EMP Terror Propaganda (Pre-Super Bowl XLV)

Title: Experts Cite Electromagnetic Pulse As Terrorist Threat
October 3, 2001
Free Republic

Abstract: With the nation guarding against atomic, biological, chemical and hijacked airliner attacks, exerts see little protection from a weapon that could cripple computers and key electronic systems. The danger is from an electromagnetic pulse - a powerful, split-second wave of energy from a nuclear bomb. Some of the last full-scale nuclear weapons tests conducted in 1992 at the Nevada Test Site northwest of Las Vegas were designed to protect or "harden" military systems against electronic failure in a nuclear exchange. However, little of that preventive technology has been applied to civilian equipment, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

"I don't think there has been any significant effort to harden the private sector against electromagnetic pulse," said John Pike, director of globalsecurity.org, a defense and intelligence policy organization based near Washington, D.C.

Twice in the past four years, and as recently as 1999, Congress was warned that detonating a relatively small, 10-kiloton nuclear bomb over the U.S. would produce a burst of energy equal to 10,000 tons of TNT.

Such a burst, sometimes referred to as an EMP, could yield tens of thousands of volts of energy and cause widespread damage to computer chips and electronic equipment. The phenomenon could cripple an economy dependent on computer networks and electronic communication systems. The damage from burnout or overloads on electrical circuits would extend far beyond the area directly affected by the blast and radiation, government scientists have told Congress.

Officials with Nevada Power Co. and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, two key Las Vegas Valley public utilities, said their electrical systems have no protections against EMP. "We did not design our system with that in mind," Nevada Power spokeswoman Sonya Headen said. "To our knowledge, there isn't any utility in the country that was designed to withstand EMP."

Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration's Western Pacific Region Defense and the Threat Reduction Agency, which replaced some functions of the now-defunct Defense Nuclear Agency, did not immediately respond to Review-Journal inquiries about electromagnetic pulse protection. Pike said the risk to FAA systems from electromagnetic pulse is probably classified.

However, government scientists have discussed the issue of potential EMP damage on military and civilian systems during congressional meetings. Lowell Wood, a prominent physicist from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, told a House Armed Services subcommittee in October 1999 that nuclear warheads on a kiloton scale can have a greater EMP threat than nuclear warheads on the megaton scale.

Two years earlier, Wood told the subcommittee that the threat to semiconductor-based U.S. power grids and communication systems have increased substantially since electromagnetic pulse was detected during nuclear testing four decades ago. He told the subcommittee in 1997 that civilian passenger jets are also at risk - particularly at night, when they could be lost without communications, landing beacons and runway lights.

The list of weapons available to terrorists now ranges from passenger jets to atomic devices and biological and chemical agents. But the United States has made little progress in guarding against what might be its most devastating threat -- widespread damage to domestic electronic systems from a powerful, split-second wave of energy from a nuclear bomb.

Although some of the last full-scale nuclear weapons tests conducted in tunnels at the Nevada Test Site were designed to protect or 'harden' military systems against electronic failure in a nuclear exchange, little of that preventive technology has been transferred to civilian equipment, sources said Friday.

'I don't think there has been any significant effort to harden the private sector against electromagnetic pulse,' said John Pike, director of globalsecurity.org, a defense and intelligence policy organization based near Washington, D.C.

Twice in the past four years, and as recently as 1999, Congress was warned that a relatively small, 10-kiloton nuclear bomb, which would produce energy equal to exploding 10,000 tons of TNT, would cause widespread damage to computer chips and electronic equipment if detonated over the United States. Called EMP, an acronym for electromagnetic pulse, the phenomenon from tens of thousands of volts of energy from a nuclear explosion could cause enough damage to cripple an economy dependent on computer networks and electronic communication systems. The damage from burnout or overloads on electrical circuits would extend far beyond the area directly affected by the blast and radiation, government scientists told Congress in 1999 and 1997.

But almost none of the technology to protect against EMP that was developed through Defense Department nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site as late as 1992 was put to use in the private sector.

Officials with two Las Vegas Valley public utilities said Friday their electrical systems have no protections against EMP. 'We did not design our system with that in mind,' said Nevada Power Co. spokeswoman Sonya Headen. 'I was also informed, to our knowledge, there isn't any utility in the country that was designed to withstand EMP.'

J.C. Davis, a spokesman for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, said water operations depend on electrical circuitry that is vulnerable to EMP. 'We do not have specific protections against electromagnetic pulses,' he said. Nevertheless, he said, 'We have backup and recovery systems. We have redundant systems at various locations throughout the valley to deal with things that are generally within the realm of our scope.' The Defense Threat Reduction Agency -- the agency that replaced some functions of the now-defunct Defense Nuclear Agency -- fielded questions Friday from the Review-Journal about EMP and making protective technology available for civilian use. But an agency spokesman did not offer an immediate response.

Likewise, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration's Western Pacific Region was asked whether the nation's air traffic control system has been hardened against EMP. He did not respond Friday.

Pike, however, said part of the nation's air traffic control system probably relies on less-vulnerable fiber optics that might be somewhat more resistant to EMP than a desktop computer. But the extent of the risk to FAA systems from electromagnetic pulse is probably classified, he said.

Inquiries to the North Las Vegas office of the National Nuclear Security Administration -- a branch of the Department of Energy that oversees operations at the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas -- were forwarded to officials at national weapons laboratories in Livermore, Calif., and Los Alamos, N.M. But an administration spokesman said, 'Classification guidance prohibits detailed information from cleared individuals at both of the labs.'

Nevertheless, government scientists on at least two occasions discussed the issue of potential EMP damage on military and civilian systems at meetings of the House Military Research and Development Subcommittee. 'Special purpose nuclear warheads on a kiloton scale, can have much more EMP effect than ordinary nuclear warheads on the megaton scale. Warheads of less than 10-kiloton yields can put out very large EMP signals,' Lowell Wood, a prominent physicist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, told a House Armed Services subcommittee in October 1999.

Two years earlier, in July 1997, Wood told the subcommittee that since the EMP threats were realized at the onset of nuclear testing more than four decades ago, its potential effects on U.S. power grids and communication systems have increased substantially.

'There is reason to believe,' Wood said, 'that the semiconductor-based portions of our communication system, which is to say essentially all of it, would be extremely vulnerable.' Civilian passenger jets, as well, are at risk, Wood told the subcommittee in 1997.

'It is probably clear that if this attack occurred at night that most of the planes, most of the civilian airliners in the air, would be lost for obvious reasons,' he said. 'They simply won't be able to land. They won't have landing aids, probably no lights on landing strips and so forth. Those would be lost.'

Military experts say the cost of hardening their systems would be between 2 and 10 percent. Pike said how the cost of protective measures would translate to the commercial sector is unclear, but he imagines it would be substantial.

The late Rep. Sonny Bono, R-Calif., asked Wood and other scientists about specific threats. 'Like the war in the Middle East, could they pull out EMP and use that as an aggressive weapon, or as a defense weapon, to knock out some of the smart stuff we have?'

