Yesterday, along with many others, we took a look at the new regime's anti-union initiatives--or, more exactly, its anti unionized workers initiatives. These initiatives were part of Biden Inc.'s executive orders targeting the energy industry. Another executive order that will have a significant negative impact on unionized workers also came to light, but it will also have an impact on the security of our nation's critical infrastructure:
Far be it from me to be cynical, but this almost looks like payback. Ask yourself: If you were Chairman Xi, what type of favor would you be asking Biden Inc. for, while hoping to keep it under the radar? To me, this would fit the bill.
An emailer sent me this analysis of the national security implications behind this EO. I will preface his analysis by adding that, in national security circles, it has long been known that China has been targeting our critical infrastructure, so it's not as if no one could have warned the new regime about this:
If I'm reading everything here right, Biden's new EO permits China to get back in the business of providing equipment for our primary power grid. That seems to include the massive transformers that the grid relies on at many critical points throughout the US.
In 2010, back when I was in the cyber-security business and keeping up with such things, a Chinese researcher published a paper (either in English, or quickly translated) addressing potential grid attacks in the US. Specifically, the paper proposed a new way of attacking the power grid in the western US.
Previous papers (that I had seen) all focused on the main (what I refer to as backbone) grid infrastructure; that part where one successful attack could take down the entire grid. Needless to say, that is also where defenders focus most of their attention.
This paper shows how attacking the peripheral components of the grid, those less heavily defended, can have the same effect. By taking down one of the least important components far removed from the backbone, some automatic switching takes place to route around the failed component, slightly increasing the load on nearby components. Do this to a few of the "unimportant" components on the fringe, with the effects "cascading" upwards toward the backbone, and you've just overloaded the main grid, and bad things happen without the main grid having been directly attacked.
The result is not just the inconvenience of no air conditioning for a while; it's the violent (probably explosive) loss of the massive transformers that makes the grid possible. These things are truly massive, and expensive, and difficult to transport from one place to another. More importantly, there are no extras hanging around waiting to be called in. And, it can take more than a year to manufacture one, and US annual manufacturing capacity is in the single digits (the last time I checked).
Now, imagine the US relying on China for some or all of these transformers. A little cyber attack, difficult or impossible to attribute to any one, takes down the grid, destroys several of these transformers, and China is just so very busy they can't be bothered to hurry up and provide replacements. Catastrophe is too mild a word for this.
From the paper:
[We] numerically obtain the estimate for the network robustness under two attacks. Some interesting and counterintuitive results are found in our cascading model, of which an interesting finding is that the attack on the nodes with the lowest loads is a more effective may (sic) to destroy the electrical power grid of the western United States due to cascading failures . . .
About the same time this was published (maybe 1 or 2 years before), a couple of PLA colonels published a paper describing how China should pursue a total war against the US. This war would be engaged for decades on economic, social, political, cyber, and other grounds before becoming a military war. I can't seem to lay my hands on it right now, but it was a very interesting paper and laid out pretty much the strategy the CCP appears to have been pursuing for quite some time.
Interestingly, Texas has its own grid, pretty much isolated from the US grid. And since Texas doesn't import much electrical power, it should be more or less unaffected. Until China starts paying attention to Texas (and they probably already are).
When I think about what the uni-party is doing now, it's hard to come up with a rationale that isn't based on some evil strategy on their part.