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Thinking in a small box

I work in IT. One of the areas that I deal with is Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning. It is basically Survival and Prepping for companies and pretty much the same process goes into it. You identify potential threats, analyse them and if it is deemed significant you mitigate against it.

I was chairing a meeting not so long ago regarding a clients request for a risk analysis on the just announced EMP terrorist threat. Our technical guys understand EMP, TEMPEST, etc. from a pure technical point of view including the figures on relevant equipment and the steps necessary to mitigate. So we basically refreshed our understanding and updated the last risk analysis with new information on the latest technology, any new mitigation ideas and an analysis of the likelihood of terrorism in this area. The techies task then is to actually produce an nice formatted document for me to sign and present to the client.

It was interesting to note that highly paid technical experts, and these guys are very technical experts, can look at something in isolation. They can look at the collapse of infrastructure and the transport grid, they can predict the follow on impact of those issues and the resultant shortage of food and waster and from that extrapolate a certain number of deaths. Then they put it in a report and simply ignore that those numbers cover them as well and what that means to them. Even though they are in a better financial situation than most people their wealth is all in stocks and shares, their home, bank accounts and a pension scheme. None which will feed and water them in an event.

The customer who received this report escalated this to the board, which I attended for a Q&A session, who provided funding for the additional mitigation, most were already covered, and yet none of those either seemed to consider the impact on them personally or their families. They all ignored the elephant in the room. I wonder what causes this? This seems to be something that occurs in several different areas of our society. History shows we ignore the elephant in the room even when it is our lives that are in direct danger and we continue to do it today.

I wonder what it will take to make people sit up and take notice of what is being said? What is predicted. What it means to them and their families and what they should be doing about that. Will it be when it is too late or will they wake up whilst there is still time?

This question causes me a dilemma, at the same time I wonder if we actually want some of these people around after an event. It seems to me that the people who are in a better position to prepare, those that have the money for a place in the country, acres of land and the finances to purchase years worth of supplies, tools and equipment are the ones we don’t want to have around. They are the politicians, the senior managers and the sort of people that got us into this mess. It isn’t black or white of course as I’m generalising as usual but it is a real issue. One that so far we have not had to consider.

4 comments to Thinking in a small box

  • name(required)

    Maybe they’re worried about non-nuclear EMP?

  • Skean Dhude


    Perhaps. However, the predictions of food shortages, lack of water, infrastruture collapse pretty much happens regardless of the source of the EMP.

  • Skvez

    I suspect most of these people believe they will be able to buy their way out of the problem. It’s something they’re used to doing day in / day out.
    They overlook that the banks will be down or believe that the £1k they have stashed in their house somewhere will actually be able to buy a sueful amount of food. I guess I might trade a single energy bar for it (£1k) to use as toilet paper or fire starting material.

  • Skean Dhude


    I think you must be right. It is the only thing that makes sense.

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