Wood replied that the scenario 'is one of very real concern because in those circumstances, very modest, very short-range rocketry could be used to loft a nuclear explosive over our forces ... and impose preferential EMP damage on our forces.

From the enemy's viewpoint, Wood said, 'You are not interested in covering an entire continent, but rather than stretching 4,000 kilometers (2,480 miles), you might only be interested in EMP damage over 400 kilometers (248 miles), which is a major theater of operations. And in those circumstances, quite modest nuclear explosives on very modest rockets, Scud-type rockets, would suffice to potentially impose very severe damage.' In addition to the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, China and France, several other countries are believed to have nuclear capabilities. The list includes Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, India and Israel.

According to Pike, American enterprise faces a substantial risk from EMP under existing conditions. 'Any country capable of delivering a nuclear weapon to an American city could be capable of detonating that weapon in space above the North American continent,' he said (Free Republic, 2001).

Title: Another Temptation For Terrorists: Homemade EMP Weapons
September 2001
Free Republic

In the blink of an eye, electromagnetic bombs could throw civilization back 200 years.

And terrorists can build them for $400.

The next Pearl Harbor will not announce itself with a searing flash of nuclear light or with the plaintive wails of those dying of Ebola or its genetically engineered twin. You will hear a sharp crack in the distance. By the time you mistakenly identify this sound as an innocent clap of thunder, the civilized world will have become unhinged.

Fluorescent lights and television sets will glow eerily bright, despite being turned off. The aroma of ozone mixed with smoldering plastic will seep from outlet covers as electric wires arc and telephone lines melt.

Your Palm Pilot and MP3 player will feel warm to the touch, their batteries overloaded. Your computer, and every bit of data on it, will be toast. And then you will notice that the world sounds different too. The background music of civilization, the whirl of internal-combustion engines, will have stopped. Save a few diesels, engines will never start again. You, however, will remain unharmed, as you find yourself thrust backward 200 years, to a time when electricity meant a lightning bolt fracturing the night sky.

This is not a hypothetical, son-of-Y2K scenario. It is a realistic assessment of the damage the Pentagon believes could be inflicted by a new generation of weapons--

The first major test of an American electromagnetic bomb is scheduled for next year. Ultimately, the Army hopes to use E-bomb technology to explode artillery shells in midflight. The Navy wants to use the E-bomb's high-power microwave pulses to neutralize antiship missiles. And, the Air Force plans to equip its bombers, strike fighters, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles with E-bomb capabilities. When fielded, these will be among the most technologically sophisticated weapons the U.S. military establishment has ever built.

There is, however, another part to the E-bomb story, one that military planners are reluctant to discuss. While American versions of these weapons are based on advanced technologies, terrorists could use a less expensive, low-tech approach to create the same destructive power. "Any nation with even a 1940s technology base could make them," says Carlo Kopp, an Australian-based expert on high-tech warfare. "The threat of E-bomb proliferation is very real."

POPULAR MECHANICS estimates a basic weapon could be built for $400.

An Old Idea Made New
The theory behind the E-bomb was proposed in 1925 by physicist Arthur H. Compton--not to build weapons, but to study atoms. Compton demonstrated that firing a stream of highly energetic photons into atoms that have a low atomic number causes them to eject a stream of electrons. Physics students know this phenomenon as the Compton Effect. It became a key tool in unlocking the secrets of the atom.

Ironically, this nuclear research led to an unexpected demonstration of the power of the Compton Effect, and spawned a new type of weapon. In 1958, nuclear weapons designers ignited hydrogen bombs high over the Pacific Ocean.

The detonations created bursts of gamma rays that, upon striking the oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere, released a tsunami of electrons that spread for hundreds of miles. Street lights were blown out in Hawaii and radio navigation was disrupted for 18 hours, as far away as Australia. The United States set out to learn how to "harden" electronics against this electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and develop EMP weapons.

America has remained at the forefront of EMP weapons development. Although much of this work is classified, it's believed that current efforts are based on using high-temperature superconductors to create intense magnetic fields. What worries terrorism experts is an idea the United States studied but discarded--the Flux Compression Generator (FCG).

A Poor Man's E-Bomb
An FCG is an astoundingly simple weapon. It consists of an explosives-packed tube placed inside a slightly larger copper coil, as shown below. The instant before the chemical explosive is detonated, the coil is energized by a bank of capacitors, creating a magnetic field. The explosive charge detonates from the rear forward. As the tube flares outward it touches the edge of the coil, thereby creating a moving short circuit. "The propagating short has the effect of compressing the magnetic field while reducing the inductance of the stator [coil]," says Kopp. "The result is that FCGs will produce a ramping current pulse, which breaks before the final disintegration of the device. Published results suggest ramp times of tens of hundreds of microseconds and peak currents of tens of millions of amps." The pulse that emerges makes a lightning bolt seem like a flashbulb by comparison.

An Air Force spokesman, who describes this effect as similar to a lightning strike, points out that electronics systems can be protected by placing them in metal enclosures called Faraday Cages that divert any impinging electromagnetic energy directly to the ground. Foreign military analysts say this reassuring explanation is incomplete.

The India Connection The Indian military has studied FCG devices in detail because it fears that Pakistan, with which it has ongoing conflicts, might use E-bombs against the city of Bangalore, a sort of Indian Silicon Valley. An Indian Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis study of E-bombs points to two problems that have been largely overlooked by the West. The first is that very-high-frequency pulses, in the microwave range, can worm their way around vents in Faraday Cages. The second concern is known as the "late-time EMP effect," and may be the most worrisome aspect of FCG devices. It occurs in the 15 minutes after detonation. During this period, the EMP that surged through electrical systems creates localized magnetic fields. When these magnetic fields collapse, they cause electric surges to travel through the power and telecommunication infrastructure. This string-of-firecrackers effect means that terrorists would not have to drop their homemade E-bombs directly on the targets they wish to destroy. Heavily guarded sites, such as telephone switching centers and electronic funds-transfer exchanges, could be attacked through their electric and telecommunication connections.

Knock out electric power, computers and telecommunication and you've destroyed the foundation of modern society. In the age of Third World-sponsored terrorism, the E-bomb is the great equalizer.

In the 1980s, the Air Force tested E-bombs that used cruise-missile delivery systems.

To ignite an E-bomb, a starter current energizes the stator coil, creating a magnetic field. The explosion (A) expands the tube, short-circuiting the coil and compressing the magnetic field forward (B). The pulse is emitted (C) at high frequencies that defeat protective devices like Faraday Cages (Free Republic, 2001).

Title: EMP: "Terror-Flashes" From The Inside Of A Suitcase
February 16, 2003
Articles Extra

While the UNO was franticly searching for chemical and biological weapons in Iraq, the CIA was and is afraid of a different retaliatory strike: "Flash-Bombs" with electromagnetic pulses that are able to "shut down" whole cities, using cheap technology from the 1940's.  

