Date: July 15, 2011
Abstract: In 2009, former House Speaker and current struggling GOP presidential
candidate Newt Gingrich gave the keynote address at a conference in Niagara
Falls organized by an obscure Washington advocacy group called EMPact America. The self-proclaimed Republican "ideas
man" was there to raise awareness of a national security issue that few
people outside of DC have even heard of: the possibility of an electromagnetic
pulse (EMP) attack against the United States.
According to Gingrich, EMP may be the greatest single threat facing America today. Such a blast, in theory, could shut down the continent's electrical grid. As he tells it, a terrorist group or rogue state could launch a nuclear missile against the American heartland, only instead of exploding it in the middle of a city as would be expected, the weapon would be designed to detonate miles in the atmosphere. The blast is too high to cause death or devastation on the ground, but the surge of electrical particles produced by the bomb scatters down to Earth and affects electronics like a giant bolt of lightning, crashing electrical gadgets for hundreds of miles. Cars, telephones, power stations: all silenced in a flash.
The scariness of the EMP threat comes from its falling dominoes nature: an electrical surge overloads a power transformer, which disables a regional grid; repairs are next to impossible because automobiles can also be affected. Fuel deliveries are held up. Food begins to spoil, and society starts to break down. If an EMP attack occurs in the right place -- say a nuclear bomb detonated over Nebraska -- the entire continental United States could feel the impact.
At least that's how the story goes.
As with many things in Washington, a cottage industry of lobbyists, specialists, and ex-government officials has come together to attest to the danger of an EMP attack. Ballistic missile defense seems to be the panacea for this group's concern, though a generous dose of preemption and war on terror are often prescribed as well. Congress even created a special EMP commission in 2001 to study the issue and make recommendations to government and industry. It seems the only ones who take the time to talk about EMP publicly, however, are those who believe it to be the paramount threat facing America. According to their warnings over the last decade, our vulnerability worsens every day, and that vulnerability invites an attack.
For example, EMPact America, the group that hosted the conference at Niagara Falls, has been on a lobbying blitz in recent weeks to pass the SHIELD Act. The bill, which is backed by the Congressional "EMP Caucus" (yes, such a thing exists) is intended to protect the electrical grid of the continental United States from the effects of an EMP attack. EMPact America even produces a weekly, hour-long radio show devoted entirely to the issue, with recent guests including former CIA Director James Woolsey and Congressman Trent Franks. What sort of response have these warnings gotten so far? In Washington's nuclear arms control circles, where I've spent the past few months working as part of my research on the Iranian nuclear program, they're not really taken seriously.
But how can one side of a debate claim something threatens the very fiber of U.S. civilization, without getting so much as a nod in return? Serious public figures have taken up the cause: Congressmen, generals, scientists and strategists, all without much policy movement to show for their efforts.
It may be that a terrorist, after going through the trouble of acquiring a nuclear warhead and a missile capable of delivering it to America's shores, would be a fool to employ the ultimate weapon in such a cockamamie fashion. The effects of an EMP are far from universal; according to one commissioned study, a best-case scenario would impact 70 percent of electronics, while a worst-case estimate could be as low as 5 percent. Far better from the terrorist's perspective to deliver the bomb as it was intended, rather than hang his hopes on a series of unpredictable events and second- or third-order consequences. After all, a nuclear bomb need not be made any more devastating to serve a terrorist's purposes.
A slightly more plausible scenario could involve a state actor who, facing a vastly superior U.S. military massed on its border, might consider launching an EMP attack against U.S. troops as a way of evening the playing field. Because the U.S. military is much more highly dependent on technology than others, a rogue state facing the threat of invasion could conceivably attempt such a tactic against invading forces in the hopes that it could damage their capabilities without incurring the totally devastating retaliation that a "regular" nuclear strike would surely provoke. Of course, a wide-ranging EMP would knock out his own electronics as much as it would anyone else's, so even this scenario is a bit far-fetched.
But not as far-fetched as it may seem. One country's military has already come close to employing this tactic on the battlefield: our own. In 1991, Newsweek reported that General Norman Schwarzkopf sought authorization to use a nuclear EMP to cripple Saddam Hussein's forces at the start of the Gulf War. President George H.W. Bush nixed the plan, probably because the U.S. isn't in the habit of launching nuclear strikes of even the non-lethal kind, but the idea was tempting enough that this warfighter took it to his bosses for approval.
The bulk of the political debate today over EMP focuses on how disastrous it would be if the entire country's power went off all at once, which arms control experts argue is, to put it mildly, unlikely. Even "ideas man" Gingrich boils things down to a biblical catastrophe waiting to happen, but the reality is much more complicated. Nuclear weapons, after all, are more than enough of a threat in their own right. Putting too much emphasis on something as unlikely as an EMP attack against the American heartland risks distracting much-needed attention and resources away from threats that are simply more plausible.
As the Republican presidential primary heats up, Gingrich or another conservative voice may try to use the EMP "threat" as a campaign issue. So far, it has not been much of a political winner. Of course, when it comes to the politics of national security, it's often the loudest voice, not the most informed, that prevails (Atlantic, 2011).
Time For A National EMP Awareness Day
Date: August 8, 2011
Source: Heritage Foundation
Abstract: An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) produced by the detonation of a nuclear weapon at high altitude or as the result of unusually powerful solar activity (often called severe space weather) could produce catastrophic destruction in the United States. Congress has long deliberated this threat, but it has not produced substantive legislative guidance or demonstrated effective oversight. The Administration and federal agencies remain mostly ambivalent. It is time to make August 15 National EMP Awareness Day to wake up America’s nation’s leaders. This should be recognized as a clear and present danger—one that could be devastating if it finds the nation ill-prepared.
An EMP is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles. A wave of EMP creates three chaotic effects. First, the electromagnetic shock can disrupt electrical devices. The second effect is similar to lightning—a power surge that would burn circuits and immobilize electronic components and systems. The third is a pulse effect that flows through electricity transmission lines, damaging distribution centers and fusing power lines. Any of these can cause irreversible damage to an electronic system.
EMPs can be generated in various manners, but the cause of greatest concern is a high-altitude burst of a nuclear weapon. Another particularly dangerous source of EMP might be a repeat of the Carrington Event. On September 1, 1859, British astronomer Richard Carrington observed an unusually large solar flare. Minutes later, the flare reached Earth. Telegraph operators were shocked unconscious. Their machines caught on fire as the EMP effect from the flare surged through the lines. When this event occurred, only a small portion of the world was electrified. A solar flare of this magnitude today might have a much more devastating impact. “An event that could incapacitate the network for a long time,” stated one participant in a U.S. National Academies of Science study, “could be one of the largest natural disasters that we could face.”
The result of a massive EMP event could be devastating. Communications would collapse, transportation would halt, and electrical power would simply be nonexistent. Not even a global humanitarian effort would be enough to keep hundreds of millions of Americans from death by starvation, exposure, or lack of medicine. Nor would the catastrophe stop at U.S. borders. Most of Canada would be devastated, too, as its infrastructure is integrated with the U.S. power grid. Without the American economic engine, the world economy would quickly collapse. Much of the world’s intellectual brain power (half of it is in the United States) would be lost as well. Earth would most likely recede into the “new” Dark Ages.
A Day to Think About
the Day After
To increase congressional awareness of this issue, we proposed a Congressional EMP Awareness Day, arguing that if, just for one day, Congress simulated even a fraction of the impact such an attack would have (from shutting off their BlackBerries to turning off the lights), the scope of the danger would be clear. The date proposed was March 23, 2011. In a speech on March 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan detailed his plans for the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). SDI was aimed at ensuring America’s safety against a nuclear missile attack by implementing land-based and space-based defense systems. Reagan’s vision was never completely realized, but the missile threats against the United States have never dissipated. Particularly since a ballistic missile could be used to deliver an EMP attack, the need for such a system grows more pressing. Thus, March 23 would have been an excellent date for Congress to observe EMP Awareness Day.
Yet despite the fact that six national commissions and major independent U.S. government studies have independently concurred with the significance of the danger, Congress has yet to act in a substantive manner. For the most part, U.S. government agencies have not taken planning for their response to an EMP attack out of the theoretical stages.
Alerting the American
All Americans need to understand what their leaders in Washington know and what they are not doing with the information. Therefore, we propose a new date for National EMP Awareness Day: August 15. On August 15, 2003, a major blackout occurred throughout the northeastern United States and Canada. More than 55 million people received a brief object lesson in what life would be like after an EMP event. For the most part, services were restored within a day. That would not be the case after an EMP event.
EMP Day should cause all Americans to think about what Washington ought to be doing about this grave danger. Washington should:
Fund comprehensive missile defense. Building a comprehensive missile defense system will allow the U.S. to intercept and destroy a missile bound for the United States, regardless of the launch point or the objective—whether the attack is aimed at destroying a city or engaging in an EMP attack.
Demand the Administration develop a National Recovery Plan and a plan to respond to severe space weather emergencies. In order to minimize lives lost and property destroyed, the United States needs a plan that will address its ability to recover quickly after an attack or space weather incident. The EMP Commission emphasized that the nation must first improve the infrastructure on which all other sectors are dependent, specifically citing electric 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.
Require more research on the EMP threat. More research is needed to ensure that the United States fully understands the scope of the danger and can prepare cost-effective countermeasures.Simply recognizing the EMP threat would go a long way toward better preparing America for the unthinkable (Heritage Foundation, 2011).
Even A Hurricane Is As Bad As An EMP Attack
Date: August 30, 2011
Source: Heritage Foundation
Abstract: Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast and left more than 6 million homes and businesses without power. Transportation services were disrupted as a result of the hurricane. More than a million people got an idea of what it would be like if the United States were attacked by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon. An EMP would cause current and voltage surges and burn out the semi-conductor chips of all electronic devices within the line of sight. An EMP is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles caused by nuclear weapons, non-nuclear weapons (radio-frequency weapons), or geomagnetic storms (often called space weather).
The most dangerous “EMP scenario” is a nuclear weapon attack. The higher the altitude of a nuclear weapon detonation, the larger the area that is impacted by the EMP. A single nuclear weapon has the potential to instantly send the United States back to the 19th century. Such an attack would likely cause millions of casualties, as basic elements necessary to sustain life in dense urban and suburban communities would not be available.
Because the altitude of the detonation matters, the most effective delivery mechanism for an EMP weapon is a ballistic missile. From long-range missiles currently under development in North Korea and Iran—and already possessed by Russia and China—to short-range nuclear-tipped missiles launched from vessels, submarines, or container ships off the U.S. coast, the United States remains vulnerable to an EMP attack.
To address this threat, it is essential to expand the ballistic missile protection of the U.S. homeland. A system better than the current one would be comprised of Aegis ballistic missile defense capable ships; Aegis Ashore, a land-based missile defense component; and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle capabilities. So far, the Obama Administration’s record is questionable. It has made massive cuts to the U.S. missile defense program and cancelled some of the most promising programs.
In addition, for
about $200 million, the United States can harden the major transformers close to major metropolitan areas. This
relatively minor investment could save millions of American lives and should be
appropriated despite the current fiscal constraints (Heritage Foundation, 2011).
Nightmare That Could Be Worse Than 9/11
Date: September 12, 2011
Source: The Foundry
Abstract: After 9/11, an event that Americans and their allies will never forget, the United States focused on a war on terrorism. There is, however, a threat that has been largely ignored—the threat of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), noted by Investor’s Business Daily. In 2004 and 2008, the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack (also known as the EMP Commission) released its reports on how to protect the United States from an EMP. Despite its recommendations, little progress has been made in protecting the country from an EMP attack and its catastrophic consequences.
An EMP is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles. Nuclear and non-nuclear weapons or geomagnetic storms can cause an EMP. An EMP would disrupt electronics, transmission distribution centers, fuses, and power lines, sending the United States back to the 19th century. While an EMP does not kill people, millions would die as the distribution of food, transportation, and delivery of a basic health care would collapse.
Manmade causes of an EMP include a nuclear weapon detonated at a high altitude. Intercontinental-range ballistic missiles are one of the possible means of delivery for such a scenario. Short-range, less technologically challenging, nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles launched off U.S. shores would deliver a similarly devastating attack. North Korea currently possesses nuclear weapons, and its missiles can reach Hawaii and Alaska. Iran continues to improve the range of its ballistic missiles and work towards obtaining nuclear weapons capability. A robust missile defense is essential for protection from this type of attack. Such a missile defense system, composed of Aegis ballistic missile defense capable ships; Aegis Ashore, a land-based missile defense component; and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle capabilities, can deprive the opponent of the opportunity to deliver a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile and cause an EMP in the first place.But an EMP could be inflicted without an organized group behind it. With the right equipment, a lone terrorist could cause a blackout of a city—with commercially available equipment. Time is running short. For about $200 million, the United States can harden the major transformers associated with large metropolitan areas. This would allow more people to survive the consequences of an EMP. If the electrical power grid were destroyed, it would take years to replace critical transformers, since only a few countries build them; it takes more than a year to make one transformer. The United States can and has the obligation to prevent another “failure of imagination.” The time to act is now (The Foundry, 2011).
Life After An EMP Attack: No Power, No Food, No Transportation, No Banking And
Date: September 19, 2011
Source: American Dream
Abstract: Most Americans do not know this, but a single EMP attack could potentially wipe out most of the electronics in the United States and instantly send this nation back to the 1800s. If a nuclear bomb was exploded high enough in the atmosphere over the middle part of the country, the electromagnetic pulse would fry electronic devices from coast to coast. The damage would be millions of times worse than 9/11. Just imagine a world where nobody has power, most cars will not start, the Internet has been fried, the financial system is offline indefinitely, nobody can make any phone calls and virtually all commerce across the entire country is brought to a complete stop. A nation that does not know how to live without technology would be almost entirely stripped of it at that point. Yes, this could really happen. An EMP attack is America's "Achilles heel", and everyone around the world knows it. It is only a matter of time before someone uses an EMP weapon against us, and at this point we are pretty much completely unprepared.
The sad thing is that we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars hunting down "terrorists" in caves on the other side of the globe and we have been told that because of "national security" it is necessary for our private areas to be touched before we are allowed to get on an airplane, but our government is doing essentially nothing to address what is perhaps our biggest security vulnerability.
What would you and your neighbors do if the power went out and it did not ever come back on?
What would you do if an EMP attack happened in the middle of the winter and you suddenly were not able to heat your home any longer?
What would you do if all the electronics in your car got fried and you simply could not drive anywhere?
What would you do if all the supermarkets in your area shut down because food could not be transported across the country anymore?
What would you do if you were suddenly unable to call your family and friends for help?
What would you do if you were suddenly unable to get the medicine that you needed?
What would you do if your debit cards and credit cards simply did not work any longer and you could not get any of your money out of the bank?
What would you do if all of these things happened all at once?
A single EMP attack would be the worst disaster that the United States has ever seen by far.
An electromagnetic pulse could potentially fry the vast majority of all the microchips in the United States. In an instant, nearly all of our electronic devices would be rendered useless.
Yes, the federal government knows all about this. The following excerpt is from an April 2008 report by the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack....
“The consequences of lack of food, heat (or air conditioning), water, waste disposal, medical, police, fire fighting support, and effective civil authority would threaten society itself.”
Most of us have become completely and totally dependent on electricity and technology. Without it, most of us would be in huge trouble.
The following is how an article in the Wall Street Journal described the potential consequences of an EMP attack....
No American would necessarily die in the initial attack, but what comes next is potentially catastrophic. The pulse would wipe out most electronics and telecommunications, including the power grid. Millions could die for want of modern medical care or even of starvation since farmers wouldn't be able to harvest crops and distributors wouldn't be able to get food to supermarkets. Commissioner Lowell Wood calls EMP attack a "giant continental time machine" that would move us back more than a century in technology to the late 1800s.
It wouldn't be so bad if we had the knowledge and the infrastructure to live the way that they did back in the 1800s, but today that is simply not the case.
Dr. William Graham was Ronald Reagan’s science adviser and the chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack. Dr. Graham believes that in the event of a large scale EMP attack, the vast majority of Americans would either freeze, starve or die from disease.
According to Graham, in the aftermath of an EMP attack life in America "would probably be something that you might imagine life to be like around the late 1800s but with several times the population we had in those days, and without the ability of the country to support and sustain all those people."
Would you be able to survive?
