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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

EMP Threat in the News


With the surge in popularity of the book "One Second After", more and more news and dicussion can be found in all media concerning electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and the threat of EMP being the catalyst for our coming collapse.

The following information was released by the Heritage Foundation: By Michaela Bendikova and Jessica Zuckerman

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the U.S. would have devastating effects. On August 15, 2003, a major blackout occurred throughout the northeastern U.S. and Canada, offering a glimpse of what life would be like after an EMP attack. More than 55 million people were affected, but most services were restored within a day.

That would not be the case after an EMP. Damage to lives and property would be immense, and the ensuing devastation would continue for years, if not decades. Yet despite this substantial threat, the U.S. remains largely vulnerable to such an attack.

In order to raise recognition of the threat and begin a national dialogue, Congress should establish August 15 as National EMP Awareness Day.

When the Lights Go Out

A successful EMP attack-a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by a rapid acceleration of charged particles-would fundamentally change the world: Airplanes would fall from the sky; Most cars would be inoperable; Electrical devices would fail; Water, sewer, and electrical networks would fail simultaneously; and Systems of banking, energy, transportation, food production and delivery, water, emergency services, and even cyberspace would collapse.

UrbanMan's comment:  Take a minute to think about what those changes would mean - total infrastructure collapse - The End Of The World As We Know It.  Do you have a plan for what you are doing to do (immediate steps) with EMP hitting when you are at work?,..out shopping?,...or other normal life events?   

It would take years-possibly decades-to restore the U.S. electricity supply. Recovery abilities would be critically limited, and the country would be challenged to support current population levels. Millions would likely die.

Launching an Attack

One of the most effective means of delivering an EMP attack is detonating nuclear weapons at a high altitude. Energetic particles released during the explosion would disable, damage, or destroy all unhardened electronic devices within the line of sight of the detonation.

A rogue state would not need a long-range ballistic missile to deliver a nuclear warhead. Even short-range ballistic missiles carrying an EMP device or a nuclear warhead launched from a ship off the U.S. coast could impact millions. Today, over 30 countries, including Iran and North Korea, possess ballistic missile capabilities.

An EMP can also be created by a radio-frequency weapon. While comparatively easier and cheaper than a nuclear weapon mounted on a missile, a radio-frequency device must be detonated close to the target and does not produce as much damage.

Additionally, an EMP can be generated during a Carrington event, or space weather. In 1859, British astronomer Richard Carrington observed an unusually large solar flare. It reached earth minutes later and had a significant impact on telegraphs, which shocked their operators unconscious. A solar flare of this magnitude today would have a much more devastating impact, as modern society depends heavily on electronic devices.

Rejected Warnings and Failures in Preparedness

While the U.S. government has been aware of the threat of an EMP effect since its 1962 Starfish Prime nuclear weapons test, little has been done to harden civilian infrastructure. Key military systems were hardened during the Cold War, but interest in the EMP threat dropped precipitously after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Recommendations of various congressionally mandated commissions, such as the EMP Commission and the Quadrennial Defense Review Panel, have not fully materialized, despite increasing U.S. civilian and military reliance on electronic devices.

Today, comprehensive threat assessments and scenario planning for EMP attacks remain underdeveloped. At the federal level, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to lack a national recovery plan in the event of an EMP attack. Similarly, an EMP event has not been included within the National Planning Scenarios.

These high-consequence scenarios form the basis of federal, state, and local disaster response exercises that are intended to help determine response and recovery capabilities and needs and address problems before a disaster occurs. Given the potentially catastrophic consequences of an EMP attack and the unique nature of the threat, an EMP event should be added to the list of scenarios.

At the same time, state and local governments also remain poorly prepared for an EMP attack. These vulnerabilities are magnified by the fact that the federal government also remains unprepared and would likely be unable to render assistance in the event of an EMP attack.

Take Action Now

Bringing attention to the threat with a National EMP Awareness Day would help, but awareness should be joined with action. In order to prevent and mitigate the effects of a potential EMP attack, the U.S. government should: Improve and restructure U.S. missile defense programs.

Improved command-and-control features and interceptors tied to forward-deployed radar would give the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor the ability to counter long-range ballistic missiles in the late midcourse stage of flight.

Additionally, the government should improve the SM-3's ability to intercept short-range ballistic missiles in the ascent phase of flight. Ultimately, the U.S. should develop and deploy space-based missile defense, the best way to protect the U.S. and allies from a ballistic missile threat.

Demand that the Administration develop a National Recovery Plan.

The EMP Commission emphasized that the nation should first improve the infrastructure on which all other sectors are dependent, specifically citing electrical power and telecommunications. This risk-based approach recognizes that certain infrastructure is key to post-EMP attack recovery. EMP should also be added to the list of 15 National Disaster Scenarios.

Determine which countries could attack.

The U.S. should produce a national intelligence estimate on which countries are pursuing EMP weapons and associated delivery systems and platforms or are already capable of launching an EMP attack. Preparing for an attack means understanding one's opponents and how they are incorporating EMP weapons into their strategic postures.

It is essential that policymakers have the most recent intelligence at their hands so that they can determine how best to respond to EMP threats as they arise.

Prepare and protect the nation's cyber infrastructure.

Cyber infrastructure is dependent on the power grid-which makes it a unique challenge in an EMP scenario. Thus, contingency planning should explore ways to keep the cyber system functioning without primary power; it should also explore ways to protect cyber circuit boards from the deleterious effects of a large burst of energy in the network.

As such, Congress should direct the Department of Defense and DHS to review their cyber systems, incorporating the recommendations of the EMP Commission, including identification of the most critical elements of the cyber system that must be hardened against an EMP attack.