It would probably sound like a harmless stroke of distant lightning and suddenly all lights would go out. Cars, trams and railways would be at a standstill, every radio, every MP3-player and every mobile phone would fail at the same time, burned cables, overloaded batteries, and your PC with all your saved data would be a useless heap of plastic, hot wires and metal. To cut a long description short: Within the target area the whole electronics-based civilisation of a big city would be thrown back to the level of the Stone-Age. "Rien ne va plus!"

The technical abbreviation behind this nightmare-scenario of the modern information age is "EMP" (Electro-Magnetic Pulse). In 1932 a Bulgarian scientist found, that explosive charges not only emmit light and sound, but also electromagnetic pulses, just like thunderstorm flashes do. These pulses cause inductions in wires (like a magnet of a generator), which can generate short impulses at very high voltages. But, like the range of a flashlight the sphere of diameter is relatively short.

It is known that the USA and Russia have been fiddled around with such "E-Bombs" since the 1960's. Probably many other nations do it secretly, because the weapon (harmless for human beings) is as economical to produce as effective in paralysing the enemy. The USA demonstrated it during the "Kosovo-War" and they probably used it in the Iraq, too. Carlo Kopp, an Australian expert in high-tech warfare thinks that producing a simple "E-Bomb" would not cost more than 2000 Euros. For the construction itself the electronics-standard from the 1940's would be enough and besides Semtex, the needed plastic explosive, all components would be freely available on the market. The only thing that gives the free world an additional breather is, from the terrorist's point of view, the knowledge of an effective construction.

A fully developed "E-Bomb" – it is assumed that in the meantime, the USA is working with special superconductors – exceeds the electromagnetic field strength of a thunderstorm thousands of times. It is able to induce up to one million Volts into every wire, cable and even into stretches of train track. As a general physics rule you can assume, that the longer the wire, the higher the induced voltage will be.

The only protection against these electromagnetic fields offer so-called "Faraday cages", a construction made of wires. Inside this cage, a computer, for example, would be relatively safe as long as there is no metallic connection to the outside world.

So the modern civilisation would be helpless in the face of a calculated "E-Bomb" attack. The only thing you can do is to periodically save your data on CD or DVD (which you should be doing anyway), to cope with the bomb's effect of destroying your data saved on your PC. Although CDs have little metal content, they are assumed to be immune to electromagnetic terrorism (Articles Extra, 2003).

Title: US Vulnerable To EMP Attack
July 28, 2004
Jane’s Defense Weekly

Jane's Defense Weekly reports: "The US armed forces infrastructure, and American society at large, remain vulnerable to a debilitating attack by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generated by a high-altitude nuclear blast, a senior-level, congressionally appointed panel has warned.

Several potential adversaries, such as China, are capable of launching a crippling EMP strike against the US with a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile, and others, such as North Korea or even terrorist groups, could have the capability by 2015, the panel said in its findings that it unveiled to US legislators at a hearing on 22 July.

Panel members said this type of attack may be an appealing option, especially for an unsophisticated opponent. One possible scenario is a 'Scud' missile, with a modified nuclear warhead to maximize the EMP effect, launched from a barge off the US coast.

While the US military has grown increasingly dependent on computers, electronics and information systems, it has relaxed requirements for EMP-hardened systems since the end of the Cold War and its overall record of adherence to its guidelines for such robust equipment 'has been spotty', they said. This trend continues 'in the wrong direction', the panel noted.

Similarly, the US civilian critical infrastructure is not adequately prepared to deal with the effects of an EMP attack, according to the panel, which is known formally as the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack. Congress created the panel in 2000 out of concern that this issue was not receiving enough attention..." (Satanic powers do and will control space - Ephesians 2:2, 6:12; Revelation 12:7-12)

Statement Threatens 'Waterfalls of Blood' In Europe
The International Herald Tribune reports: "A statement purportedly from an al-Qaeda-linked group threatens 'waterfalls of blood' in European cities because the continent didn't respond to Osama bin Laden's demand that they leave Iraq and Afghanistan within three months.

The statement was posted on an Islamic Web Site known for its extremist content. It was written in the name of the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, which has made similar threats in the past.

According to the threat, Italy will be the first to face attack for not meeting bin Laden's demand. Premier Silvio Berlusconi has been a steadfast U.S. ally and contributed about 3,000 soldiers to the coalition, behind only the United States and Britain. Poland has about 2,400 troops in Iraq, while several other European countries have smaller contingents there.

'We will create waterfalls of blood that will drag you to their depths. You have condemned your people to that. The infidel Europe has done the same to its people by following America. We will destroy European cities, starting by you, Berlusconi,' the statement said. 'The cities will bleed until all of you, European leaders and people, come to your senses. Withdraw your deadly missions from Iraq.'

The same group made a similar threat against Italy.

There was no immediate comment from the Italian government, but it had approved continued funding for the Iraq mission a day after the other statement.

In an audiotape on April 15, bin Laden said he was calling a truce for three months and urged European states to leave Iraq, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries within that period or risk a terror campaign..." (Romans 3:13-18)

Terrorists Spread their Messages Online
The Christian Science Monitor reports: "One Al Qaeda website offers chilling details on how to conduct private and public kidnappings. It points out the number of cells essential to target and hide victims. It details how to handle hostages - force them to taste the food first, for instance. It gives advice on negotiating tactics (gradually kill the hostages if 'the enemy' stalls) and on releasing captives (be alert to tracking devices planted in the ransom money).

The Al Qaeda site, called Al Battar, which means The Sword, is posted on the Internet twice a month. It's one of several websites that the terrorist group and its supporters built after the US successfully routed them from Afghanistan in late 2001.

And it is one of some 4,000 websites that, experts say, now exist to carry on a 'virtual' terror war - and plan actual attacks.

'When I began tracking terrorist websites seven years ago, there were 12 sites in my database,' says Gabriel Weimann, an Israeli communications professor who researches terrorist websites at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington. 'After [Al Qaeda members] were chased from the camps, they went to the Internet. They began adding two a day, going up to 50, then a hundred, to thousands.'

The rapid proliferation of the terror sites provides a dilemma for intelligence officials and terror experts alike..." (Isaiah 59:7, 8) (Jane’s Defense Weekly, 2004).

Title: Terrorism And The EMP Threat To Homeland Security
March 8, 2005
United States Senate (PDF)

Chairman KYL. This hearing of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security of the Senate Judiciary Committee will come to order. Our hearing today is on ‘‘Terrorism and the EMP Threat to Homeland Security.’’ Let me indicate that conflicts of interest keep some of my colleagues from being here right now, though several indicated that they were going to try to stop by. The record of the hearing, of course, will be very important. Unfortunately, a conference of Republicans was called, there is a vote going on right now, and some of my Democratic colleagues had some conflicts. But hopefully, we will have some other members join us here before too long.