All of those big bank accounts may never be able to be recovered after an EMP attack. Your money might be instantly fried out of existence.
The following is what Graham believes would happen to the financial system in the event of an EMP attack....
“Most financial records are stored electronically. ATMs, which depend upon both power and telecommunications, would not be available; banks, which try to back up records but in general aren’t strongly aware of the EMP problem, would face the problem of unprotected storage and computer systems”
This is the danger of having a financial system that is so dependent on technology. We may wake up one day and find that all the money is gone.
The president of the Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney, is convinced that a single EMP attack could result in the deaths of the vast majority of the population of the United States....
"Within a year of that attack, nine out of 10 Americans would be dead, because we can't support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity"
Are you starting to get a feel for the scope of the problem?
The sad thing is that so much could be done to protect this country from an EMP attack.
Right now, most vital U.S. military infrastructure has at least some protection from an EMP attack.
But the general population has been left completely and totally vulnerable.
It has been estimated that the entire power grid could potentially be protected for about 20 billion dollars. Considering the fact that we have spent over 400 billion dollars in Afghanistan, I think that we could afford it.
We have spent our national security dollars very, very badly and someday it is going to come back to bite us in the rear end.
Right now, other nations around the world are working feverishly to develop EMP weapons. The following is from a statement by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry to the United States Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security on March 8th, 2005....
Russian and Chinese military scientists in open source writings describe the basic principles of nuclear weapons designed specifically to generate an enhanced-EMP effect, that they term "Super-EMP" weapons. "Super-EMP" weapons, according to these foreign open source writings, can destroy even the best protected U.S. military and civilian electronic systems.
But it is not just Russia and China that have been developing "Super-EMP" weapons. According to Newsmax, it is believed that North Korea may have tested a "Super-EMP" weapon back in 2009....
North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states
Remember, all it would take is one strategically placed EMP attack to wipe out this nation.
But an EMP weapon is not the only danger that can produce this type of effect. The truth is that a really bad geomagnetic storm could also potentially produce almost as much damage.
This is something that everyone knows is one of our biggest vulnerabilities and it is something that we can make preparations for.
Yet the Bush administration and the Obama administration have just stood there and have done nothing.
Our idiocy is astounding.
General Eugene Habiger, the former head of U. S. Strategic Command, has said the following about the possibility of an EMP attack in the future....
“It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.”
Remember, this is something that could cause millions times more damage than 9/11 did.
Instead of molesting old ladies at airports and chasing goat herders around the mountains of Afghanistan, perhaps we should be addressing our largest security vulnerabilities.
But that would require using some common sense. Sadly, common sense seems to be in very short supply in Washington D.C. these days.
So if the government is not going to do anything about it, that means that it is up to you to prepare yourself and your family. This world is becoming very unstable and disasters can strike at any time.
We all saw what happened after Hurricane Katrina. The government response was a nightmare. An EMP attack would be millions of times worse and the federal government probably would not even be able to get you and your family any assistance.
You would truly be on your own.
So are you ready?
This is yet another reason why the number of preppers in the United States is exploding. A lot of people can see how the world is changing and they understand that the federal government is not going to come through for them when the chips are down.
An EMP attack could end life as we know it at any time.
It is a glaring security vulnerability and the entire world knows that it is there.I hope that you are getting ready, because the government certainly is not (American Dream, 2011).
EMP Attack Could Devastate The United States
Date: September 16, 2011
Abstract: With the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks now history, the United States needs to address the potential for an electromagnetic pulse or EMP terror attack!
This article will look at the potential for millions of Americans to die in an attack that may initially kill no one!
Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) may be a terrorists weapon of choice that could kill millions without ever reaching the ground! Is this science fiction?
Imagine. US border security becomes so tight a terrorist wouldn't even think of trying to get himself in let alone trying to smuggle in a WMD as well.
Our missile defense systems, all aspects of surveillance and intelligence as well as every other aspect of national and homeland security have been honed to a point that the United States is impenetrable to outside threats.
National and Homeland Security
Given the mentality and priorities of certain parts of our political system we already know that the above scenario of homeland security is highly unlikely.
The Obama administration has certainly not put a very high priority on national security and one could only imagine that this fact is going to remain in place.
Truth be told given the very size of our nation, monetary constraints and the freedoms we all enjoy to move about unfettered, airtight homeland security in the United Statesis really not possible.
That said, all of that may not matter in the event of an electromagnetic pulse attackor EMP!
And, rogue nations such as North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, etc. are well aware of this fact as are our "friends" such as the Chinese.
What is an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and what could the result of an attack on the United States from one be?
In simple terms an EMP attack results from an extremely high energy explosion (i.e. nuclear bomb or even solar storm) that would occur well above the earth resulting in changes to the electric and magnetic fields. There would be little or no death and/or destruction from the blast itself.
"As the bomb explodes it emits a powerful wave of gamma rays. As this energy release hits the upper atmosphere it creates a electrical disturbance know as theCompton Effect. The intensity is magnified. View it as a small pebble rolling down a slope, hitting a larger one, setting that in motion, until finally you have an avalanche.At the speed of light this disturbance races to the earth surface. It is not something you can see or hear, in the same way you don’t feel the electrical disturbance in the atmosphere during a large solar storm (Examiner, 2011).
‘Nuke Pulse’ Warning For UK
Date: September 27, 2011
Source: The Sun
Abstract: MPs fear that terrorists could blast Britain back to the 19th century with an electromagnetic pulse “nuke”.
The device would mimic the gamma-ray pulse caused by an atomic detonation to knock out ALL electronics, including computers, lighting, water-pumping stations, telephones, TVs and radios.
And with no communications, financial systems or ability to provide food and water, millions could starve to death.
China and Iran are both known to be developing EMP technology.
MPs in the Defence Select Committee have now launched an inquiry to discover just how vulnerable Britain could be.A source said: “The biggest fear is we would suffer a complete meltdown. All contingency plans must be evaluated and put in place. Also, ways of mitigating such an attack must be studied (The Sun, 2011).
Title: An EMP Attack On America?
Date: October 4, 2011
Abstract: For most of this week, the Department of Energy and the states of Maryland and Florida will be holding emergency response exercises to determine their readiness in the event of a major failure of the national electric power grid.
The scenarios to be tested vary from a low-level event that would take out a handful of the transformers that control the grid that conceivably could be repaired within a matter of days, to a “worst case” scenario to simulate a total take-down of the grid, an event many experts believe could take four to six years to recover from.
William Forschen, in his novel “The Minute After,” helps us to imagine what America would be like after a major EMP event. Survivalists have even invented a new acronym to describe it: TEOTWAWKI – The End of the World As We Know It.
No cell phones, no personal or business computers. No gas stations, no natural gas or water service. Cold storage, down; food processing plants, off-line. No trucking, no railroads, no airplanes, no ATMs, no inter-bank transfers. Americans would revert to eating whatever food they could hunt, fish or forage within walking distance of their homes. City-dwellers would flee en masse, or face starvation.
Some experts point to the partial meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power reactors in Japan after a tsunami took down the power grid in March as an example of what could happen here.
Even though the Japanese had help from the US and others that enabled them to bring on line backup generators, spent fuel rods in the cooling ponds of several reactors melted down, narrowly averting a major nuclear disaster. Without that outside help, a collapse of cooling power at US nuclear power plants could cause stored nuclear fuel rods sitting in cooling ponds to melt down, irradiating vast swathes of the country, Dr. Cynthia Ayers, a former National Security Agency analyst, told me recently.
Such an event is so catastrophic in nature you would think the federal and state governments had planned for how to handle it long ago. Think again.
We are woefully unprepared, even though solutions are cheap and near at hand. This is why Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and several colleagues have proposed legislation known as the SHIELD Act (H.R. 668) that would promulgate standards necessary to protect the grid and require the utilities to install hardware solutions to protect the main components of the grid.
There are two main sources of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that potentially could take down the national electric grid: a major geomagnetic event such as the “solar maximum” flare expected to occur next year, or an attack by a hostile power using a “super-EMP” weapon detonated at high altitude over the US mainland.
The US military discovered the EMP effect in 1962 during the Starfish Prime nuclear explosion in the atmosphere over the Pacific.
Within instants, the lights went out 900 miles away in Hawaii, without any visible signs of an attack. The military designated a young Air Force 2nd Lieutenant named William Graham to investigate. He determined that EMP was a bi-product of a nuclear blast, and that it had the effect of frying everything made of silicon hundreds – and possibly thousands – of miles away from the place of the blast.
Flash forward to 2001. Congress established an EMP commission to assess the vulnerability of the United States to an EMP attack or a massive solar flare. And they picked William Graham – now a distinguished scientist, who had served as President Reagan’s science adviser in the White House – to chair it.
The EMP commission issued a public report in 2004 that ought to be required reading for every American. They determined that a single EMP warhead exploded over the center of the US could bring down the power grid all across the country. A major geomagnetic event could have a similar impact.
Dr. Graham warned in public testimony that a major EMP event would take us back to a pre-industrial age, when the US population was just a fraction of what it is today.
EMPact America, an advocacy group run by Dr. Graham’s staff director on the EMP Commission, former CIA strategic weapons analyst Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, will be involved in most of this week’s exercises.
At a September 23 conference in New York sponsored by the group, national security consultant Peter Huessy said it would cost a mere $60-$100 million to protect the 300 largest transformers running the grid, and another $400 million to $600 million to protect an additional 3,000 transformers.
“These are one-time costs for equipment that bolts down, plugs in, and immediately works to protect against all forms of electromagnetic storms and nuclear EMP effects as well,” Huessy said.
He called it an “insurance policy” that amounted to a one-time payment of just over $3 per person for every American. As yet, until now the utilities, Congress, and the Obama administration have balked at making these improvements.
Contrary to most of Washington, Iran and North Korea have understood that the US power grid is extremely vulnerable to attack by an EMP weapon, and have tasked their scientists and military planners to study the strategic impact of an EMP event.
North Korea appears to have successfully tested a “Super-EMP” weapon during its 2006 and 2009 nuclear weapons tests, while Iran has tested ballistic missiles in an EMP mode – that is, detonating them at high altitude, not in a ballistic trajectory – and deemed those tests a success.
Many experts believe the weapons programs of these two countries have been developed as joint ventures, since Iranian scientists traveled to North Korea to assist in North Korea’s 2006 and 2009 nuclear weapons test campaigns, and North Korean scientists regularly travel to Iran to take part in Iran’s missile tests.
Is an EMP attack on America far-fetched? It’s hard to say. But an America without power would essentially revert to the early 1800s, when a pre-industrial America was able to sustain a population of fewer than 100 million souls. Such a catastrophe would give flesh to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s dream that a “world without America is conceivable.”
Similar damage to the national power grid also could be brought about by a geomagnetic solar storm. President Obama’s science advisor, John Holdren, warned in a March 10, 2011 oped co-authored with his British counterpart that such a solar maximum event could occur at the peak of the current solar cycle in the next 12-18 months, with catastrophic effects.
“Space weather can affect human safety and economies anywhere on our vast wired planet, and blasts of electrically-charged gas traveling from the Sun at up to five million miles an hour can strike with little warning,” Holdren wrote. “Their impact could be big — on the order of $2 trillion during the first year in the United States alone, with a recovery period of 4 to 10 years.”
Holdren and his British colleague, John Beddington, claimed there was “commitment on both sides of the Atlantic” to rapidly implement the technology fixes needed to shield the electric grid from such an event.
And yet, two congressional hearings earlier this year devoted to protecting the grid focused almost exclusively on the dangers of a cyber attack, not the dangers of solar flares or a nuclear EMP attack.
Many members of Congress may consider cyber-warfare to be “sexier” than the messy business of trying to evaluate the intentions of Iran and North Korea, or trying to chart solar activity.
Besides, a cyber warfare bill will pour oceans of money into an endless software race between ever evolving computer viruses, worms and Trojan horses, and cyber-antidotes. Great fortunes will be made, and careers advanced. Who knows how many Solyndras will make out like bandits on the taxpayers’ dime. Cyber warfare is a lobbyist’s dream.
The SHIELD Act requires US utilities to harden large transformers and other key elements of the nation’s power. It calls on the federal government to establish protection standards and hardware solutions in concert with industry, and includes a provision for cost recovery should industry incur substantial costs.
Rather than creating more government, as the cyber-warfare programs would do, the SHIELD Act relies on a public-private partnership – and no taxpayer dollars – to achieve its goals of protecting American’s power backbone.
The EMP Commission and the Strategic Posture Commission have warned in detailed reports of the catastrophic destruction an EMP attack or similar solar event would have on the American way of life. Similar reports have been issued by the administration’s own Department of Energy, and by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Not protecting against such events is like playing Russian roulette, EMP expert John Kappenman tells me. “If you play Russian roulette long enough, you will lose.” In this case, Congress is playing Russian roulette with the entire American people.
Congress needs to get real and pass the SHIELD Act now, as if our lives depended on it.Because they do (FPM, 2011).
Iranian Nuke Attack On US Easy As EMP?
Date: November 18, 2011
Source: CBN News
Abstract: Pentagon estimates show that Iran could have missiles capable of reaching the East Coast of the United States by the year 2015.
If the Iranians acquire a nuclear bomb, they might be able to cripple their "Great Satan" even sooner through an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, attack off America's coastline.
"Within a year of an EMP event, at least two-thirds of the American population would perish from starvation, disease, and societal collapse. It's a high-tech means of killing people the old fashioned way," Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, president of EMPact America, explained.
A nuclear weapon detonated above the U.S. would emit powerful electromagnetic pulses, frying America's electrical grid and shutting down necessities from cars to computers to airplanes and refrigerators.
Iranian military handbooks point out the benefits of such an attack. Russia, China, and North Korea also possess EMP technology.
Pry, a member of the congressional EMP Commission, said America could plunge back into the 19th century, with Katrina-like chaos nationwide.
"A single nuclear weapon will cause the collapse of the electric power grid, all the critical infrastructures and other electronic systems across the entire continental United States and basically cause a permanent blackout," he told CBN News.
Pry's nightmare scenario shows Iran or its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, parking an unmarked freighter off America's East Coast or in the Gulf of Mexico.
They would fire a nuclear-tipped scud above a city like New York, then immediately sink the freighter to destroy evidence of their handiwork.
"Even if we were able to identify the scud by our radars, we wouldn't be able to identify who did it," he explained. "This is a way of keeping your fingerprints off it."
Former CIA double agent Reza Kahlili spent time as a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. He said the Iranians have conducted missiles tests off ships in the Caspian Sea, which are consistent with an EMP-style attack.
"They're going to get to the Gulf of Mexico with ballistic missiles, and they're going to launch one at a moment's notice. And they wouldn't care about the repercussions," he told CBN News.
Kahlili's book, A Time to Betray, details Iran's rapidly advancing ballistic missile program.
"They have obtained missiles from North Korea that can now target the capitals of Europe," Kahlili said.
There are reports that Iran plans to establish missiles bases in Venezuela, where it has a vast network. And an Iranian official recently threatened to send military ships to patrol America's Atlantic coast.
Legislation is currently pending in Congress that would harden America's electrical grid against an EMP attack.Sponsors of the bill, called the SHIELD Act, say it would cost less than $1 billion to do it. But the bill has yet to pass (CBN News, 2011).
Title: Countering An EMP attack
Date: December 12, 2011
Source: Washington Times
Abstract: When Americans think about the threat from foreign missiles, it’s nearly always the catastrophic effect of a conventional nuclear blast that comes to mind. We think of the doomsday scenarios that have played out in many movies and TV shows: A nuke explodes over a large city - leveling buildings, crushing houses and creating a swath of destruction.
But that’s not the only threat that can come from a missile fired from a rogue nation or one that has fallen into the hands of terrorists. We also could fall victim to the devastating effects of an electromagnetic pulse. With an EMP, almost everything powered by electricity would effectively be wiped out - not physically, but practically. Such things would simply cease to work.
Imagine the havoc this could cause. Your cellphone? Useless. The same goes for your TV, radio and computer. Your car might still run, but good luck driving on roads with no working stoplights, accessing your GPS devices for directions or buying gasoline from pumps that won’t pump. We’d be in the dark, literally - plunged into the early 19th century in a matter of seconds.
Sound like science fiction? It’s understandable that some people would think so, especially anyone who has seen the flashy EMP attacks dramatized in TV shows such as “24.” Unfortunately, it’s all too real. Why? Because an EMP isn’t an altogether new, high-tech weapon. It’s the same nuclear blast we’ve come to fear as a potential destroyer of our cities. It’s just used in an alternate way.
