That was sure a “bolt out of the blue.”
Had a call this week from a respected colleague who asked me about our “Seven Major Systems of Life.” Those, in case you forgot, are food, shelter, communications, energy, environment, finance, and transportation
While I can’t tell you who this colleague is, let’s say that he’s in a position to know about risks to the country’s future and his outlook is more grounded in non-financial, non-partisan political matters than most anyone I know.
I tried to get a little more out of him: “Your folks starting to serious up about some of the ideas behind prepping and such…maybe time to get it into the governmental ranks?”
That’s the topic for Peoplenomics this weekend, but there is much thinking to do.
On a more contemporary note – for those of us who worry about things like am EMP or terror or cyber “grid hard down” condition, there is always the matter of backups to the Internet.
A Side Note about Internet vulnerability: I mentioned some time back that my son has been doing some spare time testing of the GoTenna.com portable mesh network nodes. People are buying them and setting them up around the country.
GoTenna is taking meshing on a social scale too: Setting up the site www.imeshyou.com so people with their mesh networking gear (which is independent of the internet, but still moves texts messages around among cell phone users) can put their sites on a map and hook in to the mesh community.
What’s interesting to me is how the texture of the survival/prepping mindset is spreading out. From my source it became clear that it’s about to ‘cross the de voux’ into the realms of government at all levels. City, county, regional, state and it’s already in the FedGov portfolio with sites like www.ready.gov.
To be sure, ‘grid hard down’ seems unthinkable on a peaceful morning like this. Why shouldn’t tomorrow be more or less just like yesterday? But there are people getting the vision solidly that complacency is not acceptable now. A few of such people plans to do something about it at a governance and policy level.
As my colleague explained “Those of us looking at the problem know that if there is a single-city (like terrorism) event, there will be all kinds of response and help from FEMA and such. But a big – larger than regional – ‘grid hard down’ that hits half the land mass of America? You might have a long wait for a FEMA response…”
The term ‘grid hard down’ is an ugly. The big ugly that prepping sites dance around. In the parlance of the “people who think the unthinkable” though, a ‘ grid hard down’ would last more than a year.
Thing America is resilient? Pardon moi…to a point? Sure. Past a threshold? Not so much…
All this naturally leads to a subject matter worthy of more study: Observe that the (self-serving, lying, inept, etc.) political class has looked after it’s own future – through continuity of government plans and programs.
Disgustingly, there little focus on the equivalent for us “regular old taxpayers types.” “Continuity of Country” is not on the discussion list.
Back in the day, America supported a vibrant Civil Defense program. Far beyond “duck & cover.” But when we hit the missile age and we all knew – or came to realize – that ICBM’s might not be defensible, Even today.
Result? Civil Defense faded into the background.
To find a Civil Defense shelter designed for a first strike in today’s world is a rare thing indeed. If you did? It’s almost certain there’d be no water worth drinking. Cracker?
Looking at some of America’s potential adversaries we cannot help but notice that both Russia and China are quietly flanking us on the Continuity of Country level.
A December Pointe Belo report (“Blurred Lines: Military-Civil Fusion and the “Going Out” of China’s Defense Industry”) reveals some interesting ways that the Chinese have retooled certain aspects of modern capitalism into an integrated military-civilian model for tighter coordination of national strategic management.
For example, the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) has been engaging high levels of military-civilian fusion (MCF) and as the Pointe Belo executive summary notes (I hope they don’t mind the pointer to their work!):
“The PRC has had challenges implementing MCF-like policies in the past. However, Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power, along with a growing base of defense industrial stakeholders, appears to be leading to rapid adoption of MCF policy directives. This includes a growing number of former and current senior defense industrial cadre serving in prominent party and state posts. An interagency working group has also been established to coordinate MCF activities among stakeholders and oversee implementation of national MCF policies, priorities, and assessing successes.”
Wild-eyed “Free Traders” don’t have a policy response to this. Just Follow The Money (FTM) they’ll argue. But, sorry to report, greed is not a good strategic survival model.
MCF is not entirely different than Hitler’s re-militarization of Germany in the 1930’s, however that’s a longer discussion than breakfast chatter.