The subject, as I said, is the electromagnetic pulse and its potential impact as a tool of terrorism against the United States. An attack using EMP, which is a phenomenon created by the detonation of a nuclear weapon, could be devastating to this country and the public and Congress need to pay more attention to that danger. That is the reason for the hearing here today. Earlier this year, CIA Director Porter Goss gave chilling testimony about missing nuclear material from storage sites in Russia that may have found its way into terrorists’ hands. FBI Director Mueller confirmed new intelligence that suggests that al Qaeda is trying to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction in some form against us. And the 9/11 Commission report stated that our biggest failure was one of imagination. No one imagined the terrorists would do what they did on September 11.

I want to explore new and imaginative possibilities of terrorist attacks and methods, and that is why we are here today, to examine a possibility that poses a grave threat and a crippling impact to our way of life.

Last year, the EMP Commission found that EMP was one of a small number of threats that could hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences. The effects of an EMP could potentially shock, damage, or even destroy electrical systems that fall within the striking range of a nuclear detonation. And because the United States is heavily dependent on electrical systems to provide all basic services, an EMP attack has the potential to have a cascading effect on all aspects of American society. And finally, particularly because they lack ICBM capability, terrorists could nevertheless use lesser technology to launch an EMP weapon over the United States.

The Commission’s report found that our infrastructure, such as electrical power, telecommunications, energy, financial systems, transportation, emergency services, water purification and delivery, food refrigeration, all of these things and more were vulnerable to EMP attack. And in the event of such an attack, those infrastructures would be rendered unusable, thus inflicting widespread disruption or failure on a national scale. The death toll from such an attack is almost unthinkable.

Unfortunately, the House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Commission report occurred on the date of the release of the 9/11 Commission report. As a result, the hearing and the EMP report received virtually no coverage. Thus, we thought it was appropriate to reinitiate that discussion with our hearing here today. We want to review the findings of the Commission, understand the current risk we face, as well as the steps we may need to take and are taking to prepare for such an attack.

We have three very distinguished witnesses with us here today. Dr. Lowell Wood, Jr., is a member of that Commission, a Commissioner on the National Commission to Assess the EMP Threat to the United States. He is a member of the Technical Advisory Group of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, a member of the Undersea Warfare Experts Group of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services, a member of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and an officer and member of the Board of Directors of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation. He is also a member of the Laboratory Directors Technical Staff, University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he has held numerous positions since 1972. He has received numerous awards and prizes for his work and is the author of several hundred publications. When I introduce Dr. Wood, I will also ask you please to introduce other members of the Commission, who I understand are with us here today, as well.

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry was one of the CIA’s chief experts on Soviet plans for EMP attack. During the Cold War, he developed much of what the U.S. Government knows about Soviet planning for nuclear war, and in the post-Cold War period, his work has been central to the U.S. Government’s understanding of evolving Russian threat perceptions and military doctrine. He is the Director of the United States Nuclear Strategy Forum, a nonprofit foundation established to advise Congress on the future threat environment and on the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy, and recent served on the EMP Commission staff, where he was the chief analyst on foreign views of EMP attack.

Dr. Pry holds two Ph.D.s, one in history, the other in international relations. He, too, has authored several books on national security and military issues. And finally, Dr. Peter Fonash from the Department of Homeland Security, National Communications Acting Deputy Manager. He has been a member of the Senior Executive Service since 1998, has served in both technical and policy positions in the Federal Government. He earned three degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, a B.S. in electrical engineering, an M.S. and Master’s of Business Administration at the Wharton School. He also holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from George Mason University’s School of Information Technology and Engineering. His 24 years in Federal service were preceded by 4 years in private industry.

We have a very distinguished panel, as you can see, with us here today. I would also like to recognize the other members of the EMP Commission who are with us here, and as I said, when I introduce Dr. Wood, I would like to ask those of you who are here to stand and be recognized. Their contribution to help us better understand the EMP threat is significant. I also want to thank Senator Feinstein, who cannot be with us today, for her work, along with her staff, and for her continuing contributions to the work of this Subcommittee.

We hope that even though there are several conflicts that prevent colleagues from being here, there isn’t such big news that finally we can’t at least get some understanding of this potential threat out to the public so that we can better understand those kinds of threats that we may face in the future. Let me begin our testimony with Dr. Peter Fonash, and then we will go to Dr. Peter Pry, and then to Dr. Lowell Wood. Dr. Fonash, the floor is yours, and your statements will be put in the record in full. Feel free to quote from them or deviate from them however you wish (United States Senate, 2005).

Title: Ex-CIA Chief Warns Of EMP Nuke Threat
May 2, 2005

Former CIA chief James Woolsey affirms the work of a special commission investigating the threat of a nuclear-bomb generated electromagnetic pulse attack on the U.S. by rogue states or terrorists and is urging the country to take steps necessary to protect against the potentially devastating consequences.

In testimony before the House International Terrorism and Non-Proliferation Subcommittee, chaired by Ed Royce, R-Calif., Woolsey, director of the CIA from 1993 through 1995, referred to the nuclear EMP threat, characterized in intelligence circles, he said, as “a SCUD in a bucket.”

“That is a simple ballistic missile from a stockpile somewhere in the world outfitted on something like a tramp steamer and fired from some distance offshore into an American city or to a high altitude, thereby creating an electromagnetic pulse effect, which could well be one of the most damaging ways of using a nuclear weapon,” he said.

Woolsey commended the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attack for its years of work on the subject and for its dire report concluding that it is a means of attack that could lead to the defeat of the U.S. by a much smaller enemy and utter devastation of the country.

“That is a very serious threat,” he told the committee. “And one thing we need badly to do is to figure out ways to harden our electricity grid and various types of key nodes so that electromagnetic pulse blasts of nuclear weapons, or other ways of generating electromagnetic pulse, even if it knocks out our toaster ovens will not knock out, for example, our electricity grid.”

Woolsey, like the commission, specifically mentioned the new dimension a nuclear Iran would add to the risk of such an attack.

“We do not have the luxury of assuming that Iran, if it develops fissionable materials, for example, would not share it under some circumstances with al-Qaida operatives,” he said. “We don’t have the luxury of believing that just because North Korea is a communist state, it would not work under some circumstances to sell its fissionable material to Hezbollah or al-Qaida.”

There is increasing concern within the administration and Congress over Iran’s missile program, which has been determined by a commission of U.S. scientists to pose a serious threat to U.S. security.

An Iranian military journal publicly floated the idea of launching an electromagnetic pulse attack as the key to defeating the U.S.

Congress was warned of Iran’s plans last month by Peter Pry, a senior staffer with the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack in a hearing of Sen. John Kyl’s subcommittee on terrorism, technology and homeland security.

In an article titled, “Electronics to Determine Fate of Future Wars,” the journal explains how an EMP attack on America’s electronic infrastructure, caused by the detonation of a nuclear weapon high above the U.S., would bring the country to its knees.