The commission also recommends that preparedness planning account for the interdependency between the nation's cyber infrastructure and other elements of the broader infrastructure. Overall, the key to countering an EMP is to put barriers in place to prevent cascading failures in the nation's infrastructure.

Require more research.

In addition to raising national awareness, more research is needed on the risk associated with an EMP attack to ensure that the nation understands the full scope of the threat and how to close critical vulnerability gaps.

Protect the Nation

The U.S. has the technology to protect itself from the effects of a deliberate attack or space weather. It is a no-brainer that the government should pursue these options and "provide for the common defense." The nation should not continue to underestimate the threat of an EMP attack.


  1. UrbanMan, I work in the Power Generation world and one thing not covered in your comments is the huge expense of maintaining a back up inventory for power distribution, IE: Transformers,these are mostly "one of" and manufactured to customer spec. There are literally tens of thousands of these in use and are in various voltages and KVA ratings. It would bankrupt any Power Corporation to build and store spares against an EMP or other event. Couple that to the problem/expense of repairing/replacing the ruined Generating plants and you have an insurmountable problem. Consider this, with the Grid down from an EMP most if not all backup power generators will be damaged. Where do you get the power to run the plants to make new Transformers, Generators, power cabling et al required to rebuild the Grid? It becomes a question of how do you build the tools needed to build the tools to rebuild the Power Infrastructure? It took over one hundred years to put the current infrastructure in place. It will take almost as long to repace it. Just my humble observation. TTFN Phil

  2. I'm new to your site; yet, I noticed you have some of Jesse's Con. Theo. links on here.

    Not to make matters worse; but, have you seen the ones where he tells how the rich/elite are basically going underground and leaving the rest of us to deal with the chaos? D e n v e r A i r p o r t underground city?

    Also, if you look up Georgia Guideposts or American Stonehenge you will see one of the ultimate goals...Maintain the population under 500,000,000. Based on several things I've seen, there are multiple plans for reducing the population and causing ongoing chaos.

    The effects of the coming solar flares or CME's (?)/ power grids... can be a problem on up to the end of 2013; as in flares up to that time.

    As for the F E M A camps. Preppers, Christians, people who protested in anything, etc. are to be picked up and detained.

    May God Help Us.

  3. PS that 500,000,000 for the entire globe.

  4. The EMP threat is totally over rated and hyped. First of all an EMP attack on the U.S. is an nuclear attack and would result in a nuclear retalliation. THAT would be much worse for everyone then an EMP attack. Second EMP is spotty and not nearly as effective as claimed. At best it might take out 90% of electronics directly below the device and 50% within a 100 mile radius and by 200 miles people would be unaware it even happened. Third the damage is also overstated. The electric distribution system is more robust then most imagine and sudden large surges tend to take out the weak links and fuses and not damage 99.99% of the system. An EMP in the best scenario is unlikely to harm a transfomer. The real risk to transformers is long overloads not micro-second bursts. Power would be restored far quicker then most believe.

    My theory as to why the EMP is so hyped in prepper circles is simple and logical: It is a preppers wet dream. That is we are left alive. We then survive and even thrive because we prepared. And all those who laugh at us and didn't prepare suffer. Now that is vindication.

    1. I think your theory relies on an over simplified view of how EMPs and electricity works. It isn't a surge in Cincinnati Ohio, traveling up the grid until it fines a week spot. It's every single inch of cable (miles of which in every generator and transformer) suddenly self immolating in thousands if not millions of volts of electricity as a sudden magnetic field rips the electrons right out of the copper atoms itself.

      Also, your 200-mile radius estimates are based on the Starfish Prime experiment, which was only one relatively weak bomb, many hundreds of miles away from any city, not detonated at a 'perfect' altitude to create an EMP, and effecting 1960's technology - which was far more robust than what we use today.

      You’ve also assumed we would know who launched the missiles (subs live underwater…) and failed to account for governments who really don’t care if we know they did it because they have no problem with dying and getting their virgin on with Allah…

      I would suggest additional reading.

  5. I worked as a consultant BPA and private electric generation utilities, I do indeed know and understand the systems and their strengths and weaknessess. About the only thing you got correct is that the surge goes through the system until it finds a weak spot.

    The intensity of an EMP decreases over distance based on the inverse square law. Distance is it's enemy and a single large EMP device wouldn't be enough to affect even 5% of our electrical grid. It would take at a minimum 24 such devices distributed over the country in an exact grid to have the effect often attributed to EMP devices. Even then it's damage would be spotty mostly due to the fact and EMP is effective in line of sight only and any natural physical barrier would protect electronic equipment. Further the damage would be less dramatic then often expressed probably not to include actual high voltage or distribution lines or transformers. Typical damage would be burnt out fuses/breakers and connections to transformers. In other words the weak spots.

    We would know where the missile came from before it hit. We would know who was in that location within hours to days and chemical tests on the fallout would tell us who built the bomb, where it was built and within a year or so when it was built. Yes we would know who did it.

    The real risk, at least as it involves nuclear devices, is a single or multiple devices smuggled into the country in shipping containers and detonated near or in large cities. This is a very real threat and would do considerably more damage then an EMP.

    An EMP is the most incredibly stupid choice for any nation with the capability to build and use one. It would be a nuclear attack and would invoke a massive retaliatory attack. Any country considering attacking us with nukes would have to go for and hope for a massive suprise attack. This would require at a minimum 2000 nukes and probably 4000 would double the chance of success.

  6. If you want a low cost/low detection method of deploying an EMP then consider this. EMP devices attached to high altitude weather balloons launched from cargo ships in the Pacific and Atlantic with GPS and altimeters attached. Once they have reached the proper altitude and location they are remotely detonated. No missile, low to no detection and anybody can buy a weather balloon nowadays.

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