Contrary to popular belief, national security threats are worse now than at the height of the Cold War. New technologies threaten, many experts say, to destroy a large part of the human race. 

Bio-engineering technology now enables a nation state, terrorist group, or just one dedicated individual to unleash a new virus that could kill most of the human race.  A cyber attack, an EMP blast from the sun or from a high-altitude nuclear detonation or terrorist attack, could take down our fragile electric system. 

Artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, easier new means to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons, and many more technological advances are dramatically increasing the ability of a small nation state, terrorists, or lunatics to cause more deaths than all our prior wars combined.

Bioengineered Viral Pandemics

Worse than the increase in “trigger disasters” like a pandemic, are the cascading effects that will likely lead to a collapse –  a shut down in economic activity and widespread, long-lasting loss of law and order. Our economy is highly dependent on electricity. Just in time delivery of key materials from overseas, experts who must show up for work, or production and transportation grind to a halt.  And unlike the last big pandemic that killed 50 to 100 million people when most of the population were farmers or had wells and gardens and local sources of food – we depend on daily food shipments into city supermarkets and municipal water systems that will not work if the electric system goes down. 

Our interdependent, fragile, “just in time delivery” economy can’t operate with even minor disruptions to daily deliveries.  Supermarkets will be empty hours after a pandemic, or collapse of the electric system, or other disaster strikes – and it may be weeks, months, longer before production and transportation may resume. Unlike old, simple agricultural economies, we are dependent on daily shipments of food and materials, highly interdependent, very vulnerable to disruptions.

Risk of Collapse

Even hospitals maintain only small inventories. An EMP attack or severe solar storm can destroy electronics, computers. Cyber attacks, as well as an EMP, can take down our electric system for months or years – leaving businesses, emergency services, water systems, inoperable. 

Relative Vulnerability to Disruptions

A pandemic may be worse – the few that will report for work, and those that do (medical/police/fire) will catch the virus. Almost all economic activity may cease, no production, no public transportation. For a few days people will survive on food and water in their home, but many without will start going out to loot, and if necessary, kill. Relatively minor disasters like Katrina illustrated how some people quickly turn to violence. Food truck drivers will likely not work during a pandemic, there is just too much risk of catching the virus or being shot by a marauder out to steal food. 

The exhibit below is a good summary of why we are so vulnerable to disruptions and collapse today.

Put these trends together and you’ve got a formula for catastrophic disaster, a collapse that could kill hundreds of millions, billions, some experts say most of the population.

We have so many gang members today, and bad people eager to loot and worse when any opportunity presents itself, that a collapse may be triggered not by an enemy attack or huge natural disaster – but by social media. Four nights of looting, arson, and murder in the UK in 2011 illustrates this new risk:

2011 UK Riots

I would not be surprised after the next Presidential election to see a breakdown in law and order from the growing divide and animosity in the country over Trump.

While 99 percent of the population is oblivious to threats and the likelihood of a collapse, there are millions of Americans who are “preppers” and are aware of the need to be able to survive without outside food and water or law enforcement in a violent environment. 

Preppers are also different in how they see news and events. They read information that the rest of the population ignores. For example, James Woolsey, the former CIA Director  and head of the EMP Commission warned in 2017 that a North Korean EMP attack, delivered by one nuclear weapon exploding in the atmosphere over the United States could destroy our electrical system and yield a societal collapse that kills 90 percent of Americans.

The former director revealed just a single warhead delivered by a North Korean satellite was capable of causing a blackout of our entire electrical grid..and all of the life-sustaining infrastructure it supports for not a few days, but more than an entire year. An event like this could kill nine out of every 10 unprepared Americans through starvation and the impact of a complete societal collapse.

Can you imagine a more credible source than a former CIA Director?  This was in the media, but not on front pages, and 99 percent or more of the population doesn’t look for information like this, and missed the warning. If anyone doubts how much death will result from a non-functioning economy and loss of law and order, this one sentence summary of the results of the loss of our electric system (damage will take over a year to fix) lets you know the magnitude.  90 percent of the United States population could perish. Reduce the casualties by an order of magnitude—just 9 percent of the population perishes – that’s 30 million people! 

So why aren’t alarm bells being sounded? Because it is human nature to ignore even obvious, looming “Black Swan” threats and because your Big Government is focused on winning votes and political correctness – not warning people that a pandemic is imminent, that our fragile electrical system can be taken down by mother nature or a single nuclear detonation, that during a collapse they will not be able to maintain law and order, or that some of the key preparations include guns and plenty of ammo in every home. 

The Black Swan

Nassim Taleb, a brilliant financial analyst and philosopher, published a New York Times bestselling book, The Black Swan:  the Impact of the Highly Improbable, explaining why we consistently fail to anticipate and prepare for very foreseeable pending disasters.

Government officials won’t sound alarms about the growing threats we face, or acknowledge the likelihood that our economy and law and order will collapse under stress.  There is little threat for them, they will be taken care of during a collapse, sheltered and protected in Mount Weather and at other facilities at taxpayer expense. Even in small cities, the  number one priority of law enforcement will be to protect top elected officials. The rest of us are on our own. 

Fortunately, there is a growing prepper community in America. and worldwide that recognizes the need to prepare for a collapse.  We’re probably only 1 percent of the population now, but hopefully many more will recognize the need to prepare before it is too late.

This is the First Part of a short series focusing on how to do effective, affordable prepping and convince friends and family that this is a sensible thing to do. The next article in the series will  explains “Why you need a Survival Community.”

What are my qualifications for writing these series of articles and warnings?  I’m a USAF Academy graduate, received an academic scholarship to Harvard University where I earned a Masters Degree and then PhD in Operations Research. As an AF intelligence officer, I analyzed threats and reported on them.  We do a fantastic job of tracking traditional threats of other countries military forces, but other than experts warnings that are ignored, pay little attention to the threats of new technologies or vulnerabilities that could lead to a collapse.

I also served in the Pentagon in the Senior Executive Service, and at the top Dept of Defense think tank, and in many business leadership positions.  I’ve been a prepper for decades, and about five years ago after analyzing the best way to prepare, I founded Fortitude Ranch a recreational and survival community.