H.R. 3410, Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, as amended

H.R. 3410

Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, as amended

Date
December 1, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, December 1, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 3410, the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, under a suspension of the rules.  H.R. 3410 was introduced on October 30, 2013 by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3410 requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to include the threat of Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) events in national planning scenarios, and to conduct outreach to educate owners and operators of critical infrastructure, emergency planners, and emergency responders of the threat of EMP events.  This legislation also requires the Secretary to conduct research and development to mitigate the consequences of EMP events, including: 1) an objective scientific analysis of the risks of a range of EMP events’ impact on critical infrastructure; 2) a determination of the critical national security assets and vital civic utilities at risk from EMP events; 3) an evaluation of the emergency planning and response technologies that would address the findings and recommendation of experts; 4) an analysis of the technology options that are available to improve the resiliency of critical infrastructure to EMP events and 5) an analysis of the restoration and recovery capabilities of critical infrastructure under differing levels of damage and disruption from various EMP events.

H.R. 3410 also requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a recommended strategy to protect and prepare critical infrastructure against EMP events (including acts of terrorism), and provide biennial updates on the status of the recommended strategy.

Background

“Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is an instantaneous, intense energy field that can overload or disrupt at a distance numerous electrical systems and high technology microcircuits, which are especially sensitive to power surges.”[1]  Large-scale EMP effects can be produced either through a single nuclear explosion detonated into the atmosphere, or non-nuclear devices.[2]  Congress established the EMP commission in FY2001 to assess the threat of an EMP attack on U.S. infrastructure.[3]  The EMP commission’s 2008 report determined that an EMP attack “creates the possibility of long-term catastrophic consequences for national security,” but argued that U.S. vulnerability could be reasonably reduced by coordination between the public and private sectors.[4]   U.S. critical infrastructure remains vulnerable to an EMP event despite the warnings laid out by the EMP commission.  H.R. 3410 would begin to address this vulnerability by creating planning scenarios in the event of an EMP attack, and by educating first responders on how to respond to an EMP attack.

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[1] Clay Wilson, “High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) and High Power Microwave (HPM) Devices: Threat Assessments,” Congressional Research Service (Jul. 21, 2008), at summary.
[2] Id.
[3] Id. at 1.
[4] Id. at 1-2.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is currently unavailable.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.