“Once you confuse the enemy communication network you can also disrupt the work of the enemy command- and decision-making center,” the article states. “Even worse today when you disable a country’s military high command through disruption of communications, you will, in effect, disrupt all the affairs of that country. If the world’s industrial countries fail to devise effective ways to defend themselves against dangerous electronic assaults then they will disintegrate within a few years. American soldiers would not be able to find food to eat nor would they be able to fire a single shot.”

WND reported the Iranian threat last Monday, explaining Tehran is not only covertly developing nuclear weapons, it is already testing ballistic missiles specifically designed to destroy America’s technical infrastructure.

Pry pointed out the Iranians have been testing mid-air detonations of their Shahab-3 medium-range missile over the Caspian Sea. The missiles were fired from ships.

“A nuclear missile concealed in the hold of a freighter would give Iran or terrorists the capability to perform an EMP attack against the United States homeland without developing an ICBM and with some prospect of remaining anonymous,” explained Pry. “Iran’s Shahab-3 medium range missile mentioned earlier is a mobile missile and small enough to be transported in the hold of a freighter. We cannot rule out that Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of international terrorism might provide terrorists with the means to executive an EMP attack against the United States.”

Lowell Wood, acting chairman of the commission, said yesterday that such an attack – by Iran or some other actor – could cripple the U.S. by knocking out electrical power, computers, circuit boards controlling most automobiles and trucks, banking systems, communications and food and water supplies.

“No one can say just how long systems would be down,” he said. “It could be weeks, months or even years.”

EMP attacks are generated when a nuclear weapon is detonated at altitudes above a few dozen kilometers above the Earth’s surface. The explosion, of even a small nuclear warhead, would produce a set of electromagnetic pulses that interact with the Earth’s atmosphere and the Earth’s magnetic field.

“These electromagnetic pulses propagate from the burst point of the nuclear weapon to the line of sight on the Earth’s horizon, potentially covering a vast geographic region in doing so simultaneously, moreover, at the speed of light,” said Wood. “For example, a nuclear weapon detonated at an altitude of 400 kilometers over the central United States would cover, with its primary electromagnetic pulse, the entire continent of the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico.”

The commission, in its work over a period of several years, found that EMP is one of a small number of threats that has the potential to hold American society seriously at risk and that might also result in the defeat of U.S. military forces.

“The electromagnetic field pulses produced by weapons designed and deployed with the intent to produce EMP have a high likelihood of damaging electrical power systems, electronics and information systems upon which any reasonably advanced society, most specifically including our own, depend vitally,” Wood said. “Their effects on systems and infrastructures dependent on electricity and electronics could be sufficiently ruinous as to qualify as catastrophic to the American nation” (WND, 2005).

Title: Protect Our Electronics Against EMP Attack
December 19, 2005

The saturation of society with modern electronics, while certainly a good thing overall, gives us an Achilles' heel. The more dependent we become on such electronics, the more vulnerable we are to societal chaos if a substantial portion of them fail simultaneously. It is said that an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, could cause such a failure.

An EMP is generated by a nuclear explosion, or by a smaller-scale "e-bomb." If a terrorist or rogue nation detonated a nuclear bomb a few hundred miles above the United States, the resulting shock wave could damage or disrupt electronic components throughout the country. The consequences could be catastrophic. Our life-sustaining critical infrastructure such as communications networks, energy networks, and food and water distribution networks could all break down.

An EMP was a prominent concern during the cold war with the Soviet Union. That concern is rearing its head again, now that it appears we are headed toward cold wars with Iran, North Korea, and other third-world regimes bent on acquiring nuclear weapons. The possibility of terrorist groups getting a hold of nuclear missiles adds to the danger.

Some of the literature on EMPs gives the impression that such an event would fry every computer in the country, that planes would fall out of the sky, and that society would be thrust back into 19th-century technological backwardness. Such claims may be far-fetched, but EMPs are nevertheless a deadly serious issue.

Fortunately, protecting electronics and critical infrastructure against an EMP is doable. It involves enclosing every electronic component with a metallic cage that blocks out electromagnetic waves.

Sound impossible? Actually, electronic components already enjoy some form of shielding against electromagnetic interference. Federal Communications Commission standards require it. Such shielding is designed to prevent everyday electromagnetic radiation from entering and/or exiting the device. Your computer contains this shielding, from metal housings down to the little metal coverings soldered to your motherboard. There even are housings the size of rooms or buildings that protect sensitive equipment inside. Without electromagnetic shielding, many electronic devices would not work properly.

However, most existing shielding may not be enough to protect against an EMP. While US military standards often require electronic components to be protected against an EMP, commercial standards do not. And while our power grid is shielded against things such as lightning strikes, it is not tested for protection against an EMP.

Upgrading to shield against an EMP would entail using more robust shielding materials, especially for the cords, cables, and/or wires that connect devices to external entities such as power supplies or networks. Cables and wires act as antennas through which an EMP travels directly into a device.

To what extent would an EMP destroy electronics in their current configurations? Certainly not 100 percent. Not all electronics are connected to cables or wires. And many of those that are connected may only temporarily be disrupted or not be disrupted at all, thanks to the existing shielding against electromagnetic interference. But an EMP that is powerful enough or close enough could ruin many electronic devices such as computers.

Unlike what was depicted in the 1983 movie "The Day After," automobiles may keep functioning after an EMP attack. The electronics within automobiles enjoy robust shielding because of the harsh electromagnetic environment on existing roadways. Aircraft have even stronger electromagnetic shielding, so they are unlikely to fall out of the sky. "Some of the [aircraft's] equipment may not work, but the propulsion and control system usually is pretty robust," said Dr. William A. Radasky, president of Metatech Corp, a consulting firm specializing in electromagnetic environment analysis.

Radasky, one of the world's few experts on protecting electronics against an EMP, thinks that most electronics would undergo only a temporary disruption in the event of an EMP. "You may just have to restart the computer and everything would be fine," said Radasky. But a temporary shutdown of a control system for a critical infrastructure system, he said, would be "troublesome." And if just 1 percent of all electronics failed, havoc could ensue. "Just think about the power outage in August of '03 when a couple of wires hit a tree," observed Radasky. "That was a single failure, propagated over a huge area. Now imagine, at the speed of light every place in the United States, some portion of electronics failing. Now you have a very widespread problem."

The only way to know the extent to which an EMP would knock out electronics is to conduct testing with EMP simulators.

Unfortunately, since the end of the cold war, most EMP simulators in the United States have been closed, according to Radasky. And the few that remain open are for military use, not civilian use.

The Department of Homeland Security should set up civilian EMP simulators, and encourage - or require - those in charge of our critical infrastructure to upgrade their facilities and conduct tests to assess EMP vulnerability.

It would be wise to follow Switzerland's lead. According to Radasky, that country during the cold war hardened some of its critical infrastructure against EMPs, such as water works. "They felt that if there was high-altitude burst over Europe, they were going to be affected whether they were a combatant or not."