The difference: the location of the blast. In a conventional nuclear attack, the bomb is timed to explode close to the ground. The resulting radiation blast wreaks great physical damage. But with an EMP, the same kind of bomb is set to explode high in the air. When that happens, the blast doesn’t level a city, but it does knock out the power grid, leaving the residents who have come to depend on it largely helpless.
And who among us doesn’t depend on electricity? What a chaotic, dangerous mess this weapon could leave in its wake. Everyday life would grind to a halt. Almost every feature of 21st-century life on which we’ve come to rely, from fully stocked grocery stores to fire and ambulance services, would be gone in an instant.
We can’t take comfort in the thought that an EMP is something beyond the reach of a rogue nation or terrorist group. “Several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear-weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse,” the 2004 Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States From Electromagnetic Pulse Attack reported. “A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication.”
The threat of an EMP attack makes it all the more imperative that we pursue an immediate and comprehensive missile defense. Missile defense was conceived as a way to counter a conventional nuclear attack. But there’s no reason it can’t serve a dual purpose. The same missiles that can knock down a rocket delivering a low-altitude nuclear payload can do the same to a high-altitude one equipped with an EMP.
But we need to ensure that the system we deploy can do the job. That’s what I mean by “comprehensive.” We need to make it a layered system - one on land and sea and in the air and with the ability to take out missiles in almost any stage of flight. What the Obama administration is proposing, in terms of funding and design, simply won’t do the job.That’s unacceptable. The EMP threat isn’t going away - at least, not until we show that we’re serious about disarming it. The sooner, the better (Washington Times, 2011).
Countering An EMP Attack
Date: December 17, 2011
Source: Town Hall
Abstract: When Americans think about the threat from foreign missiles, it’s nearly always the catastrophic effect of a conventional nuclear blast that comes to mind. We think of the doomsday scenarios that have played out in so many movies and TV shows: a nuke explodes over a large city -- leveling buildings, crushing houses and creating a swath of destruction.
But that’s not the only threat that can come from a missile fired from a rogue nation, or one that has fallen into the hands of terrorists. We could also fall victim to the devastating effects of an electromagnetic pulse. With an EMP, almost everything powered by electricity would be effectively wiped out -- not physically, but practically. They would simply cease to work.
Imagine the havoc this could cause. Your cell phone? Useless. The same goes for your TV, radio and computer. Your car might still run, but good luck driving on roads with no working stoplights, accessing your GPS devices for directions, or buying gasoline from pumps that won’t pump. We’d be in the dark, literally -- plunged into the early 19th century in a matter of seconds.
Sound like science fiction? It’s understandable that some people would think so, especially anyone who has seen the flashy EMP attacks dramatized in shows such as “24.” Unfortunately, it’s all too real. Why? Because an EMP isn’t an altogether new, high-tech weapon. It’s the same nuclear blast we’ve come to fear as a potential destroyer of our cities. It’s just used in an alternate way.
The difference: the location of the blast. In a conventional nuclear attack, the bomb is timed to explode close to the ground. The resulting radiation blast wreaks great physical damage. But with an EMP, the same kind of bomb is set to explode high in the air. When that happens, the blast doesn’t level a city. But it does knock out the power grid, leaving the residents that have come to depend on it largely helpless.And who among us doesn’t depend on electricity? What a chaotic, dangerous mess this weapon could leave in its wake. Everyday life would grind to a halt. Almost every feature of 21st century life that we’ve come to rely on, from fully-stocked grocery stores to fire and ambulance services, would be gone in an instant (Town Hall, 2011).
Title: The Devastating Impact Of An Electromagnetic Pulse…Can It Happen?
Abstract: While driving home from work, your engine suddenly dies. You quickly shift into neutral and coast to a stop. As you reach for your cellphone to call for help, you notice that all of the other cars are stopped too. As this surreal scene unfolds before your eyes, you notice that the cell phone is dead too.
What you haven’t yet realized, but are soon to discover, is that ALL of the modern conveniences upon which your life depends have suddenly and completely vanished. ALL of them.
Electromagnetic pulses are huge outbursts of atmospheric electricity which produce intense magnetic fields that can result in ground currents massive enough to burn out power lines and electrical equipment throughout the effected area.
The two main sources for EMP are super-sized solar storms and atomic weapons.
An atomic weapon detonated between 25 and 500 miles above earth could wipe out most electrical devices and the power grid.
On July 9, 1962, the Atomic Energy Commission detonated a 1.4-megaton Hydrogen Bomb resulting EMP shorted out streetlights in Oahu, Luckily,it left the electronic grid intact.
Our sun has an eleven year solar cycle which is due to hit It’s maximum activity level in 2012. Solar flares could wipe out the power grid for years and possibly decades.
The last solar storm large enough to cause that kind of damage occurred in 1859.
Yousaf Butt of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts says, “We are almost guaranteed a very large solar storm at some point”. Solar physicist Bruce Tsurutani, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory agrees that such an event is inevitable in the next 10 to 100 years.
What can we do to prepare for such an event?
People can protect electronic equipment by constructing a metallic shielded enclosure, commonly called a “faraday cage” to protect such items as, an emergency, hand-crank radio; solar panels; batteries and spare electronic parts.
Eliminating the occurrence of an EMP, or any other catastrophe, is not within your power but insuring that, no matter what happens, you and you’re family have enough to eat, certainly is.
The most important and least expensive thing anyone can do to prepare for any emergency, is to have a supply of storable food and a source of clean water. So stop worrying about the things you can’t control and take responsibility for your greatest dependency, food. Do it today!
Q & A
Q 1.) There’s a lot of talk these days about the potential for an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and the effects it might have on our world. Is the possibility of an EMP something about which we should be concerned?
A 1.) Well George, you know me, I believe we should all be prepared for whatever mother nature sends our way. In the case of EMP, yes, we should be concerned and there are things we can do to prepare. The important thing is that we take our “concern” and direct it constructively rather than getting stuck in fear. The best way to do that is to understand the phenomenon and then determine the steps that can be taken to lessen it’s impact. Here’s a simple explanation of EMP…
Electromagnetic pulses are huge outbursts of atmospheric electricity which produce intense magnetic fields that can result in ground currents massive enough to burn out power lines and electrical equipment throughout the effected area. Any unshielded electronic equipment is rendered instantly useless. That includes our power grids, electronic ignition in cars and other machinery, generators, solar panels, cell phones, satellite communications, refrigerators, water pumps, fuel pumps, and just about anything you can imagine that requires electricity.
Q 2.) Wow, that sounds as if it could be catastrophic! Please explain how something like that could happen. What would have to happen to produce an Electromagnetic Pulse?
A 2.) Well George, there are two sources for an Electromagnetic Pulse. The first is an EMP caused by a nuclear detonation and the second is an EMP caused by a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), more commonly known as a sun-spot.
Although both are cause for concern, I believe that the first is less likely than we are led to believe by the mainstream media. The second source of EMP, the sun, is a greater concern and, in fact, some scientists believe it to be a certainty within the next 10 to 100 years.
Q 3.) Why is the sun-spot scenario more likely than the nuclear explosion? It seems to me that our world is pretty unstable politically. Why aren’t you more concerned about the nuclear option?
A 3.) On July 9, 1962, the Atomic Energy Commission detonated a 1.4-megaton Hydrogen Bomb, known as the Starfish Prime, over the Pacific ocean, at an altitude of 250 miles, about 900 miles southwest of Hawaii. The device was at least 70 times more powerful than the bomb detonated over Hiroshima in 1945. Although the resulting EMP shorted out streetlights in Oahu, it left the electronic grid intact.
While smaller nuclear devices could possibly cause localized EMP damage, rogue nations or terrorists intent on creating an EMP large enough to effect the entire continent of North America, with a high-altitude nuclear blast would require a weapon larger than the Starfish Prime and a missile large enough to take it at least 25 miles high.
If a nation were to initiate such a launch, it would result in massive nuclear retaliation from America’s current stockpile of 5,000 warheads, many of which are aboard submarines and far away from the EMP effects that would be produced by the blast. Even if that rogue nation supplied a terrorist group with the weapon and missile rather than launch it themselves, they would still face retaliation as the bombs origins would be quickly determined through nuclear forensics. It would be national suicide and regardless of how fanatical our enemies might be, they are unlikely initiate their own annihilation.
The other, and more likely source of a massive EMP is our own sun. It has an eleven year cycle of solar storms which is due to hit it’s maximum activity level in 2012. During the peak of this cycle, the occurrence of solar super-storms becomes much more frequent.
Q 4.) If the sun has an eleven year cycle, why didn’t we have damage from an EMP in 2001, 1990 or 1979? Has anything changed to make this year more dangerous than past cycles?
A 4.) The last solar storm large enough to cause that kind of damage occurred in 1859, prior to the existence of the power grid which has only been around for less than 1% of human history. A super solar-storm of sufficient size has not happened in that time but scientists believe it’s a matter of when, not if.
Yousaf Butt of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts says, “We are almost guaranteed a very large solar storm at some point”. Solar physicist Bruce Tsurutani, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory agrees that such an event is inevitable in the next 10 to 100 years.
Q 5.) So Steve, what can people do to prepare for an Electromagnetic Pulse? Should we expect the government to re-institute the old “duck and cover” program from the ’50s?
A 5.) There’s not much that we as individuals can do to protect our power grids. That will have to be done by the electric utilities, with or without the assistance of government. However, people can protect themselves from the worst effects of an EMP with minimal expense and a little pre-planning.
Small items such as emergency, hand-crank radios, computers, spare parts for the electronic ignition system in cars and generators can be protected with a simple, home-made device called a “faraday cage”.
Anyone interested in
learning how to build one can visit www.faraday-landing-page.com for detailed
instructions (Infowars, 2012).
Abstract: Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons pose a serious and growing threat to our national security. Rogue nations and terrorists are working to develop EMP devices to attack the United States and other developed nations. These include North Korea, Iran and China. Once North Korea and Iran have missiles capable of reaching the U.S., they can use an EMP burst over our nation to destroy us.
Threats to the electric grid from EMP attacks come in three forms:
1. Solar flares from the sun. The magnetic pulses from solar flares can fry microchips and disrupt any electronic devices. A solar flare disrupted primitive electronics such as telegraphs in 1859 and another one occurred in 1989 as well. One of the most serious solar flares took place in 1921 and disrupted communications in the U.S. An EMP from the sun in the 21st century could be devastating and wipe out any system using electricity or microchips.
2. Nuclear blast 200+ miles above middle America.A blast this high above the U.S. could wipe out every electric grid in the U.S. – plunging our nation into darkness. It would literally send our nation back to the 18th century. (A solar flare would have the same impact.) An EMP blast from a nuclear bomb would shut down devices or vehicles using microchips. Planes would stop flying; banks and hospitals would cease operation; trains would stop running; tractors, trucks and cars would cease working. Elevators would malfunction; subways would stop. All commerce would cease. A blast like this could not only wipe out the electric grid in the U.S. but in Canada and Mexico. The more technologically advanced a nation is, the more vulnerable it is to an EMP attack.
3. Radio Frequency Weapons (RFW). These are smaller tactical EMP weapons that can be carried in brief cases, backpacks, SUV or medium-size trucks. These weapons can be used to attack specific targets such as the Social Security Administration, IRS, Pentagon, Banks, etc., to wipe out sensitive data on millions of Americans – including financial information. These RFWs are inexpensive and instructions on making them are available on the Internet. The rogue nations of North Korea and China, for example, are developing these kinds of weapons as well as nuclear EMP weapons.
The entire cyber world is at serious risk.
The Threat Is Real
The Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack issued a 228-page report in 2008 on the serious dangers facing our nation from EMPs. This Commission has ended its work, but efforts are underway to renew it for further study of this threat.
The report deals with several critical infrastructures that could be impacted by an EMP attack: Electric power; telecommunications; banking and finance; petroleum and natural gas; transportation; food; water; emergency services; space; and government.
Many of these infrastructures are interdependent. When one system goes down, it can impact other systems as well. As the report states:
The electromagnetic pulse generated by a high altitude nuclear explosion is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences. The increasingly pervasive use of electronics of all forms represents the greatest source of vulnerability to attack by EMP. Electronics are used to control, communicate, compute, store, manage, and implement nearly every aspect of United States (U.S.) civilian systems. When a nuclear explosion occurs at high altitude, the EMP signal it produces will cover the wide geographic region within the line of sight of the detonation. This broad band, high amplitude EMP, when coupled into sensitive electronics, has the capability to produce widespread and long lasting disruption and damage to the critical infrastructures that underpin the fabric of U.S. society.
Because of the ubiquitous dependence of U.S. society on the electrical power system, its vulnerability to an EMP attack, coupled with the EMP's particular damage mechanisms, creates the possibility of long-term, catastrophic consequences. The implicit invitation to take advantage of this vulnerability, when coupled with increasing proliferation of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, is a serious concern. A single EMP attack may seriously degrade or shut down a large part of the electric power grid in the geographic area of EMP exposure effectively instantaneously. There is also a possibility of functional collapse of grids beyond the exposed area, as electrical effects propagate from one region to another.
America's electricity is generated by energy companies throughout the country through hundreds of power companies and a series of electric grids that transmit electricity over hundreds of miles of power lines.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation and the Department of Energy released a report on the dangers of EMPs in early June 2010.
The report deals with the threat of High-Impact, Low-Frequency (HILF) electromagnetic threats to our electric grid and our national security.
These HILF risks include both natural occurrences such as solar flares and deliberate EMP or RFW attacks on our nation by hostile nations or terrorist organizations.
The target is the North American bulk power system, which includes more than 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, thousands of generation plants and millions of digital controls. More than 1,800 electric power plants are part of this nationwide network.
If an EMP device is detonated 300 miles above the U.S. in the middle of the country, it could effectively wipe out the entire electric grid system and plunge our nation into the Dark Ages.
It's Happened Before
Electromagnetic Pulse incidents in the past have disrupted electronic infrastructures. In 1962, an EMP from a high altitude airburst of a nuclear weapon near Hawaii, disrupted the electric system in that state.
Our own military has used EMP non-nuclear weapons against Iraq during the first Gulf War. The weapon was used to disrupt and destroy Iraqi electronics systems. (Robert J. Bunker, "Radio Frequency Weapons: Issues and Potentials," Journal of California Law Enforcement, January 1, 2002).
Radio Frequency Wave (RFW) weapons – systems that can be carried in a backpack or briefcase – have been used by criminals in the past and unintentionally to destroy electronic systems.
RFWs have been used to commit crimes, and to disrupt police and military operations. The Navy's report, "The Threat Of Radio Frequency Weapons To Critical Infrastructure Facilities," lists several examples:
– In the Netherlands, an individual disrupted a local bank's computer network because he was turned down for a loan. He constructed a briefcase-size RFW, which he learned how to build from the Internet. Bank officials did not even realize that they had been attacked or what had happened until long after the event.
– In Japan, two yakuza criminals were caught stealing from a Pachinko machine using a hidden high energy RF gun to interfere with the machine's computer and falsely trigger a win.
– In St. Petersburg, Russia, a criminal robbed a jewelry store by defeating the alarm system with a repetitive RF generator. "Its manufacture was no more complicated than assembling home microwave ovens."
– RFWs were used in separate incidents against the U.S. Embassy in
Moscow to falsely set off alarms and to induce a fire in a sensitive area.
The loss of an electric grid can be devastating as Americans and Canadians have seen in the past. In 1977, New York experienced a blackout that was described as a "night of terror." Chaos reigned in the city as stores were looted and set on fire, cars were overturned and 3,776 were arrested. Multiply this night of terror by the thousands in every city in America if an EMP shuts down our electric grids.
In 1989, more than 6 million people lost power due to an EMP from solar activity. It caused a massive power failure in Canada. Fortunately, it only lasted hours.
In 1998, Auckland, New Zealand experienced a blackout lasting five weeks! Fortunately, water and sewage systems were functioning. Electricity was available in other areas, so it wasn't a nationwide catastrophe.
Hundreds of thousands could die in looting, rioting and fires in our major cities if an EMP wipes out our electric grid.
What Can Be Done?