We continue to have concern about Asia because of numerous econometric studies suggesting a showdown between global economic paradigms is likely in the early 2020’s. Compound interest, quantitative easing’s, resource depletion, knee of the oil price collapse: you name it – plenty of drivers are already in view.
On point Wikipedia passing lightly on Chinese Civil Defense might be honest OR deft misdirection:
“China continues to construct large public emergency shelters. Not less than three large (maximum capacity of around 8000) shelters are to be completed in the Shanghai area by 2012, with more planned. The ironic completion date of late 2012 has been dismissed as coincidence, with the true intent claimed to be a response to the 2008 Sichuan earthquakes, “as a precaution against possible natural disasters.”“
A coincidence? ViseGrips, please. At the Grand Policy level, China has a three thousand year head start on us.
Not that the threat is singular. Off in the other direction we have Russian Civil Defense. Few realize it, but the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) has 289,000 troops assigned to it. When not “civil defending” they do other things like fire fighting (Russian forests are humongous) and humanitarian relief. Need an AK, you say?
See the DIA’s 2017 Russia assessment – Russia remains a solid force to be reckoned with.
More interestingly, in a footnote to a Cicero Foundation report I found this footnote rather fascinating. Because it hints that Russia is working on strengthen relations between its dominant church group while the US has gone running in almost exactly the opposite direction!
” In a recent article in the Voenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer, for instance, a military analyst called for “the spiritual mobilization” of the people, “to show the West that we have prepared the population for a war against us.” She called it a “civil defense with God’s help,” proposing to use the infrastructure of the Russian Orthodox Church, opening churches, monasteries, and schools in times of crisis and organizing in the parishes groups of up to 100 persons for civil defense. (Cf. Tatyana Gracheva,
“Kogda obyavlyat mobilizatsiyu,” Voenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer, September 23, 2015).
This is footnote (11) was found in the paper “Russia’s Nuclear Threats and the Security of the Baltic States” (July 2016) from Cicero Foundation Director Marcel H. Van Herpen. Good read – over here.
More on the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations on Wikipedia here, if you’re interested. think FEMA with uniformed troops.
Since the Cold War, American emphasis hasn’t been Civil Defense oriented. It’s cast as out of date thinking. Last fall in the after-election noise, the Minnesota Post referred to civil defense as “Government-sponsored doomsday prepping.”
We beg to differ.
But it’s a different kind of civil defense – because it’s a different world now.
It’s the ‘grid hard down’ lasting a year or longer and modeling how people in unsustainable cities will create a massive Rural Spillover. That bothers the hell out of us.
How will we cope with it? More this weekend on the Peoplenomics side but I wanted to mention it so if our content moves somewhat in the direction of spillover planning you’ll understand the context.
It’s not just EMP – or earthquakes – or pandemics – or terrorism – or cyber warfare – or computer viruses or…well, you see the problem: My colleague suggests this is a very good time to remain mindful of the global strategic picture, including non-state actors and upstart regimes.
One of which will [likely] resolve this fall or in 2018: North Korea.
Economic collapse and pension failures in America? The list of worries that hold potential “hard down” results is long.
Sometimes the “hard down” is a result (after economic failure, for example) while at other times it’s the lead driver (as in the first-strike EMP case).
Either way, how the rural folks cope with urban spill…that comes into focus as the news – and largely forgotten aspect – of what was once “civil defense.”
We anticipate this new view could support a new kind of U.S. military-civilian fusion for the foreseeable future.
And it won’t be without debate, since the U.S. is already seen as quite militaristic. Further consideration of the Chinese MCF model, however, seems to be prudent and warranted.
I’m starting to aggressively trash comments that aren’t directly responsive to our topics of discussion. So if you posted a comment bashing Trump, or politicians of either party (or me personally, for that matter), your post is likely to be round-filed.
Also, with the exception of colleagues (Oilman2 is an example) no more than two posts per day. But again, no off-topic crap.
Time is a valuable commodity and we’ll try to avoid wasting as much on useless (meaning: non-actionable) discussions.
Thanks for understanding and…
Write when you get rich,