The 8th Chapter of Amos

Vision of the Summer Fruit

Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, a basket of summer fruit. And He said, “Amos, what do you see?”

So I said, “A basket of summer fruit.”

Then the Lord said to me:

“The end has come upon My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore. And the songs of the temple shall be wailing in that day,” says the Lord God—“Many dead bodies everywhere, they shall be thrown out in silence.”

Hear this, you who swallow up the needy, and make the poor of the land fail,

Saying: “When will the New Moon be past, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may trade wheat? Making the ephah small and the shekel large, falsifying the scales by deceit, that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals—even sell the bad wheat?”

The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their works.

Shall the land not tremble for this, and everyone mourn who dwells in it? All of it shall swell like the River, heave and subside Like the River of Egypt.

“And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the Lord God, “that I will make the sun go down at noon, And I will darken the earth in broad daylight;

I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist, and baldness on every head; I will make it like mourning for an only son, And its end like a bitter day.

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “that I will send a famine on the land,
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it. In that day the fair virgins and strong young men Shall faint from thirst. Those who swear by the sin of Samaria, Who say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan!’ And, ‘As the way of Beersheba lives!’ They shall fall and never rise again.”

EIS Council – The Risk to National Continuity

In the United States, as throughout the developed world, our nation is sustained by complex infrastructures that produce and provide all the resources used in modern societies. Yet nearly all are seeing explosive, unprecedented evolution and increasing interconnectivity, binding the interlocked systems critical to our survival into ever tighter, interdependent development.

Growing far faster than our ability to understand or protect it, this spiraling interdependency is giving rise to a new and disturbing societal vulnerability. If it cannot be resolved, our nation will be at catastrophic risk.

Nuclear Proliferation

Under the control of a dangerously unstable ruler, North Korea’s growing arsenal is already estimated at 20 nuclear warheads. Iran’s nuclear ambitions remain unchecked. With over 120 nuclear missiles deployed with “local commanders,” missiles from Pakistan’s arsenal – projected to become the 3rd largest in the world after the U.S. and Russia in four years – are vulnerable to black market transfer from cash-starved Islamabad to ISIS or other entities.

Even one missile, launched in an EMP attack from a disguised freighter in the Gulf of Mexico, could shut down the power grid in half the U.S.. Without new planning, the shutdown would be months, or years.


National security and corporate sources broadly agree that America’s critical lifeline infrastructure is at risk of permanent shutdown if cyber-attacks like Stuxnet damage widely deployed generators and transformers that take years to replace.

Grid Attack

In a now infamous article, the Wall Street Journal publicly released the information that terrorist attack on ten key power grid nodes – similar to the successful sniper attack on PG&E’s Metcalf Transmission Substation – could shut down power to half the nation.

The Protection Gap

Known as “Black Sky hazards,” such EMP, cyber or grid node attacks would cause cascading failures of all lifeline infrastructures, from water, wastewater and food to pharmaceuticals, transportation and communication. Recently projected large-scale natural hazards – a severe regional earthquake or extreme terrestrial or solar weather – also fit this hazard category, with comparable, devastating impact. The resilience investments and coordinated, multi-sector planning essential to address these catastrophic threats have not – yet – taken place.


Download PDF: The Risk to National Security

Dolphins in the Mountains

Zeus, the father of the Olympic Gods, turned mid-day into night, hiding the light of the dazzling Sun; and sore fear came upon men… Nothing can be surprising any more or impossible or miraculous, now that Zeus, father of the Olympians has made night out of noonday, hiding the bright sunlight, and… fear has come upon mankind. After this, men can believe anything, expect anything. Don’t any of you be surprised in future if land beasts change places with dolphins and go to live in their salty pastures, and get to like the sounding waves of the sea more than the land, while the dolphins prefer the mountains.

Archilochus, Greek poet
April 6th, -647 BCE (Archilochus’ Eclipse)

Black Sky Hazards and Systems Engineering


Growing risks to our tightly interwoven infrastructures, on an unprecedented scale, have put national continuity, and our lives, in jeopardy. There is now a unique opportunity to meet this challenge.

Emerging “Black Sky” hazards ranging from largescale cyber or electromagnetic-pulse attacks to extreme space weather or regional earthquake zones could cause subcontinent-scale power outages – a new class of extreme risks to the United States and the industrialized world. Water, fuel, and the other utilities our lives depend on cannot function without electricity, and cascading infrastructure failures would disrupt the resources essential for power grid restoration and restart, amplifying and expanding the outage and the cascading failures.

If we cannot find a solution, the first of these extreme hazards to strike the United States would be devastating. It would mean the end of our society, as we know it today.

Over the last five decades U.S. aerospace companies invented, developed and refined a powerful new methodology to found our high-tech world. Smoothly integrating the hyper-complexities of diverse disciplines into the dependable high-tech tools and devices we now take for granted, systems engineering has become the fundamental organizing principle used to integrate and transform disparate technologies into satellites, aircraft carriers and spaceships.

As the new Administration in Washington D.C. begins detailing its ambitious goals for securing the nation’s infrastructures, understanding the Black Sky resilience shortfalls and interdependencies putting our lifeline infrastructures and national continuity at risk will be essential. To accomplish this, and look to industry to build the coordinated solutions that will be essential, systems engineering will be an indispensable tool.

And the work has already begun.


Download PDF: Black Sky Hazards & Systems Engineering PDF

Black Sky / Black Start Protection Initiative (BSPI)

It is vitally important to note, however, that the Black Start system was not designed to address Black Sky Hazards.  The Black Sky / Black Start Protection Initiative (BSPITM) examines Black Sky- associated limitations of the Black Start system, along with recommended enhancements and system architecture adaptations, as a starting point to consider upgrades to that system to address the extreme hazard scenarios represented by Black Sky Hazards.


Download PDF: Black Sky / Black Start Protection Initiative