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Showing posts with label electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. Show all posts
Showing posts with label electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. Show all posts

Thursday, October 1, 2015

America Unprepared For Devastating 'Black Swan'

Urban Man- Here is another interesting story I just read in regards to EMP issues.

WASHINGTON – Supply-chain disruptions often are the result of adverse weather, unplanned telecom outages, data breaches or even cyber hacking.

However, the one “Black Swan” event that would make these instances pale by comparison and result in a cascading disruption is a natural or man-made electromagnetic pulse event.

A “Black Swan” is an event regarded at the time of its occurrence as unprecedented and unexpected but later, in hindsight, understood to have been inevitable.

An EMP is in that category, since scientific experts repeatedly warn that a major EMP event is not a question of if, but when.

Barrett Moore, a security specialist and founder of the security company Triple Canopy, told WND that federal officials have modeled the effects of a “Black Swan” event on the timely delivery of food, water, fuel, medical care and technology. But they have done it primarily for the government’s benefit.

Michael Maloof’s “A Nation Forsaken” exposes the catastrophic vulnerability scientists and other experts have been warning about for years

“Seeing potential for large-scale chaos,” Barrett said, “they have mitigated this risk for themselves by investing hundreds of billions of dollars in a continuity-of-government plan that has overseen the construction, equipping and provisioning of over 100 classified ‘haven’ facilities accessible only to families and staff of government officials,” he said.

“No parallel provisions have been made in our country for the general population,” he said.

Years ago, Barrett noted, there were civil-defense centers in which the local population could assemble in the event of an emergency, stocked with food, water and essential medicines. But they disappeared in the 1960s.

Consideration, he said, should be given to bringing them back as one type of “safe haven” for the general population.


A recent survey shows that an EMP event is not on the radar of professionals whose industry is part of the supply chain.

A 2014 Supply Chain Resilience Survey, conducted by the Business Continuity Institute on behalf of the Zurich Insurance Group, asked the professionals to look five years ahead regarding potential, evolving world threats

They ranked the biggest threat as cyber attacks, followed in order by IT/telecom outages, outsourcer service failure, data breaches and adverse weather conditions.

Yet, supply-chain disruption caused by an EMP – a super-burst of energetic radio waves that could knock out the already vulnerable national grid – can either destroy or damage unprotected electronic systems by instantly overloading their circuits.

The immediate result would be catastrophic damage to all the critical infrastructures that rely on the grid, including automated control systems for electric power, telecommunications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water distribution and emergency services.

A natural EMP event would be a direct hit on Earth from a massive solar storm, while a man-made EMP would be a high-altitude nuclear bomb burst instigated by any adversarial country with a nuclear weapon and a missile-delivery system.

Given the level of U.S. unpreparedness, it is estimated that within 12 months of an EMP event, two-thirds to 90 percent of the U.S. population would likely perish from starvation, disease and societal breakdown, according to the Secure the Grid Coalition.

The coalition is an ad hoc group of policy, energy and national security experts, legislators and industry insiders dedicated to strengthening the U.S. electrical grid by seeking the passage of legislation and raising public awareness of the national and international threat of an EMP.

‘Keystone’ infrastructure at risk

One of the coalition’s spokesmen is Peter Vincent Pry, who told WND that “political gridlock” in Washington has hindered the implementation of any of a number of cost-effective plans to protect the national electrical grid.

He said the electric grid is the “keystone” infrastructure necessary to recover all other critical infrastructures. Protection of the grid from an EMP – which Pry said is the “worst threat” – will also enhance overall grid security against all other threats including cyber attack, sabotage and severe weather.

Pry is a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency who serves as executive director of the congressional Task Force on National and Homeland Security and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum.

Pry also was staff director of the congressionally mandated EMP Commission, which in 2008 looked at the impact of an EMP on the nation’s vital infrastructure.

Among other things, the commission recommended an “all hazards” strategy to protect the electric grid and other critical infrastructures against all threats.

Pry said the “all hazards” strategy is the most practical and cost-effective solution to protecting the grid and the other critical infrastructures.

He pointed out that electric grid operation and vulnerability are dependent on two key technologies – extra-high voltage, or EHV, transformers and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems, or SCADAS.

“EHV transformers are the technological foundation of our modern electronic civilization as they make it possible to transmit electric power over great distances,” Pry said.

They cost millions of dollars and are custom-made rather than mass-produced. Making one EHV takes about 18 months under normal conditions, and only 200 are made a year.

While EHV transformers were invented in the United States by Nikolai Tesla, Pry said, they no longer are manufactured in the U.S.

“Because of their great size and cost,” he said, “U.S. electric utilities have very few spare EHV transformers. The U.S. must import EHV transformers made in Germany or South Korea, the only two nations in the world that make them for export.

“An event that damages hundreds – or even as few as nine – of the 2,000 EHV transformers in the United States could plunge the nation into a protracted blackout lasting months or even years,” Pry said.

SCADAS are small computers that run the electric grid and all the critical infrastructures. For example, they regulate the flow of electric current through EHV transformers, the flow of natural gas or water through pipelines, the flow of data through communications and financial systems and operate everything “from traffic control lights to refrigerators in regional food warehouses.”

SCADAS number in the millions and are indispensable as EHV transformers in running a modern electronic civilization, Pry said.

“The EMP Commission found that if the electric grid can be protected and quickly recover from nuclear EMP, the other critical infrastructures can also be recovered, with good planning, quickly enough to prevent mass starvation and restore society to normalcy,” Pry recently told a congressional panel.

“If EHV transformers, SCADAS and other critical components are protected from the worst threat – nuclear EMP – then they will survive, or damage will be greatly mitigated, from all lesser threats, including natural EMP from geomagnetic storms, severe weather, sabotage, and cyber attack,” he said.

Pry said cyber warfare is another existential threat to the U.S., not because of computer viruses and hacking alone, but owing to military doctrines of potential adversaries that call for all-out cyber attack, including an EMP.

Pry told the congressional panel that a 2011 U.S. Army War College study, “In The Dark: Planning for a Catastrophic Critical Infrastructure Event,” warned U.S. Cyber Command that U.S. doctrine should not overly focus on computer viruses to the exclusion of an EMP attack and the full spectrum of other threats, as planned by potential adversaries.

Pry said anti-hacking and anti-virus solutions will just result in an “endless virus versus anti-virus software arms race” that will prove “unaffordable and futile.”

He said the worst-case cyber scenario can be overcome through an “all hazards” strategy recommended by the congressional EMP Commission. He said the worst-case scenario envisions a computer virus infecting the SCADAS that regulate the flow of electricity into EHV transformers, damaging the transformers with overvoltage and causing a protracted national blackout.

But if the transformers are protected with surge arrestors against a high-altitude nuclear EMP attack which Pry said would be the worst kind of attack, they “would be unharmed by the worst possible overvoltage that might be system-generated by any computer virus.”

“While gridlock in Washington has prevented the federal government from protecting the national electric power infrastructure, threats to the grid – and to the survival of the American people – from EMP and other hazards are looming ever larger,” Pry said. “Grid vulnerability to EMP and other threats is now a clear and present danger.”

Urban Man-

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.