perspective.Because let's face it, trillions of dollarsis literally incomprehensible.The entire net private asset base of Americais $106 trillion.Now the fact that not any American, nobody virtually,

    • 08:47

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: it's 0.00000001% of Americans understands that information,is a big reason why we have not forced the federal government,forced elected officials, forced politicians to start grapplingwith it.Instead, politicians get away with the demagoguery.

    • 09:09

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: They get away with the lies.Now, how many times have you heardpoliticians from both parties saythat Social Security is solvent to the year 2031 or 2033?It's almost universal.It's also a complete lie.I think Wally would agree with me as an accountant.Yeah, we've got a Social Security trustfund that's supposedly going to keep that

    • 09:30

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: solvent for the next 20 years.But the trust fund is a fiction.The trust fund holds US government bonds.OK, that's an asset to that agencywithin the federal government.But the US government bond is a liabilityto the federal government, to the treasury.You consolidate the books of the federal government,that nets to zero.OMB in their own publication admits that.

    • 09:51

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: But in seven budget committee hearings, seven,I've laid out those OMB, that publication, those words,calling the trust fund a bookkeeping convention,that that transaction nets to zero.Only two people-- CBO Director Elmendorf,Fed Chair Yellen-- were honest enoughto admit that it has no financial value

    • 10:13

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: to the federal government.Treasury Secretary Lew and five OMB directors--or four OMB directors and nominees--refused to admit that truth.As a result, we haven't even begunto address that 30-year problem.Oh, by the way 30 years, I see a lot of white hair in the roomhere.We know that's not a very long time period.

    • 10:34

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: My little baby girl just turned 31.And that went by like that.Now, we've got another problem that we taught here,talked about all time-- climate change.First of all, let me go on the record.I do not deny climate change.We've had it throughout geologic time.I also don't deny that man has some kind of influence on it.

    • 10:56

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: I just don't know to what extent.I also don't know to what extent throwing hundreds of billionsof dollars at the problem-- will it have any effect whatsoever?And yet we're throwing at least tens of billions of dollarsto the program.It's on all the news programs.Were talking about it all the time.We're whipping up all this state of fear.

    • 11:17

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: And we're spending tens of billions of dollarsto address a problem that I don'tknow that you can even fix.Now, I come from the state of Wisconsin.23,000 years ago, my state was covered in about a 5,000-6,000foot thick glacier.I know there were men back then.But there weren't enough men building campfiresto cause those glaciers to recede.

    • 11:38

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: Something else was happening.You look at the Vostok Ice Core sample,over 400-some thousand years, we'vehad I think five-- four or five-- climate cycles somewherein the 15-20 degree range.Something else caused that.Now again, I don't deny that man has some kind of fact.I just don't know what it is.

    • 11:58

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: I don't know what effect we could possibly have.We had Bjorn Lomborg, someone I really,really respect, a fellow that realized, you know,you have scarce and limited resources in this world.If you want to solve problems, if youwant to alleviate suffering, let'stake a look at where those scarce resources are bestallocated to benefit the most people.

    • 12:21

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: I would argue it is not climate change.That's what he argues as well.But for some reason, Americans believe Vice President Al Gorein 2009 when he said in five years,because of climate change, the northern ice capwill be melted.

    • 12:41

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: Well, it's 2014 and it still exists.When you look at a lot of people that really promote climatechange, I don't have the exact quote-- but let's face it,people who promote it say, I don't care what the science is.This is just such a good opportunity for usto gain control over society.

    • 13:01

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: That's basically a paraphrase.And that's what gets me to my point.Government will solve a problem when the result of the solutionallows it to grow, when it allows politicians,when it allows government officials to gain controlover Americans' lives.

    • 13:23

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: That's climate change.That's why so many people are allabout spending tens of billions of dollarsto solve climate change.Because it gives them control.Solving the entitlement problem or debt and deficit issue,what does that result in?That results in less government.That results in less control.

    • 13:43

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: So now let's take a look at EMP.I am amazed, having come here now and finally beingmade aware of this by Dr. Pfaltzgraff and AmbassadorCooper.This was made public in 2004.In 2008-- and that's what this is right here--

    • 14:04

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: this is the preface of the report.It's talking about the dependence of US societyon electrical power system, its vulnerability to an EMPattack coupled by the EMP's particular damage mechanismscreates the possibility of long term catastrophic consequences.If our power grid is down for 12 months,this predicts 90% of America would perish.

    • 14:28

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: I think that's a problem.Now, I've heard a number-- I knowJames Woolsey wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal.I don't know the truth of this.I don't know the exact numbers.Supposedly $2 billion would take usa long way toward protecting our infrastructure here.When I read that, the first thing I thought about-- ok,

    • 14:50

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: this was known 2004-2008.Then we had the great recession.Washington's response was spending, what, $800 billionon a stimulus for what?Shovel ready infrastructure projects, right?Why didn't we spent $2 billion in 2009to at least start addressing this?

    • 15:13

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: Could it be because solving this problem doesn'tincrease government's control over our lives?It's a possibility.What we have is a huge challenge on our hands.And what I like about the CIPA billis it just starts that process.It's not even nearly enough.

    • 15:33

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: But in order to solve a problem-- letme go back to my first part of my remarks--the first step in solving any problem is raising your handand admitting you have one.And then you have to properly define it.Now, let me just tell you my little journey here with EMP,it's pretty confusing.I don't know much about it.

    • 15:54

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: But I know a whole lot more about than most Americans.What I'm starting to find out is it is pretty confusing.When I raised the issue with one of my colleagues--I'm not going to identify anybody--the first words out of the person's mouthwas, eh, that's transformer lobby.They just want to sell the government some goods.