The United States must take seriously the threat posed by EMP attacks. The military has already taken measures to shield its systems from EMP attacks, but little has been done yet to shield our electric grid system from such an attack. This includes banks, water treatment plants, planes, hospitals, schools and any other facility that relies on computers. All of these must be shielded from the potential of an EMP attack or a solar flare.
Arizona Republican Congressman Trent Franks has introduced a bill to protect our national power grid from an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) attack or a natural EMP event from the sun. The bill, H.R. 668 (the SHIELD Act) currently has 24 sponsors in the House. Frank's legislation will amend the Federal Power Act to protect the bulk-power system and electric infrastructure that is critical to the defense and well-being of the United States against both natural and man-made EMP threats. Rep. Franks has also set up an EMP Caucus in Congress.
Read and distribute
this report: TVC's Special Report on the threat that EMP attacks pose to our
nation (TVC, 2012).
Date: January 4, 2012
Abstract: Any notion that achievement of nuclear capabilities by Iran, North Korea and other countries hostile to U.S. interests poses little direct danger is terribly misguided. Imagine a very plausible scenario: A relatively small and primitive 500-kiloton single-stage atomic bomb – the same type of weapon that has been in existence since the 1950s – is launched from an ordinary-looking freighter ship and exploded in the atmosphere about 300 miles above Chicago.
The resulting electromagnetic pulse (EMP) will release a burst of charged particles powerful enough to overwhelm all systems or circuits that draw or transmit electricity over a large distance, literally blowing them out or frying them from the inside. This includes orbiting satellites used for missile tracking, ground-based GPS, and general communications. The launching ship is then sunk, leaving no firm evidence about who sponsored the attack, or against whom a counterstrike is warranted.
Many highly informed sources, including former speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich, believe the potential for an EMP attack is perhaps our most serious national security threat… one with catastrophic consequences for virtually all aspects of life. Try to picture the disastrous effects of U.S. power grid disruptions that shut down all water pumping and sanitation stations; lights and refrigerators; TV, radio and Internet communications; and manufacturing industries.
Consider that all equipment that relies upon complex electronic micro-circuitry would cease to function, including banking transactions, air traffic control operations, aircraft and ground transportation vehicles, gasoline pumps, and tiny implanted medical devices. Think about those who live in cold climates without heat, contemplate mob pandemonium without essentials to support law enforcement.
Recovery would be expected to require many years. Obtaining and replacing the vast network of power grid transformers destroyed en masse would be a huge, time-consuming task. And while some vital information contained on computer hard drives would be salvageable, the costs would be enormous.
Nuclear EMPs originating in the upper atmosphere would strike suddenly and silently without warning through three different types of pulses. The first type, generally referred to as E1, is an explosion of powerful super high-velocity charged particles that collide with the Earth’s magnetic field producing a massive electric current responsible for frying micro-circuitry. The second and much less powerful energy burst called E2 causes more localized damage. An E3 component produces a sheer force of charged particles sufficient to actually knock our planet’s entire magnetic field out of its position. Although it quickly snaps back into position, the oscillation creates a long wavelength electrical current lasting up to several minutes that can destroy the power grid over a wide geographic area.
Potentially destructive E3-type EMPs are also released by natural solar storms, particularly the one-in-100-year “solar maximum” super storm events such as the last one that occurred in 1921 before we became computer-dependent. Regarding the next one, Richard Fisher, director of NASA’s Heliophysics observed, “We know it’s coming but we don’t know how bad it’s going to be.”
Without taking adequate protective measures it is estimated that a storm maximum today could expose more than 350 transformers to high-risk or permanent damage, resulting in large-scale blackouts affecting more than 130 million people. Such space weather-induced outage costs could run from $1 trillion to $2 trillion during the first year alone, with a recovery time taking anywhere from four to 10 years.
The good news is that knowledge of means to protect the electrical power grid from E3 EMP damage exists, and could be accomplished quite simply and inexpensively. Shielding from nuclear-based E1 current involves covering electronic devices with boxes or sleeves made from highly conductive metals like copper or aluminum. Computers and other complex electronics will require something called a Faraday cage offering full shielding from stray electric currents. This applies also to shortwave radios which need to be protected before such an emergency occurs.
The bad news is that
this isn’t being done to any major degree, either by utility companies or by
Unfortunately, it is unrealistic to imagine we can avoid calamatous nuclear EMP consequences without extensive deterrants to terrorist attacks. Yet despite the fact that six national commissions and major independent U.S. government studies have independently concurred that there is significant danger, Congress has yet to act in a substantive manner. For the most part, U.S. government agencies have not taken planning for their response to an EMP attack beyond theoretical stages.
While President Ronald Reagan’s vision to implement a Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) aimed at ensuring America’s safety against a nuclear missile attack by using land- and space-based defense systems was never completely realized, that threat continues to grow as more and more rogue adversaries gain offensive means. For example, last June the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, Fereydoun Abbasi Davani, announced plans to triple Iran’s capacity to produce 20% enriched uranium, making it abundantly clear the program is not being designed for peaceful purposes. Power stations only require uranium enriched to about 3% for fuel.
After enough 20% enriched uranium is accumulated at Iran’s underground facility at Qom, it will take only two or three months of additional work to convert this into weapons grade material. Iran has a persistent record of evasion and obfuscation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and has failed to provide the IAEA with access to relevant locations, equipment, persons or documents. It also hasn’t replied to questions from the IAEA on its procurement of nuclear-related items and aspects of its work that could be useful only for developing a nuclear weapon – such as detonators for an atom bomb. In addition, it has an active ballistic missile program, including the development and testing of missiles with a range of over a thousand kilometres. Still worse, Iran’s nuclear program can be expected to advance a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, already the world’s most volatile region.
Six U.N. Security Council resolutions requiring that Iran suspend enrichment immediately have been ignored. Further, Iran has so far refused to enter into any negotiations on its nuclear program until the E3+3 countries (the U.S., U.K., China, France, Germany and Russia) agree to lift all sanctions and immediately recognize Iran’s right to enrich. This circumstance can no longer be tolerated.
We must clearly understand that an imperative to prevent nuclear proliferation in the Middle East isn’t just primarily about protecting Israel’s right to exist. The U.S. is hardly immune from a direct and devastating EMP assault that, unless checked, could very well blast our electronics-dependent society back to the Dark Ages. Accordingly, there are some urgent safeguards that must be given highest priority:
1. Government, industry and media leaders should immediately investigate and inform the general public about the scope of dangers posed by space weather and terrorist EMP events, urging actions that can mitigate risks.
2. All possible countermeasures should be implemented to harden the U.S. power grid, communications, and other critical electrical circuitry from solar and terrorist EMP events, and research should be emphasized to develop better ones.
3. America should fund comprehensive multi-layered missile defense programs, including advanced space-based missile launch detection and ground-based threat neutralization systems.
4. Federal, state, and local governments must be compelled to develop coordinated EMP response and recovery plans that are incorporated into other disaster scenarios.
5. Under no circumstances can the U.S. allow Iran, North Korea and other rogue nations to gain nuclear capabilities that further destabilize U.S. and global security.In summary, we must begin to give serious thought to the unthinkable, and take all possible actions to prevent avoidable tragedies from occurring (Forbes, 2012).
Electronic Infrastructure At Risk From EMP Threat - Report
Date: February 22, 2012
Source: Computer World
Abstract: The government needs to create a better plan for reacting to the threat of a major electro-magnetic pulse event, which could knock out much of the country’s critical electronic infrastructure, according to a report.
The Defence Committee published a report today, entitled “Developing Threats: Electro-Magnetic Pulses (EMP)”, that highlights how a nuclear weapon exploded at altitude could be devastating for many of the UK’s industries, including the financial markets.
“We are concerned that the Government does not regard EMP from a nuclear blast as currently being a high risk and so we urge that more vigorous action should be taken to prepare for such an attack,” said the Committee.
A single nuclear weapon detonated between 25 – 500 miles above Earth could create an EMP that could cause damage to technology over a wide geographical area.
Much of the UK’s electrical infrastructure could be impacted, including micro-electronic systems, electronics based control systems, sensor, communication systems, protective systems and computers.
The report does highlight that the threat of an EMP is currently low, but as the risk to critical infrastructure is so high, the Committee has urged that the government does not become “complacent” and that work to harden UK infrastructure begins now (Computer World, 2012).Title: MPs Warn On Terror Threat To Britain - From Space.
Date: February 22, 2012
Source: Free Library
Abstract: Britain’s critical national infrastructure could be crippled in a high-altitude space attack by a rogue state or terrorists, MPs warned yesterday.
A nuclear device detonated up to 500 miles above the earth's surface could generate an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) with a "devastating" effect on power supplies, telecommunications and other vital systems, the Commons Defence Committee said.
It warned that countries such as Iran - which is resisting international pressure to end its nuclear programme - and even eventually some "non-state actors" could acquire the technology to mount such an attack.
Terrorists could also build a "crude" non-nuclear EMP weapon, with the power to cause disruption over a more limited area.
But despite the vulnerability of the UK to such an attack, the committee accused the Ministry of Defence of appearing "complacent" and "unwilling to take these threats seriously".
It said ministers should start work on "hardening" the infrastructure to protect against an EMP attack "as a matter of urgency".
"It is time that the Government began to approach this matter with the seriousness it deserves," it said.
The committee said the Government currently rated the probability of a high-altitude EMP attack as "low", although it acknowledged that the impact would be severe.
However, an official EMP commission in the United States found "rogue states" such as Iran and nuclear-armed North Korea were well aware of the potential for such an attack.
The Iranians in particular were reported to have conducted missile tests which appeared to simulate the effects of an EMP nuclear strike.
The Americans concluded that in the event of such an attack, the widespread collapse of the electrical power system was "virtually inevitable".
"Certain states such as Iran could potentially pose a realistic threat in the future," the committee said (Free Library, 2012).
Terror Bomb Detonated In Space 'Could Cripple Britain's Electronic Networks And
Jeopardise National Security'
Date: February 22, 2012
Source: Daily Mail
Abstract: Rogue states and terror groups could launch nuclear attacks in space to cripple Britain’s electronic networks and jeopardise national security, a report warns today.
Weapons detonated up to 500 miles above the Earth would generate a massive electromagnetic pulse, knocking out satellites, radar and the National Grid with ‘devastating’ results.
Key military installations, transport systems, power and water supplies would be hit, wreaking havoc, claims the Commons Defence Select Committee.
Similarly, severe weather in space caused by explosions on the Sun’s surface could create electrical currents which would destroy crucial power networks.
Both scenarios would pose a ‘significant risk’ to national security, warns the alarming report.
A blackout across large parts of the country would raise the prospect of the collapse of the national infrastructure, financial meltdown and a breakdown of civil order, with emergency services struggling to cope.
The report also claims that despite Britain’s vulnerability to attack, the Government appears ‘complacent’ and ‘unwilling to take the threats seriously’.
Two years ago, then defence secretary Liam Fox warned the impact of a nuclear attack in space would be worse than a direct strike like the one on Hiroshima in 1945.
The report warns countries such as Iran, whose hardline Islamic regime is resisting pressure to scrap its nuclear programme, could acquire the technology to detonate a high altitude nuclear device.
Eventually terror groups including Al Qaeda could get their hands on such a weapon, it predicts.
The report adds: ‘While the risk may at present be low, the potential impact of such a weapon could be devastating and long-lasting for UK infrastructure.
‘The Government cannot therefore be complacent about this threat. Detonating a nuclear device in the upper atmosphere would create electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) that could inflict “severe damage” to electrical equipment over thousands of square miles.’
Changes in the Sun’s atmosphere to create a ‘space weather event’ could have a similar effect.
The most severe example – dubbed the Carrington Event after the British astronomer who observed it – occurred in 1859, when a massive solar flare sent electrical currents surging through telegraph systems, causing shocks to operators and setting papers on fire.
Ministers claim the likelihood of a severe space weather event hitting Britain in the next five years is ‘moderate to high’.
The National Grid estimates there is a 91 per chance that parts of the UK would be left without power for two months if a large EMP struck.
In 1859 a massive solar flare sent electrical currents surging through telegraph systems, causing shocks to operators and setting papers on fire
The committee said the Government should ensure back-up procedures and equipment are in place to meet the ‘worst-case scenario’.
Ministers rate the probability of a high-altitude EMP attack as ‘low’ although they acknowledge the impact on Britain would be severe.
The committee concludes: ‘It is time that the Government began to approach this matter with the seriousness it deserves.’
n Britain is not properly prepared for a mass bioterrorist attack, Labour will claim today.
Jim Murphy, Labour defence spokesman, will claim it is ‘unclear’ the extent to which ministers can thwart extremists intent on contaminating water, food or air supplies in a confined space such as the London Tube network.‘New technologies mean new threats and we have got to be properly prepared,’ he will say (Daily Mail, 2012).
Insider Warns Family Of EMP Strike On U.S. This Year
Date: March, 2012
Source: USA Hitman
Abstract: I don’t say this lightly. It shocked me as well when I heard it.
This information came to me in a very synchronistic way, as is so often the case. No anonymous phone call. No dark suited stranger whispering at a street corner. It came out in a conversation with a young man managing a cool store who turned out to be a research enthusiast. I’d never met him before and we just “happened” to strike up a conversation. And one thing led to another.
Naturally with this type of leaked info you don’t want to endanger the source by revealing too much. But it sounded very credible the way it was told to me. A good friend of his has a parent, a very high clearance scientist who’s been “inside” famous and hidden secret places for decades, who somewhat cryptically warned their adult child last month of this imminent EMP attack threat.
Apparently it will be this year, and “sooner rather than later”. It sounded like it could be a nationwide hit. This child of an insider was then sent a 1984 heavy-duty truck by this parent (no computerized circuitry) and told, I paraphrase, “When it happens you’ll have 30 minutes to make it out of the city. And even then you’ll only have a one-in-three chance of survival.”
There’s no way I can verify this, but I don’t see any reason this wonderful young man should make it up. Thinking he’s lying definitely doesn’t go with my impression or his personality type nor deep spiritual dynamic. I don’t know, maybe someone else can verify this is indeed the understanding of the inner circle of the inside scientific elites.
But it sure resonates. And he’s promised me more information so there’ll be more details in future articles. Tease, I know. Tough. Deal with it, we all do.
Things change as we all know but this EMP strike could easily be one of their options. I take very seriously things that “come my way” and give them strong consideration, as most of you do. Everything’s at play and we need to look at all this from every angle, especially intuitively, our ultimate weapon.
This is not to instill fear. And it shouldn’t. What’s new about this possibility? Nothing. They have an arsenal of depopulation weapons they can unleash at any time. And this one is clean and quick.
And yes, it is that real, present and a very tentative situation for all of us.
What Is EMP Weaponry?
An electromagnetic pulse (sometimes abbreviated EMP) is a burst of electromagnetic radiation. The abrupt pulse of electromagnetic radiation usually results from certain types of high energy explosions, especially a nuclear explosion, or from a suddenly fluctuatingmagnetic field. The resulting rapidly changing electric fields and magnetic fields may couple with electrical/electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges.
In military terminology, a nuclear bomb detonated hundreds of miles above the Earth’s surface is known as a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) device. Effects of a HEMP device depend on a very large number of factors, including the altitude of the detonation, energy yield, gamma ray output, interactions with the Earth’s magnetic field, and electromagnetic shielding of targets. Source
Lotsa EMP Chatter
This subject has been in the news a lot, especially since China is said to be developing a non-nuclear EMP device it could use to disable aircraft carriers and localized areas. Mind you, this was written in the middle of last year way before the build up of carriers currently happening in the gulf region.
China’s military is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons that Beijing plans to use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict over Taiwan, according to an intelligence report made public on Thursday.
Portions of a National Ground Intelligence Centerstudy on the lethal effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and high-powered microwave (HPM) weapons revealed that the arms are part of China’s so-called “assassin’s mace” arsenal – weapons that allow a technologically inferior China to defeat U.S. military forces.
EMP weapons mimic the gamma-ray pulse caused by a nuclear blast that knocks out all electronics, including computers and automobiles, over wide areas. The phenomenon was discovered in 1962 after an above ground nuclear test in the Pacific disabled electronics in Hawaii.
