FEMA Concerned About (EMP) Electro Magnetic Pulses at Mount Weather

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 05/15/2008 - 11:39am.

There has been a debate for years as to whether an Electro Magnetic Pulse, also known as EMP, could blow out the electrical circuits and computer systems at the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center in rural Virginia.

Mount Weather

Mount Weather is a site to which the president and top government leaders might be relocated in case of a nuclear attack - but it now appears that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is actively worried about such a potential EMP threat.

FEMA, which officially runs the Mount Weather center, in Bluemont, VA, about 55 miles from Washington, DC, which might become a command facility in case of a national disaster, is seeking an architect-engineering firm that can analyze a EMP vulnerability study of Mount Weather and "create a complete EMP facility hardness design package" that would allow the government to take corrective measures.

The EMP vulnerability study was performed by a private contractor on behalf of FEMA and completed in 2007, according to Jay D. Cohen, the contracting officer on the project. "We're trying to implement the recommendations of that study to fix some of the potential vulnerabilities," Cohen told GSN.

The design package will support all of the EMP hardening ideas recommended in the study, including the shielding of aperture points-of-entry, threat level illumination, and the hardening of facilities with mission critical equipment, according to a FEMA "sources sought" notice posted online on May 9.

According to a DoD military standard sheet issued in 2005, an aperture point-of-entry is "an intentional or inadvertent hole, crack, opening or other discontinuity in the [High-Altitude Electro Magnetic Pulse] shield surface. Intentional aperture POEs are provided for personnel and equipment entry and egress and for fluid flow (ventilation and piped utilities) through the electromagnetic barrier."

The architect-engineering contract would be a fixed-price award that envisions all work being completed within five months. Potential vendors, who must maintain a "lead office" with at least 10 employees within 300 miles of Mount Weather and hold a Top Secret facility clearance, have until June 10 to submit their official responses. FEMA expects to make its award between August and October 2008.

The vulnerability study and the resulting Statement of Work are both classified documents, said Cohen.

An electro magnetic pulse, which could be caused by a large explosion (particularly a nuclear bomb), theoretically could generate a huge electrical surge that might damage nearby electrical components and computer systems.

"The government is starting to realize that firewalls and security processes and procedures, while absolutely necessary, don't do everything necessary," Kevin Murray, vice president of government services at TestPros, Inc., of Reston, VA, told GSN. "This software assurance initiative is an effort to lock down the code itself."

Interested parties can contact Jay D. Cohen, contracting officer, at 540-542-2133.

Jacob Goodwin - May 12, 2008 - posted at  http://www.gsnmagazine.com/cms/resources/business-opportunities/750.html

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 05/15/2008 - 11:39am.