    • 16:14

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: Well, maybe that's a possibility.So there's going to be all kinds of political pressureback and forth.What I want to use-- and this is my dedication-- here's my ask.Then I'll shut up.It's pretty unusual for somebody who'sbeen serving the United States Senate for four yearsto become a chairman of a committee,

    • 16:35

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: much less a pretty crucial committee like homelandsecurity governmental affairs.I'm a business guy.I'm a problem solver.I want to utilize that committee to hold hearingsnot as show trials, but as really fact finding missions,to highlight, to describe, to define problems in a very

    • 16:58

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: truthful, in a very honest way.So what I need is I need people's help.What I'm not going to do, what I don't want to dois announce a hearing next week and thenall of a sudden call people up-- hey, can you come testify?What I want people thinking about right nowis how can we make this case to the American public?

    • 17:18

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: How can we do it so we don't do what Al Gore didand make wild predictions that are just simply provenfalse after five years?How do we do this in a very rational wayso that the people promoting it aren't accusedof having tin foil hats on?How do we get the science out there when in far too

    • 17:38

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: many cases in the past science has been misused?So what I'm really asking is I need a lot of help.Start thinking about how do we justfind and describe this problem to the American public?What's the best way in a relatively short time period?Because you don't have a whole lot of time in hearings.And you're going to have senators asking you questions.

    • 17:58

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: A lot of them will grandstand.I want to design a committee hearing so we really elicittruth and real information.Because that is the only way we'regoing to collectively be able to solve this problemand have politicians, have elected officials,bring what they can to bear to actually solve this problem.

    • 18:20

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: So that's what we all need help on.And you guys are the experts here.And you guys have to understand the competing politicalinterests here.And you've got to understand how the public isgoing to perceive industry lobbying for this versus that.So it's going to be a very difficult issue to bring up.It's going to be very difficult issue to really get the publicto admit they have the problem and start working

    • 18:40

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: toward the real solutions.And what I'm finding out is that the solutions are notthat easy.They are relatively complex.And Washington does not deal with complexity very well.So with that, I think I'm out of time.I'm happy to take a question or two unless youwant to give me the hook.

    • 18:57

      SPEAKER 1: What are the chances that the CIPA Act will passthe Senate in a rapid fashion?Could you just maybe project.

    • 19:06

      RON JOHNSON: Well, it's not going to pass in the lame duck.There's no time for it.Again give me the information.Let's hold some hearings.And we first have to actually introducethe bill in the Senate.But that's better done in the next Congress anyway.So again, I'm very-- there's nothingthreatening about CIPA Act.Well, I guess the third part threatens

    • 19:27

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: industry a little bit.We need to make sure that we calm everybody down.But from my standpoint, CIPA is primarily thereto highlight the issue, forcing DHS to take a look at this.And by the way, in our threat assessment hearing,I asked about EMP, asked about an [INAUDIBLE] briefing.And I'll tell you, DHS is not doing much about it.So it would force DHS to start taking a look at that.

    • 19:48

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: And again, this is all about gettingpublic awareness of this stuff.So from my standpoint, the first step is holding the hearings.And if we make an impactful case,we should be able to pass that pretty easily.It just flew through the house.OK?

    • 20:06

      SPEAKER 2: One more question [INAUDIBLE] identify yourself.And then more questions will happenafter the FBI [INAUDIBLE].

    • 20:19

      TOM POPIK: Hi, Tom Popik, Resilient Societies.My group has been involved in the EMP issue for several yearsnow.One question that comes up again and again is the cost factor.I think you indicated that some cost estimates are low,some are higher.One of the things that's been proposedis a level of protection which wouldn't be as complete as

    • 20:41

      TOM POPIK [continued]: for the US strategic forces, but enough to producestrategic deterrence.So in other words, a North Korea or Iranwould know that we have enough protection that it wouldmake them think very carefully before engaging in an EMPattack.I wonder if you could comment brieflyon the politics of deterrence for EMP.

    • 21:03

      RON JOHNSON: Sure.Yeah, I mean, so you also have GMD by the way.So you want to take a look at this whole-- the whole thingaffects our electrical grid.You've got missile defense.From my standpoint, again, problem solver,what I'd like to see is information.I'd like to have the electrical grid described.I'd like to see how many of these huge transformers,how long lead time are these things?

    • 21:23

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: Should we be spending the money to have backups?Should we put those things in place,get those things shielded?I would really like to see a plan.And it in first starts with describingwhat the electrical grid is in very organized fashion.And then you just start adding up the cost.I mean, this is level one.This is kind of base level what we

    • 21:44

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: need to do in terms of protecting ourselves.Here's level two.Here's level three.So here's $2 billion.Here's $10 billion.Here's $25 billion.Here's whatever.And well, we'll use the $2 billion option.So again, it's about information.It's something that is not used very much in Washington, DC.We primarily use demagoguery.

    • 22:05

      RON JOHNSON [continued]: I'm into like real information.That's what I'm asking you folks isdevelop the information in an understandable,keep it simple-- the old KISS principle.OK?And I think that's best way of addressing this.Thank you very much for your involvement.[APPLAUSE]

A US Senator's Perspective on the Importance of EMP and High-Impact Threat Planning and Protection

View Segments Segment :


Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson presents his perspective on the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act. He says the government is spending too much money, and spending on priorities like climate change is motivated by increasing its control over society. He says the government needs to reduce spending and focus on projects that will benefit the most people.

A US Senator's Perspective on the Importance of EMP and High-Impact Threat Planning and Protection

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson presents his perspective on the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act. He says the government is spending too much money, and spending on priorities like climate change is motivated by increasing its control over society. He says the government needs to reduce spending and focus on projects that will benefit the most people.

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