The declassified intelligence report, obtained by the private National Security Archive, provides details on China’s EMP weapons and plans for their use. Annual Pentagon reports on China’s military in the past made only passing references to the arms.(WashingtonTImes)
But China? Maybe,
A deliberate provocation such as was done to the Japanese to bring on Pearl Harbor is just the same as a false flag. It’s precipitating the desired result, pull the wool over the sheeple’s eyes any way they can to get their program enacted. You don’t even need an event, they just have to say there was one like the imaginary Gulf of Tonkin incident that never happened and led to the slaughter of millions of innocents.
But bloody sensational incidents like these recent staged attacks on Israeli diplomats are their tactic of choice.
We know good and well that if and when such a horrific event took place, it could very likely be our own shadow government pulling a horrendous false flag for which they could blame anyone they wanted.
The nasty thing is, knowing they’re about to start WW3 by deliberately provoking China and Russia by their imminent attack on Iran makes this scenario very plausible.
An EMP attack from any altitude would have disastrous, paralyzing effects, never a high altitude blast that could paralyse the entire country and beyond. All communications are stopped, unless you have a tube ham radio and a generator that survived. Nothing would work except the simplest mechanics. Water won’t pump except by gravity. Cars of a later model than 1984 (!) would be immobilized. Gas stations won’t be able to pump gas anyway except by hand.
The scenario is nasty. Food would disappear in a heartbeat. Hospital machinery stops. Supply trucks and factories stop. The panic alone will set off unspeakable horrors depending on the degree of electrical destruction. Even airports would be useless, never mind all the planes that just tragically dropped out of the sky if such a dreadful event ever occurs.
If this truly is in the cards, is this their way to preserve infrastructure while eliminating huge swathes of the population, the few who survive being forced to do the clean up? Is this to avoid too much radiation being spread so there can be a quicker recovery for the perpetrators who retreat to their underground cities?
U.S. Remains Vulnerable To An EMP
Date: May 12, 2012
Source: The Foundry
Abstract: An article recently published by the Los Angeles Times discusses how solar storms pose a grave threat to Earth. Mike Hapgood, a space weather scientist in England, says that the world is unprepared for such a storm, and one is likely to occur soon.
The Heritage Foundation has led a vital campaign aimed at informing the American public about the seriousness of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks. An EMP is typically described as occurring when a nuclear weapon is detonated at a high altitude, resulting in a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles. The second scenario involves massive explosions on the sun’s surface (“space weather”).
Society is becoming increasingly more dependent on electrical devices, and this leads to greater vulnerability to space weather and EMP attacks. These charged particles, if strong enough, cause the destruction of electrical circuits. This would affect cell phones, computers, vehicles, airplanes, and even the power grid. In the case of an EMP, from “space weather” or a high-altitude nuclear detonation, transportation systems would be halted, communications would be rendered useless, and grocery stores would be unable to preserve or restore food supplies. As observed in 33 Minutes, a successful EMP would send the United States spiraling back to the 18th century.Despite the severe ramifications of such events, the U.S. is unprepared to deal with either. Fortunately, the United States can still make the necessary preparations to protect its vital infrastructure. Hardening provides resiliency and resistance to vital infrastructure against extreme space weather or EMP effects. Developing a national plan to respond effectively to EMP emergencies is a necessity. This would involve educating federal, state, and local officials along with the public about the risks and response options. Finally, the U.S. should continue to invest in missile defenses to protect against ballistic attacks aimed at achieving high-altitude nuclear detonation or EMP attack, especially against ship-launched missiles off the U.S. coast. The threat of space weather and EMP attack deserves proper planning and robust defenses (The Foundry, 2012).
Britain Vulnerable To E-Bomb Attack, Experts To Warn
Date: May 14, 2012
Abstract: Phillip Hammond will tell a conference that money needs to be spent on defences that “cannot be seen on the parade ground.”
Dependence on electronic networks “creates vulnerability” he will say, adding that the response cannot be based on “infantry, or jet planes or destroyers.”
There is an increasing possibility that a rogue state could use an “E-bomb” that would release a devastating electromagnetic pulse (EMP), experts will tell a two-day conference in London.
In the worst case scenario, a nuclear missile could be fired in to space that would release a pulse large enough to paralyse Britain’s infrastructure.
“One of the challenges we face, particularly at a time of limited resources, is to make the case for spending on defence and security solutions that cannot readily be seen by the public – that cannot be shown off on the parade ground – that could be digital, not necessarily physical,” Mr Hammond is expected to say.
US Assistant Defence Secretary Paul Stockton is due to speak alongside Mr Hammond at the event, which will also discuss the threat of a natural attack such as a solar flare.
A powerful EMP attack could disable electronic systems and bring the country to a standstill. Earlier this month, Ministry of Defence officials warned some form of an E-bomb could already be in the hands of terrorists or rogue states.
The Commons Defence Select Committee has warned the Government is not taking the threat seriously enough. Their report in February warned weapons detonated up to 500 miles above the Earth could generate an EMP strong enough to take out satellites, radar and the National Grid with 'devastating' results.
Key military installations, transport systems, power and water supplies would also be hit.
But despite the risk the Government appeared 'complacent' and 'unwilling to take the threats seriously', it said.
This week’s conference is being hosted by the US-based Electric Infrastructure and Security Council (EIS) and the Henry Jackson Society.
Avi Schnurr, the chief executive officer of EIS and a White House adviser on the issue, said: “The UK, the US and other allies are increasingly at risk from both malicious and natural e-threats.
“We are beginning to realise that, unfortunately, all our societal eggs are in one fragile electric basket, and we are not sufficiently protecting ourselves.
“We have become potential victims of our own technical advancement. The evolution of national electric grids and key infrastructure components means that we are more vulnerable to EMP than ever before.”
He added: “Based on reports by the UK Parliament, the US Congress, NASA, the US Department of Energy and many other agencies, the infrastructures our lives and our economies depend on have become so fragile that a hostile EMP attack or a severe solar flare could damage or destroy them on continental scales, severely disrupting electricity, water supply, transportation and communication – for months, or even years.Dr Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, said: “Whether through natural or terrorist-inspired means, the nightmare scenario of an EMP incident affecting the UK is almost too chilling to contemplate” (Telegraph, 2012).
One Storm Can Turn D.C. Dark For Several Days, What Would A Massive EMP Burst
Date: July 2, 2012
Source: Hawaii News Daily
Abstract: Sometimes we all get a little reminder of just how completely and totally dependent we are on the power grid. Massive thunderstorms that ripped through Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia left millions without power over the weekend. At this point it is being projected that some people may not get power back until the end of the week. The “super derecho” storm that pounded the Washington D.C. area on Friday night with hurricane-force winds is being called unprecedented. But the truth is that there are other events that could happen that would be far more damaging to our power grid. For example, a substantial EMP burst over a major U.S. city would fry virtually all of the electronics in the city and take the power grid in the area down indefinitely. A gigantic EMP burst over the entire country (caused by a massive solar storm or a very large nuclear explosion high in the atmosphere) could theoretically take down the entire national power grid. Just try to imagine a world where nobody has any electricity, nobody can pump gas, nobody can use their credit cards or get any more money, where most vehicles won’t start, where nobody has the Internet, where all cell phones are dead and where nobody can heat or cool their homes. That is how serious an EMP burst could potentially be. We are talking about an event that could be millions of times worse than 9/11.
Hopefully this latest storm has reminded Americans about how vulnerable our power grid really is and about how close we really are to being knocked back to the late 1800s.
Let’s review some of the damage that this “super derecho” storm caused to the D.C. area….
-Thousands of businesses have been forced to close temporarily because they cannot operate without electricity
-Many federal agencies were closed on Monday because there was no power
-Many 911 call centers throughout Northern Virginia were down over the weekend and could not respond to emergencies
-Without electricity, many families have not been able to cook warm meals
-Without warm water, many families have not been able to take hot showers
-A “boil water advisory” was put into effect for several areas of northern Virginia
-Many families that still do not have power are in danger of losing much of the food in their refrigerators and freezers
-Many gas stations were not able to operate because of a lack of electricity and so this has made filling up the gas tank a major hassle for many families
-Hundreds of traffic lights are still out and this is making commuting a major problem in some areas
-Without air conditioning many families are absolutely sweltering as high temperatures remain well above 90 degrees
-During the power outage some people have been without cell phone service because many cell phone towers were inoperable
-Without electricity, thousands upon thousands of people have not been able to use their computers for several days and this is causing a lot of frustration
-Several major websites were totally knocked offline by the storms as Robert McMillan of Wired Magazine explained….
Hurricane-like storms knocked an Amazon data center in Ashburn, Virginia, offline last night, and a chunk of the internet felt it. The six-hour incident temporarily cut off a number of popular internet services, including Netflix, Pinterest, Heroku, and Instagram.
But to be honest this was not a major disaster.
After a few days the damage will be fixed and people will start to forget what just happened.
Well, what if the damage was permanent and the entire nation had to go without electricity for the foreseeable future? The following is from a USA Today article by Dan Vergano….
The sky erupts. Cities darken, food spoils and homes fall silent. Civilization collapses.
End-of-the-world novel? A video game? Or could such a scenario loom in America’s future?
There is talk of catastrophe ahead, depending on whom you believe, because of the threat of an electromagnetic pulse triggered by either a supersized solar storm or terrorist A-bomb, both capable of disabling the electric grid that powers modern life.
As I have written about previously, an EMP attack could fundamentally change life in America in a single instant.
What would you do if such a scenario happened?
Would you try to go somewhere? Even if the electronics in your car were not totally fried, you would not be able to pump more gas anywhere.
Would you try to call someone? Most phones would be totally dead and all normal communications networks would be down. So who would you call?
Would you bunker down and try to survive on what you have at home? Most of the food in your refrigerator and freezer would rapidly go bad and most Americans only have enough food to last a few days or a few weeks. In addition, most Americans would no longer be able to heat or cool their homes, so extreme cold and extreme heat would become huge problems very quickly.
How in the world would any of us survive in a world without electricity?
In past centuries our forefathers knew how to survive in such a world, but most of us do not have the same skills or resources that they had.
The following is how an article in the Wall Street Journal once described what a massive EMP burst would do to this nation….
No American would necessarily die in the initial attack, but what comes next is potentially catastrophic. The pulse would wipe out most electronics and telecommunications, including the power grid. Millions could die for want of modern medical care or even of starvation since farmers wouldn’t be able to harvest crops and distributors wouldn’t be able to get food to supermarkets. Commissioner Lowell Wood calls EMP attack a “giant continental time machine” that would move us back more than a century in technology to the late 1800s.
What would you do if you were suddenly cut off from all electricity, all money, all modern forms of communication, all modern forms of transportation and all modern forms of shopping?
Don’t think that it can’t happen.
Scientists tell us that massive EMP bursts generated by gigantic solar storms have hit our planet in the past and that it is inevitable that it will happen again.
In addition, nations all over the planet are aware of what an EMP burst can do and have been developing “Super-EMP” weapons that can take power grids down in a single strike.
The following is a short excerpt from a statement by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry to the United States Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security on March 8th, 2005….
Russian and Chinese military scientists in open source writings describe the basic principles of nuclear weapons designed specifically to generate an enhanced-EMP effect, that they term “Super-EMP” weapons. “Super-EMP” weapons, according to these foreign open source writings, can destroy even the best protected U.S. military and civilian electronic systems.
That doesn’t sound good.
But perhaps even more troubling is that North Korea has been reportedly developing this type of weapon. In fact, it has been reported that North Korea may have tested a “Super-EMP” weapon all the way back in 2009….
North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states
In time, these kinds of weapons will get into more and more hands.
Will someone try to use this kind of weapon at some point?
Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy, believes that a single EMP burst could potentially end up killing the vast majority of the population of the United States….
“Within a year of that attack, nine out of 10 Americans would be dead, because we can’t support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity”
Once you understand these kinds of threats, it makes it a lot easier to understand why preppers are so busy preparing for the future.
Our world is becoming incredibly unstable. Another major economic crisis could hit us at any time, war in the Middle East could erupt without warning, earthquakes and other natural disasters are becoming more frequent and society seems to get a little crazier with each passing day.
The era of tremendous peace and prosperity that we have all been enjoying is rapidly coming to an end. In a world filled with instability and chaos, it only seems prudent to take some precautions.You might want to get prepared while you still have time (Hawaii News Daily, 2012).
Terror Warning: Grid Down
Date: July 27, 2012
Abstract: Could the reluctance to secure our nation's critical electric infrastructure be considered an act of terrorism? Or might it possibly be an act of providing material support for terrorism? If so, who would the terrorists be?
Which is the greater threat to America's national security-coordinated terrorist acts on major cities, such as the 9/11 attacks, or the deliberate inaction of corporate executives to secure our nation's electric grid? Consider the consequences: nearly three thousand people died in the 9/11 attacks; but a widespread and prolonged electric grid collapse, caused by a naturally-occurring coronal mass ejections (CMEs) or nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, could result in the deaths of over two-thirds of the population-200 million Americans. Given these dire statistics should those in positions of authority over the security and reliability of the bulk power system be held accountable for lack of action before a "grid-down" scenario becomes a reality?
We live in a terrifying world-and it's getting more so by the day. If you listen carefully to the news, you'll hear about localized natural disasters, failing global economy, the specter of creeping socialism, and potential violence from "domestic extremists," as well as from a vague assortment of international terrorists. If you go beyond the mainstream news, you'll find that natural disasters can, indeed be continental-wide (and possibly global). You'll find that our economic woes-beginning with the 2008 "crash"-have been manipulated by foreign interests and "financial terrorists." You'll realize that "creeping Shari'a" is on par with, if not more dangerous than creeping socialism. And you may discover that the real threats to national and homeland security are not from American "liberty loving" patriots who are prudently preparing for emergencies, but from an Iranian theocratic regime driven by an apocalyptic agenda (plus its allies) and a "global jihad movement" intent on establishing global Islam. You may also learn that our adversaries know exactly what our vulnerabilities are. They know precisely how to take us down, instantaneously and long-term. They know how to take down the nervous system of our country-the electric grid.
Many find revelations such as these too disturbing to contemplate. Public reactions that I have been confronted with include "this is too complicated;" "I can't do anything about these things, so I don't want to know;" "I have too many things to worry about now," "this is overblown rhetoric," and "you must be crazy." For my attempts to warn the public, I have been called names that can't be printed in this venue (mostly within politically-biased forums). Other noteworthy professionals-friends and associates in this endeavor-have become targets for character assassination (and worse). It has become neither politically correct, nor politically efficacious to discuss the real nature of threat under current socially-enforced restrictions. Thus, complexities are often ignored and linkages are not exposed to audiences beyond the few who dare to think along broader, more strategic lines. As a result, few are warned and the general public remains largely unaware, allowing for the continuity of complacency while solutions and/or alternatives may indeed exist-including "fixes" for vulnerabilities within our highly fragile power grid.
Representatives of the power industry have reluctantly conceded that the power grid may possibly be vulnerable to attacks (high-altitude nuclear, cyber, etc.) and the effects of severe space weather; yet they fail to grasp the necessity for speed in applying cost-effective fixes. Instead, industry leaders have managed to interject long-term delays based on the excuse that "more study is needed." Reports from congressional staffers indicate that messaging from power industry lobbyists consists mainly of one theme-that if a catastrophic event (solar or attack scenario) were to occur, there would be nothing left to "plug in" to the grid anyway, so why bother to spend the money to protect it, let alone risk a public outcry by creating additional regulations? This kind of thinking is not only wrong, it is defeatist and dangerous.
Nearly all small-scale electrical/electronic equipment can survive severe space weather events. Even under devastating conditions of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) cause by a high-altitude nuclear explosion, some vital electronics will be protected, either intentionally (e.g. those preplaced in Faraday cages) or unintentionally (e.g. cars in sufficiently protected underground garages). Some items can be fixed with spares. Some equipment won't be affected (such as older, pre-computer ignition automobiles and most diesel-electric locomotives).
Unfortunately, however, the huge transformers that make up the core of the electric grid are unique, costly, and are subject to damage from both EMP events and major solar storms (large-scale CMEs), as well as from the cumulative effects of multiple smaller geomagnetic disturbances that have occurred over time. Many transformers are quite old, have been affected by harmful harmonics with past CMEs, and are operating at the end of their life-cycle; thus they remain highly vulnerable. At this point in time, a large, geographically widespread grid-down scenario lasting longer than 7 days virtually guarantees multiple Chernobyl/Fukushima-like disasters. With nuclear power plants and their associated spent fuel rod pools concentrated mainly in the eastern half of the United States (100 out of 104), many people will become radiation victims if the grid isn't protected. What will be left to "plug in" to the grid? Hopefully something that can be used to cool the spent fuel rods on a very long-term basis.