It is a thorny question as to whether the FCC should revise its standards to require electronics manufacturers to build in EMP protection. This could be prohibitively expensive for the manufacture of individual components. But businesses and government agencies should install EMP protection at the system level. (This also would provide protection against other electromagnetic disturbances such as lightning.)

One positive development is the increasing use of fiber optic cables. Most of them do not contain metal, so they are invulnerable to EMP, according to Radasky. The more common they become, the less exposed systems are to an EMP.

But the Achilles' heel remains. Our dependence on electronics intensifies as a new era of nuclear cold war draws closer. It behooves us to protect our electronics against an EMP (CSM, 2005).

Title: Fox: Terrorist Nukes Could 'Fry Every Electronic Gizmo Civilization Needs'
July 15, 2008
Raw Story

It has been known since the 1960's that electromagnetic pulses from nuclear explosions or other sources can knock out sophisticated electronic equipment, but it has remained a matter of debate whether EMP weapons pose a credible threat to the United States.

In 2001, the House Armed Services Committee established a Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack. The Commission released its initial report in 2004, concluding that a nuclear-generated EMP "has the potential to hold our society seriously at risk."

Conservative Paul Weyrich recently drew fresh attention to the 2004 report, writing, "The conclusions of this study are the most frightening I have seen concerning modern-day threats. Few have heard of it because the report has yet to be made public. ... When the American people realize as much, the outrage will be palpable."

However, other experts downplay the technological feasibility of an EMP attack and point to the fact that most of those appointed to the Commission had close ties to the defense industry and an interest in promoting the development of missile defense systems.

The EMP debate now appears to be back in the news, with the Armed Service Committee receiving an update from the chair of the EMP Commission, William Graham, at a hearing last week.

According to an editorial at Investor's Business Daily, "As he did in 2005, Graham warned the House Armed Services Committee that Iran was developing nuclear weapons and delivery systems targeted at Israel, plus a sophisticated variant that could deal a knockout blow to the U.S. and its high-tech military industrial complex. He reported the mullahs had conducted successful tests to see if the Shahab-3 could be detonated by remote control at high altitude before it striking any ground target. ... Launched from an innocent-looking freighter in international waters off the U.S. coast, the modified Shahab-3, even your off-the-shelf SCUD, need not have to hit anything. It would only need to get its warhead high enough over the continental U.S. One such blast would be enough to send America technologically back to the 19th century."

Fox News seized on Graham's testimony to present EMP as a fresh terrorism threat to be panicked about, with anchor Bill Hemmer suggesting direly on Monday, "There is a new terror study out ... warning the US of a clear and present danger on a massive scale."

Hemmer turned for insight on the EMP threat to former White House terrorism director R.P. Eddy, who currently heads the Center for Policing Terrorism. Eddy explained that "a nuclear explosion or another weapon that releases a wave of electrons ... will fry every electronic gizmo or tool that civilization needs to survive. ... Not only would the power grid be out ... but every piece of electronics that we use, from pacemakers to phones to cars."

"Major civilizations, major nations have built electromagnetic pulse weapons," Eddy asserted, "but they're not that complicated to make, and it's likely that terrorists could actually make some of the weapons."

In contradiction to Eddy's claim, a recent article in the Register suggests that even the Pentagon has not yet successfully developed an electropulse weapon. However, aerial nuclear explosions offer a more accessible means of achieving the same result, and Fox displayed a graphic showing that a nuclear burst 300 miles over Kansas could take out all of the United States.

"Countries like Iran or North Korea could use some of their nuclear weapons to create an electromagnetic pulse," Eddy proposed. "It's very hard to defend against a missile." He added that the US military has been attentive to hardening its own electronics against electromagnetic pulses for decades, but "it doesn't mean that civilization in this country is paying attention to it."

"You can use a nuclear weapon, and you don't have to have as accurate or as long-range a missile to deliver it," Eddy concluded, suggesting, like Graham, that Iran could shoot a nuclear-tipped Scud missile at the United States from a barge anchored off the coast (Raw Story, 2008).

Title: Iran Launch Could Mean EMP Weapon
February 4, 2009
Defense Tech

Iran, after a decade of trying to develop space capabilities, today joined the small club of countries able to build and launch a satellite into orbit. In and of itself, the Iranian technological success worries American and other countries national security experts because it places Iran much closer to being able to deliver a nuclear warhead against an enemy.

But there is another reason American military and national security officials are so worried: in at least two earlier ballistic missile launches, the Iranians launched in ways that appear they were designed to optimize an EMP burst, according to a Pentagon source with detailed knowledge of the Iranians efforts and of space technology.

Iran launched the satellite on the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the clerical state, a fact noted by its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as he declared the countrys success.

EMP stands for electro-magnetic pulse and it is one byproduct of a nuclear blast. EMP destroys power sources, communication capabilities and would cripple or destroy the abilities of most satellites to function. A percentage of military communication and other satellites are hardened against EMP but the gravest effect would be on the ground, the space expert said. As bad as the space part of this is, that is pretty bad, but the ground part of it is much, much worse. Effectively, whoever was subjected to an EMP burst would be shoved back to an agricultural state. Few civilian assets such as power grids, generators, telephone systems and commercial communications satellites are hardened against EMP.

A 2007 report by the congressionally-mandated Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack detailed the devastation that could result from a relatively unsophisticated EMP strike. It also detailed how EMP works and what measures the U.S. government might take to reduce the risk from it.

One independent study, Initial Assessment of Electromagnetic Pulse Impact Upon Baltimore-Washington-Richmond Region, says a Scud-type missile launched from a small ship 200 miles off our coast could cause up to $771 billion in damage, equal to 7% of gross domestic product.

This is part of the reason why the State Department has expressed great concern about the development. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the satellite launch appeared to indicate Iran was working on a ballistic missile capable of increasingly long range. Combine a long-range ICBM with a nuclear payload and you get a new member of an even smaller club, the countries such as the U.S., Russia, China, France and Britain who can play the deadly serious global strategic game of hitting places around the globe with nuclear weapons (Defense Tech, 2009).

Title: Newt Gingrich: A Single Nuke Could Destroy America
March 29, 2009

A sword of Damocles hangs over our heads. It is a real threat that has been all but ignored.

On Feb. 3, Iran launched a “communications satellite” into orbit. At this very moment, North Korea is threatening to do the same. The ability to launch an alleged communications satellite belies a far more frightening truth. A rocket that can carry a satellite into orbit also can drop a nuclear warhead over any location on the planet in less than 45 minutes.

Far too many timid or uninformed sources maintain that a single launch of a missile poses no true threat to the United States, given our retaliatory power.

A reality check is in order and must be discussed in response to such an absurd claim: In fact, one small nuclear weapon, delivered by an ICBM can destroy the United States by maximizing the effect of the resultant electromagnetic pulse upon detonation.

