I have previously posted about the test scheduled for later today for the nonsensical Emergency Alert System.
The national EAS circuit, operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, allows the president to communicate with the public in an instant. On the president’s signal, FEMA can seize control of the airwaves temporarily and override the signal with the president’s message…
[FEMA Director] Fugate said that several scenarios short of nuclear war could persuade a president to activate the EAS circuit. They include a space-weather event; if a solar flare were detected that could significantly disrupt wireless communications across the country, the president might want to give people notice.
Lets analyze that justification for EAS: Disasters other than nuclear war.
Does anyone think President Bush did a good job in the aftermath of Katrina? President Obama, while campaigning for President, said “10,000 people died in Greensburg.” The actual death toll was 9 and the total population of the town was 1,500.
My point is that Presidents are not experts in disasters. We would have — at best — hours of notice that a major solar flare was threatening earth. By the time it was detected and the threat analyzed, it would take additional hours for the notice to move up the chain of command, the decision be made to have the President announce it, the President to be briefed, and the announcement to be rehearsed — by which time much of the preparation time for the flare would be diminished. Having the President do these things is counterproductive!
NOAA, the same agency that warns of tornadoes, blizzards, and hurricanes, is in charge of monitoring space weather, including solar flares. If a big one is detected, NOAA should simply, and immediately, activate its existing warning system and get the word out as quickly as possible.
What about nuclear attack? Doesn’t that justify EAS? Published reports say the President will not be sticking around the White House to use the EAS if an attack is detected. They say he or she will be moved to the underground shelter at the (appropriately named) Mount Weather.
So, as I told the Kansas City Star (first link above), EAS is a “solution in search of a problem.” We’d be better off abolishing it and saving the taxpayer dollars.