Bottom line--the more components (electric grid, public service, and personal electronics) that are protected and/or saved, the faster the country can recover, and the more lives will be spared in the aftermath of a catastrophic collapse of the critical electric infrastructure. Considering the possibility of four to ten years without electric power, the loss of over two-thirds of our country's population within the first year, and the probable loss of our sovereignty as a nation, I would think that the people of the United States deserve more than lame excuses (e.g. the citing of a need for "more data") and defeatist attitudes-especially coming from the private organization tasked with protecting the bulk power system-the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). The data is already overwhelming. Many government-sponsored scientific studies have reported the risks of doing nothing-the time to prepare and protect the grid is now.
So, what is the greater threat to our nation? Is the security of our country being held hostage to an agenda set by corporate executives who are reticent to consider "worst case" events? Or is there something more sinister going on? Regardless of the reasons or motives, once the grid has collapsed, we are all "sitting ducks" for social unrest, starvation, and pre-positioned terror cells known to exist across the nation. At that point, one could be forgiven for wondering what "terrorist" organization compromised our safety-whether the intention was profit, political efficacy, or our ultimate destruction.Equating the threat from recalcitrant electric utility executives to the threat of international terrorism may seem harsh. The EMP threat, after all, is more appropriately associated with North Korea, Russia, China, Iran and terrorist proxies. And the effects of severe space weather can hardly be attributed to terrorism. But the NERC is currently certified as the nation's Electric Reliability Organization (ERO). The need for electric grid defense becomes more critical by the day; and if the NERC has done all they are going to do, near term, to protect the grid, perhaps it's time to consider alternative organizations for industry representation and leadership. Perhaps it's time to call for decertification of the NERC (FSM, 2012).
Newt Gingrich Fears Of EMP Attack On D.C.
Date: August 1, 2012
Abstract: In the 11 years since the September 11 attacks, D.C. has been victimized more severely by Mother Nature than it has been by terrorists. All the best laid plans for how to evacuate the city have been tested (and failed) by inclement weather and acts of God—see Snowpocalypse, 2011 earthquake—rather than a terrorist attack.
But for Newt Gingrich, it always comes back to the threat of a terrorist attack on the nation's capital. And according to the Huffington Post, he recently compared the power outages caused by the June 29 derecho to what could happen if terrorist—or the characters of The Matrix—used an EMP on the city:
"Any of you who were in Washington during the recent week-long opportunity to experiment with an electromagnetic pulse attack, just talk to people, we were out of electricity for seven days at our house," said the moon colonization enthusiast during his speech at the Young America's Foundation's National Conservative Student Conference, where he was speaking about threats to American security.
An electromagnetic pulse attack is caused—in theory—by a nuclear weapon going off in space and radiating an electromagnetic field down on the earth, knocking out electric grids. (You may remember a variation from Ocean's 1311.) Gingrich is so concerned about the possibility that the speech wasn't the first time he mentioned it—he also published an op-ed in the Post on July 12 about it.Maybe this gives more impetus to Gingrich's hopes for colonizing the moon, huh? (DCist, 2012).
Low-Tech EMP To Send U.S. Back To 'Stone Age'?
Date: August 3, 2012
Abstract: Eid-ul-Fitr, the Muslim holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan, was an appropriate setting for a panel discussion today on the threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse, or EMP, attack on the United States.
The live event, hosted by Florida-based The United West, was held to raise awareness of the looming threat.
The warning presented was startling: A crude nuclear device placed on top of a 50-year-old SCUD missile and launched by a tramp steamer could cause the collective collapse of the nation’s power grid in a matter of minutes.
It is estimated that Iran could launched such an attack in just a few years, and it would leave the U.S. essentially in the “Stone Age.”
Tom Trento, founder of The United West, called an EMP attack the equivalent of an “Electronic Armageddon.”
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, both believe that the coming of the last Islamic messiah, the Shiites’ 12th Imam Mahdi, is near and that Iran is called upon to bring about his arrival.
They believe Iran must lead the way for a worldwide Islamic revolution. Leaders in the Iranian government have stated that the Islamic revolution is moving forward, advanced by the Arab Spring, and will reach the shores of America for an eventual takeover.
Intelligence sources have indicated Iran is within two years of bringing the revolution to the United States in the form of an EMP attack.
Ambassador R. James Woolsey, former director of the CIA during the Clinton administration, told the conference that an Iranian nuclear attack would not have to be sophisticated or complicated. He cited the estimated damage from a crude device mounted atop a SCUD and launched from somewhere near the U.S. shores.
The missile “need not be accurate, it just needs altitude” to be successful. He went on to say that the effects of EMP are known, because the nation already has experienced them.
“Starfish Prime” was a high-altitude nuclear test conducted by the U.S. on July 9, 1962, before the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban treaty banned nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere.
A two megaton nuclear device approximately 100 times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was launched via a Thor rocket and exploded 250 miles above a point 19 miles southwest of Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean.
The results included surprises and raised still-unanswered questions.
William Graham, another member of the panel, said the EMP was 100 times larger than predicted and no one understood why.
Sophisticated electronic equipment on the island of Oahu, almost 900 miles away, was severely damaged, but vacuum-tube based devices were unharmed. Over 300 streetlights stopped working, burglar alarms were activated and one telephone company’s microwave link was destroyed.
“The street lights on Ferdinand Street in Manoa and Kawainui Street in Kailua went out at the instant the bomb went off, according to several persons who called police last night,” as reported July 9, 1962, in the Honolulu Advertiser.
The same article reported that a brilliant flash turned Hawaii’s night into day, with the “spectacular pyrotechnic aftermath” lasting seven minutes.
“It was like turning on all the lights all over the Hawaiian Islands for a super-super athletic contest.”
A city-county streetlight department official in Honolulu also attributed blown circuit fuses in nine areas to the energy released from the bomb.
Today’s worldwide nuclear arsenal is much more powerful.
According to the Brookings Institution, nuclear bombs have been constructed that range in size of 0.02 megatons to 15 megatons, seven times larger than the Starfish Prime warhead.
Iran would not need anything nearly as large as a 15 megaton bomb to destroy the U.S. infrastructure. A nuclear device built using 1940s technology would suffice. Iran’s nuclear program is already capable of building such a device.
Woolsey said, “All this discussion about whether [the Iranians] have a (nuclear) program ignores the fact that in enriching uranium up to 20 percent (purity), you have done 85-90 percent of the work you need.”
He went on to note that when Iranians say they are not interested in nuclear weapons, they are “lying through their teeth.”
With a nuclear device in hand, either produced locally or purchased from North Korea, all Iran would need is a delivery system.
As Woolsey noted, a SCUD would do the job.
Since an EMP only affects electronics within its line of sight, the higher the detonation, the larger the affected area. A device detonated 100 miles over Indianapolis would put 70 percent of the population of the United States in the dark.
Such a missile could be launched from a fishing boat off the East Coast.
The Aegis missile system is designed to only fire at a target at mid-course or in its terminal, or reentry, phase.
Woolsey claims President Obama has made it harder to design the missile system to strike targets in the ascent phase due to promises he has made to the Soviet Union.
Graham, a member of the Department of Defense’s Defense Science Board and President Reagan’ science adviser, saw firsthand the effects of an EMP on critical infrastructure.
In 1962, Graham went on active duty to look at the data generated from the last of the above-ground nuclear tests. He concluded that an “EMP super-weapon” would not need to generate a large blast. It could be a small weapon that would effectively neutralize conventional forces.
He concluded that an EMP attack would result in “Government by Disaster.”
At the conference, Fritz Ermarth, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, said EMP has changed the face of modern warfare.
“While the Cold War strategy of blasting cities is still in portfolio,” EMP is getting new emphasis. A major advantage they have is that they are cheap and easy to produce. He went on to say that because of its lack of preparation, the United States is way behind in terms of defense against an EMP threat.
He claims that the U.S. is “tremendously vulnerable to catastrophic blackmail.”
Ermarth painted the following scenario: President Ahmadinejad calls the United States president and says Iran has enough nuclear material to make several bombs and they have deployed them in ships and trucks around the country. He then goes on to say that Iran intends to destroy Israel and then invade Saudi Arabia. He threatens the American president that if the United States responds, Iran will launch its missiles. Ahmadinejad claims that at least two or three missiles will get through.
Even without a demonstration, Iran’s threat has to be taken seriously, he said.
The president would ask his advisers, “Is it a plausible threat?” To which the advisers would have to say “yes,” given the state of Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and access to ballistic delivery systems.
This would also hold true for any bioweapon which could be transmitted by air.
“What do you think the U.S. will do?”
Ermarth concluded his remarks by saying, “Don’t discount coercion and blackmail as a weapon.”Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, director of the Department of Defense’s Strategic Defense Initiative Organization under President Reagan, concluded his own remarks by saying that EMP is an “existential problem,” and it is “ludicrous that our representatives are not providing comprehensive defenses that are needed” (WND, 2012).
Israel's EMP Attack Can Send Iran Back To The Stone Age
Date: August 6, 2012
Source: Arutz Sheva
Abstract: There is no question that Iran is now a de facto nuclear state - a “casus belli” for Israeli military action.
As Iran miscalculates Israeli resolve, it is clear that the diplomatic dance of deceit and empty bluster for years is over. The die is cast and Israel has crossed the Rubicon, since a significant spectacle of events is set to begin to work against Iran come October.
While the onus is on Iran to abide by its international obligations, the wild card is in Israel’s hand - with Electrnonic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) inscribed on it. Since diplomacy and sanctions were an abject failure, war has become inevitable and preparations for preventing Iran’s rapid nuclear progress have, thus far, accelerated.
Despite Israel’s highly advanced technology and strategic military advantage, Israel’s fear of an Iranian existential threat is understandable. In any case, Israel has done it the past with flawless precision when it destroyed Iraq's Osiraq reactor in 1981 and a Syrian reactor being built by North Koreans in 2007. Both surprise attacks were immensely successful and kept Israel’s enemies scratching their heads in disbelief, stunning the world.
Iran has reached the ‘zone of immunity.’
There are five solid reasons that Iran has now entered what Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak termed as the “zone of immunity”:
Second, Iran has accelerated its forced projection and tested ballistic missiles delivery system in an EMP mode with North Korean assistance.
Thirdly, Iran’s stockpile of low grade enriched uranium can be converted to five nuclear weapons if refined further, according to the Institute for Science and International Security.
Fourth, satellite imagery shows mega-fortification of underground nuclear facilities impervious to U.S. super bunker buster bombs.
Finally, Iran has started the process of loading 163 fuel rods into the core of Bushehr nuclear power plant reactor.
In light of the latest developments, there is no question that Iran is now a de facto nuclear state - a “casus belli” for Israeli military action. Although the military option is unattractive and untenable, failure to act would be much worse if Iran got the atomic bomb.
A large majority of Israelis and Americans believes that Israel would be better off if the U.S. would lead the attack on Iran.
For the most part, Israel’s dilemma is focused singly on the use of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) without informing the U.S. Regardless of the consequences, the U.S. would have no choice but to support Israel. The stakes are simply too high to ignore this time. However, trust deficit and loss of U.S. credibility compels Israel not to depend on others to protect the Jewish people.
The reality on the ground is revealing: Iran needs only one or two nuclear bombs to start a thermonuclear war against Israel and the United States, to hasten what these religious nuts believe is the coming of the Islamic messiah.
Evidentially, a nuclear-capable Iran can unleash a single atomic bomb on Israel with simultaneous asymmetric proxy attacks in the U.S. and other western targets. But thanks to heaven - and Israel - the Islamic republic is not there yet.
In addition, intelligence sources have now indicated Iran is within two years of bringing the Islamic revolution to the U.S. in the form of an EMP attack.
So the game-changer would be a significant EMP event that would take Iranians back to the Stone Age.
What would an EMP attack look like?
If Israel chooses one of its Jericho III missiles to detonate a single EMP warhead at high altitude over north central Iran, there will be with no blast or radiation effects on the ground.
Coupled with cyber-attacks, Iranians would not know it happened except for a massive shutdown of the electric power grid, oil refineries and a transportation gridlock. Food supply would be exhausted and communication would be largely impossible, leading to economic collapse. Similarly, the uranium enrichment centrifuges in Fordo, Natanz and widely scattered elsewhere, would freeze for decades.
Iran’s response to an EMP attack would be futile and uncannily tragic. Before the elite Qods force could mine the Strait of Hormuz and wreak havoc to Arab Gulf states oil refineries, the Fifth Fleet and U.S. military installations, Iran’s administrative-industrial-military complex infrastructures would have been laid to waste without the ruling clerical regime knowing about it
In this scenario, a rain of missiles from Lebanon’s Hizbullah, Hamas in Gaza would have to be endured by Israel. Frankly, one thing is certain- Israel won’t nuke Iran unless it unleashes chemical, biological or nuclear weapons to Israel's enemies.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has stressed that Israel would consider the transfer of Syrian chemical weapons to Hizbullah a "casus belli" and act "without hesitation or restraint."
On a constructive note, Iranian Green opposition forces would have an opportunity to take to the darkened streets of Tehran and rid themselves of the fanatical regime.
Hence, if Iran doesn’t blink, Israel certainly will attack in the fall with no ifs and or buts.
Furthermore, the mathematical probability of Iran winning the war is naught, since as Israel knows best, when it comes to Israel’s security, there can be no substitute for victory.
Speculation aside, war becomes inevitable for reasons beyond logic and difficult to explain - and the consequences are actually unpredictable and messy. Typically, in these most challenging and uncertain times, it is very difficult indeed. This is yet another reason why Israel's risks and dilemmas, difficult as they are, will never be brought to a peaceful conclusion.As former Mossad chief and national security adviser Ephraim Halevy, quoted by the New York Times, said, if he were Iranian he "would be very fearful of the next 12 weeks" (Arutz Sheva, 2012).
National EMP Awareness Day
Date: August 15, 2012
Source: Heritage Foundation
Abstract: Ever hear of National EMP Awareness Day? Most of your leaders in Washington haven’t either, and that’s why all of us may be in grave danger.
An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack constitutes one of the single greatest threats to modern national security. Typically triggered by a high-altitude nuclear warhead, an EMP can damage unprotected electronic devices, disrupt communications, and permanently destroy American infrastructure. The 2008 Graham Commission lists a host of likely outcomes to a successful strike: planes falling from the sky, cars stalling on the roadways, electrical networks failing, food rotting—the list continues for pages.
Yet very little has been done in recent years to prepare the U.S. for an EMP attack, even as the likelihood of that attack from rogue regimes and terrorist organizations has increased. Since 2008, five separate bills have aimed at bolstering American preparedness for an EMP attack, but none have made it out of committee. Even military installations, most of which had been EMP-hardened during the Cold War, remain vulnerable because of their reliance on unprotected commercial technology, such as GPS satellites.
All Americans need to know the risks of continued inaction regarding the growing threat of EMP attacks. Therefore, The Heritage Foundation proposes August 15 be named National EMP Awareness Day.
On August 15, 2003, an unexpected power surge caused a major blackout throughout the northeastern U.S. and Canada, affecting an estimated 45 million people in eight U.S. states. Although power was mostly restored the next day—an impossibility in a real EMP attack—economic costs approached an estimated $7 billion to $10 billion.
Imagine, for a moment, the impact of a successful EMP strike upon the U.S. People couldn’t use their phones or the Internet to contact loved ones, public and private transportation would be unusable, and food would quickly become scarce. Thousands if not millions of Americans would lose their lives in the aftermath of the attack, and there wouldn’t be much the government could do. The U.S. needs to build up its missile defense system, develop a national recovery plan, and further research on EMP.
The threat of an EMP
attack is real, and it must be taken seriously if the U.S. is to be fully
prepared for the future. Recognizing EMP Awareness Day would be a step in the
right direction toward a safer, more secure tomorrow (Heritage Foundation, 2012).
Congressional Hearing: Raise EMP Awareness Now
Date: September 11, 2012
Source: Heritage Foundation
Abstract: On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies will hold a hearing on the consequences of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack.
This is a good first step to raise awareness about the issue. An EMP, a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by a rapid acceleration of charged particles, would disrupt, damage, or destroy all modern, unhardened electronic devices. Planes would fall from the sky. Most cars would be inoperable. Cell phones, TVs, and computers would not work. Water, sewer, and electrical networks would fail. Banking, energy, transportation, food production and delivery, emergency services, and even cyberspace would collapse—all at the same time.