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a byproduct of detonating an atomic bomb above the Earth’s atmosphere. When a nuclear weapon is detonated in space, the gamma rays emitted trigger a massive electrical disturbance in the upper atmosphere. Moving at the speed of light, this overload will short out all electrical equipment, power grids and delicate electronics on the Earth’s surface. In fact, it would take only one to three weapons exploding above the continental United States to wipe out our entire grid and transportation network. It might take years to recover from, if ever.

This is not science fiction. If you doubt this, spend a short amount of time skimming the Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack from April 2008. You will come away sobered.

Even as the new administration plans to spend trillions on economic bailouts, it has announced plans to reduce funding and downgrade efforts for missile defense. Furthermore, the United States’ reluctance to invest in a modern and credible traditional nuclear deterrent is a serious concern. What good will a bailout be if there is no longer a nation to bail out?

Fifty years ago, it was not Sputnik itself that sent a dire chill of warning around the world; it was the capability of the rocket that launched Sputnik. The rocket that lofted Sputnik into orbit also could have served as an ICBM.

Yet for all its rhetoric, the Soviet Union was essentially a rational power that recognized the threat of mutual destruction and thus never stepped to the edge.

The world is different today. Intercontinental range missiles tipped with nuclear weapons in the hands of leaders driven by fanaticism, leaders that support global terrorism, leaders that have made repeated threats that they will seek our annihilation . . . can now at last achieve that dream in a matter of minutes.

Those who claim that there is little to fear from Iran or North Korea because “at best” they will have only one or two nuclear weapons ignore the catastrophic level of threat we now face from just “a couple” of nuclear weapons.

Again: One to three missiles tipped with nuclear weapons and armed to detonate at a high altitude — to achieve the strongest EMP over the greatest area of the United States — would create an EMP “overlay” that triggers a continent-wide collapse of our entire electrical, transportation, and communications infrastructure.

Within weeks after such an attack, tens of millions of Americans would perish. The impact has been likened to a nationwide Hurricane Katrina. Some studies estimate that 90 percent of all Americans might very well die in the year after such an attack as our transportation, food distribution, communications, public safety, law enforcement, and medical infrastructures collapse.

We most likely would never recover from the blow.

Two things need to be done now and without delay:

1. Make clear in the strongest of terms that, if either Iran or North Korea launches a rocket on a trajectory headed toward the territory of the United States, we will shoot it down. The risk of not doing so is beyond acceptable. And if they construe this as an act of war, so be it, for they fired the first shot. The risk of sitting back for 30 minutes and praying it is not an EMP strike is beyond acceptable, beyond rational on our part.

2. Funding for EMP defense must be a top national priority. To downgrade or halt our missile defense program, which at last is becoming viable after 25 years of research, would be an action of criminal negligence.

Surely, with such a threat confronting us, a fair and open debate, with full public access and the setting aside of partisan politics, is in order. In the meantime, a policy must be stated today that we will indeed shoot down any missile aimed towards the United States that is fired by Iran or North Korea. America’s survival, your survival, and your family’s survival might very well depend on it (Newsmax, 2009).

Title: Aircraft Could Be Brought Down By DIY 'E-Bombs'
April 1, 2009
New Scientist

Electromagnetic pulse weapons capable of frying the electronics in civil airliners can be built using information and components available on the net, warn counterterrorism analysts. All it would take to bring a plane down would be a single but highly energetic microwave radio pulse blasted from a device inside a plane, or on the ground and trained at an aircraft coming in to land.

Analysts at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Israel, have investigated electromagnetic weapons in development or used by military forces worldwide, and have discovered that there is low-cost equipment available online that can act in similar ways.

For instance, the US and Russian military have developed electromagnetic pulse (EMP) warheads that create a radio-frequency shockwave. The radio pulse creates an electric field of many hundreds of thousands of volts per metre, which induces currents that burn out nearby electrical systems, such as microchips and car electronics.

Speculation persists that such 'e-bombs' have been used in the Persian Gulf, and in Kosovo and Afghanistan. But much of what the military is doing can be duplicated by others. Once it is known that aircraft are vulnerable to particular types of disruption, it is possible to build a device that can produce that sort of disruption. And much of this could be built from off-the-shelf components or dual-use technologies, according to the analysts (New Scientist, 2009).

Title: E-Bombs EMP Weapon Worries Counter-Terrorism Experts
April 8, 2009
Fox News

Weapons experts and techno-thriller fans are familiar with the concept of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) — a supermassive blast of electricity, usually from a nuclear blast high above ground, that fries electronic circuits for miles around, crippling computers, cars and most other modern gadgets.

Now comes word that a much smaller EMP device, or "e-bomb," could be carried in a car, or even on someone's person — and be used to take down an airliner.

"Once it is known that aircraft are vulnerable to particular types of disruption, it isn't too much of a leap to build a device that can produce that sort of disruption," Israeli counter-terrorism expert Yael Shahar tells New Scientist magazine. "And much of this could be built from off-the-shelf components or dual-use technologies."

Shahar says she's especially worried about two devices — one called a Marx generator, which beams an EMP at a target, and the other with the "Back to the Future"-like name of flux-compression generator.

The latter was developed by the Soviets during the 1950s when Marx generators proved too expensive. Basically, an explosive charge is set off at one end of a cylinder of charged copper coils, and the resulting shock wave sends out a powerful electric pulse as it travels down the tube.

It might take a big flux-compression generator to darken a city neighborhood. But a smaller one could take out the steering, navigation and communication systems of a jetliner, especially if pointed at the cockpit.

As for Marx generators, which are used by power companies, medical researchers and labs, you can buy the plans to build one online for $10, or a fully assembled commercial unit for several hundred dollars.

Shahar adds that as aircraft manufacturers switch to lighter, stronger composite materials in place of aluminum, they're actually making the planes more vulnerable.

"What is needed is extensive shielding of electronic components and the vast amount of cables running down the length of the aircraft," she tells New Scientist (Fox News, 2009).

Title: The Next Terrorist Attack On The US: When And How Will America Fall?
August 10, 2009

There are so many predictions concerning the next terrorist attack these days that it's hard to keep up with them all. Nevertheless anyone who keeps a close eye on world news knows it's only a matter of time before the terrorists strike again and 9/11 should pale in comparison.

Currently, the country's defense organization is most concerned about an electromagnetic pulse

(EMP) attack. Such an event wouldn't initially cause any loss of life but millions would die as a consequence.

A nuclear blast, mid-country, about 140 miles above the ground would wipe out all telecommunications and power which would devastate this country. The probability of terrorists getting a warhead far enough into our atmosphere in order to create an EMP has been somewhat minimal. However, with the rapid development of technology along with growing hostilities, the prospect of an EMP attack on the United States is beginning to worry the authorities as there is no missile defense in place to protect us from it. Just one offshore container ship could accomplish this which would generate a magnetic pulse that could easily disable the country's power grid.