The most effective means of delivering an EMP attack is to detonate a nuclear weapon at a high altitude. China and Russia have weapons specifically designed to deliver an EMP. More than 30 countries around the world—including Iran and North Korea—have ballistic missile technologies, a key enabler in conducting the attack. U.S. adversaries with long-range ballistic missile capability can reach the homeland in a mere 33 minutes. This is why a comprehensive ballistic missile defense system is an essential component in countering the threat of an EMP attack.
Radio-frequency weapons can also cause smaller-scale EMPs, but they have to be detonated close to the grid of a device that the attacker intends to destroy. In addition, solar flares (or “space weather”) can create an EMP and damage satellites and electric systems on the earth.
The Heritage Foundation recently called for a National EMP Awareness Day, which, in addition to congressional hearings, would be a good starting point for drawing more attention to this important issue. In addition to expanding U.S. missile defense program, the Administration should develop a National Recovery Plan to recommend post-attack recovery steps and protect and harden the nation’s cyber infrastructure, which is essential for coordinating crisis responses effectively.The U.S. possesses technologies to address the EMP threat and should put them to a good use before it is too late (Heritage Foundation, 2012).
Electromagnetic Pulse Could Knock Out U.S. Power Grid
Date: September 12, 2012
Abstract: U.S. power grids and other civilian infrastructure are not prepared for electromagnetic pulses that could result from weapons or violent space weather, according to testimony at a congressional subcommittee hearing Wednesday.
Panelists at the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies, told Chairman Dan Lungren R-Calif., that there were serious flaws in the nation’s infrastructure that could allow for EMP events to shut down power and communications for extended periods of time.
“Our civilian grid, which the Defense Department relies upon for 99 percent of its electricity needs, is vulnerable to these kinds of dangers,” Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., testified during the hearing. Franks, one of the leaders of the Congressional EMP Caucus, sponsored legislation in 2011 to protect U.S. infrastructure in the event of an attack by an EMP weapon.
Michael Aimone, a director of business enterprise integration at Defense, said the Pentagon had pursued a “two-track approach” to mitigate the impact an EMP attack could have on Defense facilities. He said his plan relied on both in-house capabilities to maintain power and electronics and a means to communicate and coordinate with outside partners.
“DoD recently adopted an explicit mission assurance strategy, which is focused on ensuring operational continuity in an all-hazard threat environment,” Aimone said.
EMP disruptions and attacks can be triggered by various events, including high-altitude or low-altitude nuclear weapons detonations, locally based radio frequency weapons, and solar weather. One of the largest impacts from an EMP-based disruption was in Quebec in 1989, when nearly 6 million people lost power because of a geomagnetic storm.
Brandon Wales, of the Homeland Security Department’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, said DHS was working with federal agencies on contingency plans for an EMP event. He said Federal Emergency Management Agency was establishing lines of communication with key agencies in case an EMP event occurs, and that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had commissioned a report in 2011 to study the impact of space-based EMP attacks.
“DHS has pursued a deeper understanding of the EMP threat, as well as its potential impacts, effective mitigation strategies, and a greater level of public awareness and readiness in cooperation with other federal agencies and private equipment and system owners and operators through various communications channels,” Wales said.
Common standards for power grid equipment are a major issue according to Joseph McClelland, director of the Office of Electric Reliability at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He said current standards to protect infrastructure and equipment do not address the many levels within the power grid and should be updated.
“Protecting the electric generation, transmission and distribution systems from severe damage due to an EMP-related event would involve vulnerability assessments at every level of electric infrastructure,” McClelland said.
Chris Beck, president of the Electric Infrastructure Security Council, said the cost of protecting key infrastructure from EMP attacks was small, and added the bigger problem was getting the word out about the issue.
“The primary needs seem to be for education to increase awareness and willingness to address the problem, and for coordination to address the complex government and corporate administrative structures of even the most critical infrastructures,” Beck said.Public interest in EMPs piqued during the Republican primaries, when former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich explained the threat of the EMP weapons during his stump speeches. He issued a statement following a recent severe storm in the Washington area, saying the power outages were just a taste of what the scenario following EMP weapon would be like (NextGov, 2012).
Attack On Power Grid Could Take Down DOD Systems, Experts Warn
Date: September 12, 2012
Abstract: Defense systems that depend on the commercial electric grid are vulnerable to electromagnetic pulse attacks and solar storms that could seriously damage the nation’s infrastructure, experts from the Homeland Security and Defense departments told a House Homeland Security subcommittee.
The likelihood and the effects of such an event have been the subject of debate, and legislation that would require defenses against them is stalled in the House.
Major military weapons systems and nuclear assets are hardened against EMP events, but “DOD is heavily dependent on the commercial electric grid,” Michael Aimone, director of DOD Business Enterprise Integration, told the subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies.
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who testified as a witness at the Sept. 12 hearing, said Russia and several other countries are developing an offensive EMP capability, but there is little protection against such attacks on the commercial grid. He called for installing hardware protection for the most critical elements.
”The major vulnerability we have right now is damage to our major transformers,” which could put parts of the national grid out of operation for years, Franks said. Operational procedures cannot provide timely response, he added, but equipment called neutral phase blockers could provide cost-effective and automatic protection from surges that could cause damage.
Current regulations do not require this protection, however, and industry has been slow to adopt it, although Chris Beck, president of the Electric Infrastructure Security Council, said there are no significant technical or financial barriers to deploying it.
Electromagnetic pulse is an electrical disruption that can be caused by high-altitude nuclear explosions or naturally by solar activities such as flares. Studies by the congressionally established EMP Commission and by Oak Ridge National Laboratory have concluded that in a worst-case scenario a serious event could leave large portions of the nation’s power grid out of service for four to 10 years by causing physical damage to transformers and other equipment. Communications systems and individual electrical devices also could be at risk.
The likelihood of such an event has been questioned, however. The North American Electric Reliability Corp., which is charged with creating mandatory reliability standards for the U.S. bulk power distribution industry, believes it is more likely that there would be little physical damage and resulting problems would last only days.
Beck blamed the lack of preparedness on industry inertia and lack of awareness.
Current processes for creating industry standards are inadequate to address such threats to national security, said Joseph McClelland, director of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Electric Reliability. NERC writes the standards, and FERC can only approve or reject them.
“The procedures used by NERC are appropriate for developing and approving routine reliability standards,” McClelland said. “However, it can be an impediment when measures or actions need to be taken to address threats to national security quickly and in a manner that protects against the disclosure of security-sensitive information.”
The SHIELD Act (H.R. 668), introduced last year by Franks, would enable FERC to establish reliability standards for the bulk power system to protect against EMP attacks. No action has been taken on the bill.
DOD currently relies on on-site and mobile back-up generators to protect against disruptions from outages in the commercial grid, and also is developing next-generation microgrids to enable local generation and storage of power on bases.This could not only protect against outages but enable better local energy supplies and the balancing of supply and demand. DOD's Aimone said microgrid demonstration projects currently are under way at 29 Palms Marine Corps base in California and at Fort Bliss, Texas (GCN, 2012).
Title: EMP: Iran Or North Korea Could Destroy US With A Single Bomb
Date: September 17, 2012
Source: Disclose TV
Abstract: EMPs are cheaper than Nukes have a 5 times more diameter effectiveness and will disorientate everything , a nuke could scorch a city off the planet but it cant disorientate a whole nation .
If an EMP attack went off all electronics would be down, the stock market would crash, we would starve if we don't find food, cars and all transportation won't work, people would panic and raid stores to take all the food, instantly we would turn into a preindustrial era, everyone would not gain any money, Americas defenses would be nothing without electricity, and the worst part, no more television,further more the Nuclear Power Plants are not inside a Faraday cage.
The electrical surge will follow transmission lines and go right into the electrical wiring and computers of the nuclear power plant. This instant frying of the electrical structure of the power plant will prevent the computers from initiating safety shutdown procedures such as bringing down the protective shields and kicking in the diesel generators to run the water pumps. This would result in an instant meltdown and world radiation.
If all electronics are fried how do you purify water? Even more important how do you pump it from underground or even reach groundwater without power drills? People will die from dehydration, that's the problem people forgot how to purify water the old way people are distracted by newer electronics that are being made, now a threat is being made because the terrorist know that our strength is also our weakness "Electronics" (Disclose TV, 2012).
Silent EMP Threat
Date: September 21, 2012
Source: American Spectator
Abstract: Riots over the Middle East and South Asia get everyone's attention, but a clear and present danger to the United States homeland exists that virtually no one is talking about and for which we have no defense: missile attack.
A Russian military officials says the recent covert visit of one of their submarines to the Gulf of Mexico proves that they could, without difficulty, launch a missile high over the U.S. that could trigger the explosion of an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) bomb that would shut down virtually all electrical and electronic activity in a large swath of the nation. There would be no radiation, no deaths -- "only" economic paralysis and chaos.
Add Iran and North Korea to the list of potential launchers of such a weapon.
While we have worked for months to develop missile defense capabilities in Europe to protect against a possible Iranian attack there, we have only tested such systems from bases in California and Alaska. Nothing is ready to deploy and given the threat of "sequestration" of large amounts of defense funds, that situation is unlikely to change.
While Congress and the Administration stew and stall over the sequestration issue, the danger is both clear and present and there is something we can do to protect the U.S. homeland from such attacks. It is called the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netter Sensor. That mouthful is shortened to JLENS.
The Army developed JLENS to detect, identify, track and engage multiple hostile targets, including low-flying cruise missiles, as well as those launched from submarines and merchant vessels. The threat is that such attacks might involve EMP, chemical or biological weapons.
JLENS is deceptively simple, consisting of two lighter-than-air ships that lift to 10,000 feet (or more) both a fire-control and surveillance radar from where they detect potentially hostile targets at ranges of more than 200 miles. It gives field commanders considerable advance warning of threats. The system was tested successfully last April at the Utah Test and Training Range, destroying a simulated hostile cruise missile with a Patriot missile.
Development of JLENS has involved an investment of $2 billion so far. The next step is to answer requests from combat commands for this system by testing it again in the field to fine-tune it. Congress appropriated $40.3 million for such a test; however, before it could be conducted, the Department of Defense asked Congress to allow these funds to be reprogrammed for other purposes, presumably including budget balancing in the face of sequestration.Since its creation in the 1950s, the Committee on the Present Danger has focused on the changing nature of threats to the United States. With the potential threat to the U.S. homeland increasing daily, the Committee has written to the Secretary of Defense to urge him to withdraw the request to reprogram the funds so that development of JLENS can proceed. Its cost, in the greater scheme of things, is low when measured against the nature and growth of the threat to our homeland (American Spectator, 2012).
Sees EMP As A Threat To Power Infrastructure, But Can't Figure Out How To
Date: October 12, 2012
Abstract: While we often worry about maintaining power to our datacenters and plan for the potential impact of power outages and how we will deal with them almost all the plans made by datacenter operators deal with short term power failures. Long-term outages usually fall under the aegis of our disaster recovery / business continuity planning, but even that level of organization operates under the expectation that the national power grid will remain intact.
The Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) has, since the establishment of the regulatory oversight explained in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, been the agency responsible for the protection of the delivery of reliable bulk energy in the US. This means primarily the backbone of energy providers; they are not tasked with oversight of regional providers.
In a somewhat convoluted process, FERC has designate another group, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to review, propose and approve new and existing standards with the goal of improving the reliability and protecting the bulk power systems within the continental US. They are not responsible for Alaska or Hawaii.
Last month, Joseph McClellan, the director of the Office of Electric Reliability of the FERC testified before congress to point out the limitations of federal policy on maintaining the reliability and availability of the nation’s electric backbone in a time when external threats are a potential problem. You can download the transcript of his testimony here.
He basically makes two points; the first is that while the current procedures and processes in place for the government and FERC to provide direction on how to meet their mandated requirements are suitable for long-term planning, they are basically useless if there is a need for a quick reaction to ongoing events.The second is the lack of any real process in place to handle physical threats to reliability of the bulk electric providers, with specific attention to the potential damage that can be caused by EMP. He makes it quite clear that while the danger of EMP damage is a real one, and that this has been known to the government for at least a decade, that there has been little to no activity on how to address this physical threat beyond additional reports and studies identifying EMP as a potential problem. And in a typical government catch-22, they FERC can identify the problem but is limited by the scope of their authority and cannot promulgate standards for addressing this very real issue (ZDNet, 2012).
The Missile That Wipes Out Everything Electric
Date: October 24, 2012
Source: Smart Planet
Abstract: Ever wonder what it would be like to go without electricity, apart from the odd five-minute power cut? Ask Boeing — the firm is working on a missile that could completely wipe out all of your electronics.
Boeing are developing what is dubbed the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) — a missile that slams targets underneath with microwaves which can take out everything electrical, from your coveted iPad to critical city power systems.
The aircraft and defense company recently tested CHAMP at the Utah Test and Training Range in the Western Utah Desert. The first target, a two-story building, was filled with computers. After being hit with a high-powered microwave pulse, every single PC died — as did all the television cameras set up to record the experiment.
Every computer in the building was disrupted and went black.
“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works. “In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.”
The team hopes this kind of missile could be used in warfare not only to disrupt critical electronic systems, but to cause such damage with little or no collateral damage — something which may become a huge leap in modern non-lethal warfare.
Currently, the multi-year
project is far from being suitable for military use (Smart
Boeing Successfully Tests Microwave Missile That Takes Out Electronic Targets
Date: October 25, 2012
Source: CBS St. Louis
Abstract: Boeing successfully tests a new missile that can take out electronic targets with little collateral damage.
The aerospace company tested the microwave missile last week on a two-story building on the Utah Test and Training Range where computers and electronic systems were turned on to gauge the effects of the missile’s radio waves, according to a Boeing press release.
The missile, known as CHAMP (Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project), fired a burst of High Powered Microwaves at the building, successfully knocking out the electronic systems and computers, and even taking out the television cameras recording the test.
“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works, said in the press release. “In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.”
Seven targets were taken out in total during the one-hour test which left no collateral damage.
Coleman believes this can be a huge advancement forward in non-lethal warfare.
“Today we turned science fiction into science fact,” Coleman said in the press release.
James Dodd, vice president of Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft, is hoping to get these microwave missiles in the field sooner rather than later.
Members of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate and Raytheon Ktech also took part in the test.Boeing Defense, Space & Security division is headquartered in St. Louis (CBS St. Louis, 2012).
Title: It Works!
Computers Fried By EMP-Like Blast
Date: October 25, 2012
Abstract: A pre-programmed cruise missile not too different from a drone has been proven to be capable of blasting out an EMP-type microwave that was able to destroy personal computers and electrical systems inside a building over which it was flying.
The U.S. Air Force and its contractor Boeing have created the High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP, which was just tested over a Utah desert.
It’s a project of Boeing’s Phantom Works team and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate, along with Raytheon Ktech, which supplied the high power microwave, or HPM.
The action of the high power microwave has the same effect as an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, from either a high-altitude exploded nuclear weapon or a massive solar storm, but not with their intensity.
The cruise missile, which was launched from a U.S. bomber, was pre-programmed to fly over a target and shoot a burst of high power microwaves at a two-story building. It knocked out rows of personal computers and electrical systems which were shown in a video taken of the test.
Following the first target, the cruise missile then was guided to six other targets, resulting in knocking out all electronics.
“In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive,” according to Keith Coleman, the CHAMP program manager of Boeing’s Phantom Works.
The cruise missile is equipped with a powerful magnetron that produces a massive pulse of microwave radiation. The magnetron is a high-powered vacuum tube that generates microwaves that uses the interaction of electrons with a magnetic field. It also is used in radars and microwave ovens.
The Air Force test showed that a non-lethal weapon can knock out multiple electronic targets without collateral damage. It has the same effect as a magnetic flux-compression generator, or MFCG, bomb which can produce electrical energy of some tens of Mega Joules in just tens of microseconds in a relatively small package.
In effect, the MFCG is a directed electromagnetic pulse gun that has military application as its primary use.
All of this also is similar to another U.S. Air Force-developed weapon based on a type of radar called the active electronically scanned array, or AESA.
An ASEA acting as normal radar broadcasts microwaves over a wide area. However, all of its energy can be focused on a single point. A beam from an ASEA basically scrambles electronic components of a target, similar to the effects of an EMP from a nuclear detonation when it fries all electronics.
Depending on the ASEA’s strength, it can scramble the electronics of an offensive target at considerable distances without endangering the aircraft equipped with the ASEA radar.
There are large and small ASEAS. While the larger ones fit on ships, the smaller ASEAs fit in the nose of our latest jet fighters, such as the F-22 and the latest F-35 stealth joint strike fighter.
Boeing also has made a Growler, a modified F-18 Super Hornet designated the EA-18G airborne electronic attack aircraft.
The EA-18G is in use by the U.S. Navy and is the cornerstone of the naval Airborne Electronic Attack, or AEA, mission.
It incorporates advanced airborne electronic attack avionics which is capable of suppressing enemy air defenses, or SEAD, and undertaking non-traditional electronic attack operations, or EMP attacks on enemy positions.
Boeing’s CHAMP project is of a design similar to the company’s other cruise missile designs that are also air-launched and have a low-radar signature but is smaller with compressed carriage wings that extend out after launch.
“Any of these systems can be made to be recoverable or otherwise,” Coleman said. “There are many proven methods of recovering vehicles from the lightweights to the heavier designs.”
The training took place at the Utah Test and Training Range at Hill Air Force Base. While the beam was focused to virtually eliminate collateral damage to nearby electronic devices, the software used in the test reportedly was the same to trigger an HPM weapon warhead.
The cruise missile used in the CHAMP test, sources say, is associated with the Air Force’s Long-Range Strike, or LRS, program. Unmanned aircraft, such as cruise missiles used in the CHAMP test would provide directed-energy weapons support and electronic attack to the LRS program.
“Champ is a template for future HPM programs,” Coleman said. “There has never been this type of system with this kind of power out on any vehicle of any sort before.”
He added that there will be no problem putting HPM weapons technology on even smaller or larger airframes.
These developments have not gone unnoticed by other countries that are aware of the effects of EMP weapons and may be developing some of their own.
Iran, for example, has been flying unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, over U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf for some time taking photos. They easily could be equipped with a magnetron to knock out the electronics on board the ships, since their UAVs are virtually stealthy.
Indeed, Iran has even admitted that it had used newly developed microwave technology to trick the electronics onboard the SQ-170 stealth U.S. drone which it claims it downed in November 2011 as it flew a spy mission from Afghanistan.
The SQ-170 was made to land in Iran with minimal damage. The Iranians then claimed to have deciphered the coded software and learned other secrets surrounding the SQ-170.
Esmaeil Kowsari, a member of the Iranian parliament and vice chairman of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, contended that the Iranians brought down the drone through sophisticated hacking of satellites that controlled the drone.
“The plane was designed to fly on SAT (satellite) orders from an initiation base,” Kowsari contended. “If for any reason contact with the initiation base – in this case Afghanistan – was lost it should respond to orders given by another base in the U.S. If contact with both of the bases is lost, then it should return immediately to the initial base.
“If it cannot, self-destruction is the ultimate choice,” he added. “Despite this, the Iranian electronic war hackers were not only able to hack the SAT controlling the drone and sever contacts with the Afghanistan base, but they were also able to simulate their base as the U.S. base for the plane and as the higher ranking base forced the plane to land without destroying itself, the artificial intelligent-based software did not even suspect that it is being controlled by the Iranian forces.”
As an indication that Iranian electronic measures may be aimed at U.S. forces in the region in retaliation, Kowsari warned that the Iranians will be undertaking electronic warfare against “all computer-based network systems in the U.S. and Europe.”
“Since the algorithm and logic behind other systems are much simpler, the Iranians may be able to control all radars, satellites, planes, ships, tanks, rockets, cruise missiles of the U.S. and NATO throughout the world,” he added. “They may be able to even control American soldiers, who are driven to fight using satellite controlled infrared systems.”
In suggesting that Iran could enter into such systems, Kowsari said the weapons could be deflected back to the “perpetrators” simply by hacking their systems.
While Kowsari didn’t say just how the hacking had been done, recent efforts on the part of Iranians suggest the hacking included the use of some kind of radio-frequency microwave weapon which isn’t surprising since the Iranians themselves have boasted of undertaking such research.In fact, such information has been publicly available since 1999 to the Iranians and other countries that want to acquire information on RF weapons to counter stealth and cruise missile technology (WND, 2012).
U.S. Power Grid Vulnerable To Terrorist Attack
Date: November 14, 2012
Source: USA Today
Abstract: After Hurricane Sandy left millions in the dark, a long-delayed federal study Wednesday says the U.S. power grid is also vulnerable to terrorist attacks that could cause months of blackouts and billions in economic damages.
The nation's grid is spread out across hundreds of miles, and many key pieces of equipment are either unguarded or so old they lack the sensors to limit outages from cascading, according to the study by the National Research Council (NRC), a private independent agency operating under a congressional charter.
"We could easily be without power across a multistate region for many weeks or months, because we don't have many spare transformers," says M. Granger Morgan, engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and chairman of the NRC committee that wrote the report. He says a terrorist attack could cause disruptions worse than Sandy and rack up "hundreds of billions of dollars" in damages.
"Most of the report is as relevant today as when we wrote it," he says, adding the power industry changes slowly. The NRC completed the report in 2007, but the sponsoring agency, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), decided to classify it entirely. In August 2010, the NRC requested an updated classification, and in August 2012, all but a few pages of the report were cleared for publication.
"It was very frustrating," Morgan says of the delay. He says the committee understood the need to protect national security and was careful not to provide a "cookbook" for terrorists, relying instead on widely available data. He says the authors are now "pleased" the report is public.
The report focuses partly on high-voltage transformers, saying they're vulnerable both from within and from outside the substations where they're located. It says they're huge, difficult to move, often custom-built, and hard to replace, because most are no longer made in the United States. It recommends developing smaller portable ones for temporary use to reduce delays in restoring disabled power systems.
Morgan says DHS has "done a little" to develop and test spare low-voltage transformers but says "there's a long way to go."
DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard acknowledged threats to the grid, but added that the agency"continues to work every day with private sector and government counterparts to adapt and strengthen our security and resilience against an ever changing threat."
The report says the federal government faces difficulty in addressing weaknesses in the nation's power grid, because more than 90% of the grid is privately owned and regulated by the states. Still, it calls on DHS or the Department of Energy to study where the U.S. is most vulnerable to extended blackouts and to develop cost-effective strategies for reducing their length and their impact on critical services.
"The NRC is right to call for more investment in making our grid both more secure and more resilient in the face of attacks," says Richard Caperton, an energy expert at the Center for American Progress, a liberal-leaning think tank. He says a terrorist attack is unlikely but, as Hurricane Sandy shows, "Anything that disrupts power supply can have catastrophic consequences."
Morgan says many of the steps that could protect the grid from terrorism would also protect it from extreme weather. He points to smart meters, saying they disconnect damaged properties so power can be restored more quickly to the rest of a neighborhood without fear of explosions. He says much of Long Island and New Jersey lacks such technology.DOE estimated Wednesday that 6,000 homes and businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region remained without power because of Hurricane Sandy or the Nor'easter storm. The number, which reached nearly 9 million, was down from 25,061 on Tuesday and 63,821 on Monday (USA Today, 2012).
Title: National Grid Preps For Mid-Week Storm
Date: November 6, 2012
Source: Fox Providence
Abstract: As many residents of the East Coast continue to clean up the damage left behind by Hurricane Sandy, another storm is making its way towards the area.
National Grid workers put in countless hours to get power back to Rhode Islanders after Sandy, and it looks as though more work may be in their future.
The state has been put under a High Wind Watch until Thursday morning , with northeast winds forecasted to be 25-35 miles per hour, and possible gusts of up to 40-60 miles per hour.
The utility company tells us that they're ready and prepared for however many outages this week's storm causes. The Nor'easter is expected to impact the state late Wednesday into early Thursday and bring heavy rain, winds, and possibly snow.
"While this storm is not expected to be of the magnitude we experienced during Hurricane Sandy, it still could cause damage to our system in New England," said V.P. of Electric Operations in New England Kathy Lyford in a statement. "We are developing plans so that we are ready to respond to service interruptions, but we also want our customers to be aware, monitor the weather, and take precautions so that they remain safe during the storm."
National Grid has crews working across Rhode Island and Massachusetts to prepare for the oncoming storm and coordinate the most effective response to any outages. Many workers from others states are still in Rhode Island to help with the Sandy effort, so their resources have been factored in as well.For anyone looking to utilize a portable generator in the event of an outage, Champion Power Equipment recalled two of their models this week due to possible fuel leaks (Fox Providence, 2012).
Title: Think EMP Attack Would Only Cut Power?
Date: January 1, 2013
Abstract: You’ve seen the warnings about an EMP attack, how it would shut down electronics so you couldn’t manage your bank account, fill your car with gas or go through the fast lane at the grocery store, but you’re prepared.
After all, you bought a generator, have a couple cans of gasoline, a few weeks’ worth of food and a plan to make sure your family is safe.
But what would you do when the explosions start?
Yes, explosions, as in the 1980s eruption of flames from a 36-inch natural gas pipeline in the Netherlands, the Bellingham, Wash., blaze in the 1990s when 250,000 gallons of gas leaked into Hannah and Whatcom Creeks and ignited, or the New Mexico blaze that killed 12 and left an 86-foot-long crater in the ground.
That danger would be very present should an electromagnetic pulse event or attack strike, according to experts on the issue.
In fact, a 2008 report from the nation’s EMP Commission specifically cited concerns about the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, or SCADA, systems that control large sections of American industry and commerce.
In the 1980s, there was a large explosion at a 36-inch natural gas pipeline in the Netherlands. A SCADA system about a mile from the naval port of Den Helder had been affected by a naval radar system when the radio frequency from the radar caused the SCADA system to open and close a large gas flow-control valve at the radar scan frequency, resulting in pressure waves that traveled down the pipeline and eventually caused the pipeline to explode.
Then in Bellingham in the late 1990s, there was a similar event in which a SCADA malfunction caused a gas pipeline to rupture and explode. Some 250,000 gallons of gasoline from the pipeline entered the Hannah and Whatcom Creeks. The fuel in the water ignited, killing three people and injuring eight others. The explosions also collapsed the banks of the creek and destroyed over a 1.5-mile section, damaging many buildings near the creek.
Among the causes was the determination there were SCADA system discrepancies.
In August 2000, a pipeline exploded near Carlsbad, N.M. It was operated by the El Paso Natural Gas Company. The pipelines supplied electric utilities in Arizona and Southern California. As a result of the explosion, 12 people, including five children, were killed. The explosion, which left an 86-foot-long crater, occurred due to maintenance failures caused by an EMP event.
A 2008 EMP Commission report had forecast the troubles.
The EMP Commission called them the “ubiquitous robots of the modern age” and said the SCADA was important due to the interdependence of systems – and consequently new vulnerabilities. But the report also cited technologies that have “facilitated this growing interdependence (since they are) common across the many individual infrastructures.”
The EMP Commission pointed out that control systems and mutual interdependence are two of the most important aspects of modern infrastructures that pose the greatest vulnerability in all of the country’s infrastructures.
“While conferring economic benefit and enormous new operational agility, the growing dependence of our infrastructures on these omnipresent control systems represents a new vector of vulnerability in the evolving digital age of the 21st century, such as cyber security,” the commission said.
SCADAs are major electronic control systems that are used for data acquisition and control over large critical infrastructures that are distributed over large geographical areas. SCADA systems are especially used in such critical infrastructure applications as electrical transmission and distribution, water management and oil and gas pipelines.
In this connection, the San Diego County Water Authority and San Diego Gas and Electric companies in November 1999 experienced a severe electromagnetic interference to their SCADA wireless networks. Both companies were unable to operate critical valve openings and closings under remote control of their SCADA electronic systems.
The episode prompted technicians to go to remote locations to manually open and close the water and gas valves. If that had not been done, there was the potential for “catastrophic failure” of their water system, according to a letter of complaint at the time by the San Diego County Water Authority to the Federal Communications Commission.
The danger was that some 825 million gallons of water flowing daily would have been released by a ruptured line, causing severe flooding and serious damage and destruction to property.
What was the source of this SCADA failure? It was determined after investigation that it was caused by the radar of a ship some 25 miles off the coast of San Diego.
A SCADA system, often in a remote area, automatically and remotely monitors the operations of such critical systems as utilities and telecommunications. The reporting must be ongoing on the system’s performance, such as voltage or current developed in an electric power plant and the power delivered by regional electrical systems.
For gas companies, the SCADA system records the flow volume in a gas pipeline.
SCADA systems also are critical to measuring the temperature in a nuclear power plant and sending an alarm when it exceeds normal operating conditions.
The SCADA system oversees the entire operation of a system by making adjustments where necessary. If an electrical generating plant, for example, fails due to the loss of a critical hardware component or industrial accident, the SCADA will detect the loss and issue an alert.
In turn, the SCADA will issue commands to other generating plants under its control to increase power output to make up for the loss. All of these actions occur automatically, within seconds and without human involvement.
This all leaves American susceptible to catastrophe should things go wrong.
An EMP event, whether natural or man-made, would cause “unprecedented cascading failures of major infrastructures,” according to William Graham, head of the commission that issued the 2008 EMP report.
“In that event, a regional or national recovery would be long and difficult, and would seriously degrade the safety and overall viability of our nation,” Graham said.
“The primary avenues for catastrophic damage to the nation are through our electric power infrastructure and thence into our telecommunications, energy, transportation and other infrastructures,” Graham said.
“These, in turn can seriously impact our important aspects of our nation’s life, including the financial system, means of getting food, water and medical care to the citizenry, trade and production of goods and services,” he said.
“The recovery of any one of the key national infrastructures is dependent upon the recovery of others,” Graham said. “The longer the outage, the more problematic and uncertain the recovery will be. It is possible for the functional outages to become mutually reinforcing until at some point the degradation of infrastructure could have irreversible effects on the country’s ability to support its population.”
EMP events, of course, could include major flares from the sun in the natural course of events, or a nuclear explosion at altitude above the United States should it be attacked by an enemy.
A small example of the damage already can be seen in various parts of the country hit by snowstorms or flooding.
Superstorm Sandy’s impact in the northeastern part of the U.S. still is being felt, with regions without power months after the fact.
And the EMP commission tested its concerns.
“Based on the testing and analysis … we estimate that a significant fraction of all remote control systems within the EMP-affected area will experience some type of impact,” the EMP commission report said.
It added that even minor effects could significantly affect the processes and equipment being controlled. Even with the limited testing the EMP commission conducted, the report said that the impact will be far greater from a real EMP attack.
“It is not one or a few SCADA systems that (would be) malfunctioning … but large numbers – hundreds or even thousands – with some fraction of those rendered permanently inoperable until replaced or physically repaired,” the EMP commission report said.
In 1994, a severe thunderstorm passed over the Pembroke refinery in the United Kingdom. There were lightning strikes, which resulted in a 43-second power loss and subsequent power dips throughout the refinery.
In turn, numerous pumps and coolers tripped. An explosion then occurred resulting in a number of isolated fires. The explosion was determined to have been caused by flammable hydrocarbon liquid continuously being pumped into a process vessel.
Because of a valve malfunction, the outlet closed. The control valve had shut when the control system indicated that it was open.
“The malfunctioning process control system did not allow the refinery operations to contain the situation,” the report said. “As a result of this incident, an estimated 10 percent of the total refining capacity in the United Kingdom was lost until this complex was returned to service.”
“It is safe to say that no one has planned for, and few have even imagined, a scenario with the loss of hundreds or even thousands of nodes across all of the critical national infrastructures, all simultaneously,” the EMP commission report said. “That, however, is precisely the circumstance contemplated by an EMP attack scenario.”
The problems that result mean other systems or networks would collapse because the first failed.
This problem became apparent in 1991 when a single point of failure inside a telecommunications system of severing a single fiber-optic cable in the New York City region blocked out 60 percent of all calls into and out of New York.
It also disabled all air traffic control functions between Washington, D.C., and Boston, Mass., said to be the busiest flight corridor in the nation. The outage also halted operations of the New York Mercantile Exchange.“These key interdependencies were always there,” the EMP commission report said, “but they were not recognized as warranting advanced contingency planning, situational awareness in degraded conditions and operational workaround” (WND, 2013).