What is the likelihood of terrorists launching an EMP attack? The authorities believe this is their intent and that they have the capabilities.

What would happen as a result?

Most of the country will immediately lose power. Planes will lose all computer function. Automobile computers will shut down and massive numbers of people will be stranded wherever their car dies. Panic will inevitably follow as people eventually begin making their way back to their homes and families.

With so many people displaced there will be much looting of stores as well as homes. Without transportation there will be little if any police protection. Weaker citizens such as the handicapped, the elderly, and women with children will be vulnerable to assault and robbery. Store shelves will empty within hours.

The authorities won't be able to help its citizens as there will be no transportation. They won't even know what's going on in the area because there will be no communication. That means not only the police, but fire departments, ambulances- all emergency departments.

There will be numerous fatalities just within the first day or two as people struggle to get home or get to their families. Many will perish from exposure to heat or cold, depending on what time of year it is. Hospitals will lose several patients such as those on life support and the critically ill. Those who depend on medication to keep them alive will no longer have access to them.

Within a few days, any stores that are left with supplies will be rationing them and a loaf of bread could cost as much as $20 but in many areas, water will be the most valuable commodity. Since there will be no communication most people will still not realize what has happened and will soon use up what food and water they have in their homes, ignorantly believing the authorities will soon come to their rescue.

Inevitably, people will be forced to leave their homes in search for food and water. There will be rioting and fires around all large cities which will soon spread into the suburbs. Many will band together, taking what they want by force. In a situation like this, a gun may protect a family for a while but one or two guns will not stop a mob of sick, starving, panic-stricken people.

At some point help will arrive from other countries and martial law will undoubtedly ensue. There will be chaos in every part of the country and the death toll will be staggering. Under martial law, people who do not cooperate with the authorities will be shot. Many will be taken to FEMA camps, which have already been established. Apparently, the government is anticipating such an event.

Soldiers enforcing martial law will attempt to bring order by taking, by force if necessary, the wandering homeless, anyone without identification, and those who resist. People in their homes who pose no threat will likely have their houses searched. All weapons, excess food and supplies will be confiscated. Any resistance could lead to arrest or even death.

Those in rural areas will fare much better than cities and suburbs. Since there will be no transportation it will be difficult for wanderers to get to them. Persons living near a fresh water supply will also fare better. If an EMP attack occurs during the winter months, many persons in the northern regions will freeze to death.

Is this scenario exaggerated? In this writer's humble opinion, no, it is not. Matter of fact, it is actually understated. Anyone who lives in an area prone to hurricanes knows what happens when even a category one or two is said to be heading in their direction.

The highways become packed and people behave as if the world is coming to an end. Long lines form at every gas station. People flood the stores filling shopping carts with more supplies than they could possibly need for the situation. They push and shove to the point of actual fist fighting over something as simple as the last bag of ice. It doesn't take much to ignite panic in a community.

Why are there so many gloom and doom predictions? Is it possible that we are being desensitized to the point that we no longer listen? Are we being deceived into putting on blinders? Or could it be that our attention is being diverted?

"There shall be wars... famines... pestilence... earthquakes in diverse places... For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." (Matthew 24)

America isn't directly mentioned in the end times prophecies. Could it be because the United States will be taken out of the equation? Currently, America is the strongest nation on earth. An EMP attack could change that in a matter of moments. We should all be paying attention to what's going on in the world (Helium, 2009).

Title: Defending The Data Center: What CIOs Should Do To Prevent Or Mitigate Cyber Attacks On Data Centers.
August 12, 2009

Selected, simultaneous attacks on multiple data centers could paralyze the national and global economy. Recognizing this, the Obama administration is seeking a national cyber security czar to prevent or mitigate these problems.

Cyber attacks are asymmetrical, meaning they can be carried out anonymously by individuals, small groups or nations with relatively little investment. Defending against them is extremely costly. Over the last 10 years, attacks have transitioned from hackers intent on demonstrating their programming competence to organized groups with political or economic motives. The recent denial of service attacks on Twitter, YouTube and others illustrate that terrorism is something IT executives now need to consider.

The oldest cyber frontier is actual physical attack or the threat of attack to disable data centers. This can be done without saboteurs ever gaining access to the interior of the data center. Previously in the realm of science fiction, asymmetrical physical attacks on data centers by explosives, biological agents, electromagnetic pulse, electric utility or other means are now credible. Unlike the hacker who merely wanted publicity, the newest players don't necessarily want the public to know. Criminal extortion to prevent an attack is coming, if not already here.

In the aftermath of 9/11, regulators proposed that the largest financials be required to have physical separation of 500 miles between their primary data centers. This rule was quickly modified to 30 miles due to the distance limitations of then-possible synchronous communications. The 500 mile rule wasn't wrong--30 miles of physical separation isn't enough to preclude terrorist or regional events including weather and shared utility grids from simultaneously affecting both primary and secondary data centers. Since we haven't had any terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 2001, data center physical security has since receded from public and political consciousness. But physical threats remain real and are now becoming even more complex.

We are currently living through the economic chaos caused by a loss of confidence in our banking system. A similar panic could be caused by disabling multiple data centers. The probability of a physical attack against any given data center is extremely low, especially for smaller companies. The risk is much greater for companies with deep financial pockets or those containing sensitive data such as financial institutions.

The likelihood of a physical attack being successful is rising every year, and the cost to the attacker is dropping. In the aftermath of such an attack, regulatory rule changes that the public and politicians would see as merely being common sense would obsolete virtually the entire data center investment of all the top U.S. and world financial companies overnight. So, what is prudent to do now?

Site selection for a new data center is the cheapest way to control future physical risk. Mitigating physical risk for a poorly located existing data center is virtually impossible no matter how much money is spent. This is why the focus must be on correctly siting all new data centers.

Despite exhaustive location studies, data centers have typically been located within convenient driving distance of the CIO's home. This is no longer appropriate because data centers have become highly automated, lights-out factories. Fewer than 30 people are required on-site for even the largest facility. On-site head count and data center reliability are inversely correlated. Keep programmers and other IT people in locations away from the data center.

Data center sites should be selected based on utilities, fiber density, natural and man-made risks, and the ability to physically secure the outside perimeter. One extremely smart real estate executive located his company's new $100 million data center in the middle of 80 acres of farm land. He got almost $20 million in economic and tax incentives to locate in a rural area. This more than offset the $3 million cost for the land.

What did 80 acres buy? No highways, pipelines, canals, airports and so forth within one mile of the site. As a result, the site is not likely to ever be shut down by mandatory fire marshal evacuation for an over-turned gasoline tanker or the derailment of a chemical rail car. Perimeter security is provided around the entire site with empty land making visual control easy. Truck and car access is controlled and is remote from the data center. Equipment and materials for the data center can be remotely screened before being taken to the data center building. Parking is far away from the building. Only two rows of chain link fence are currently being used, but these can easily be upgraded. The building is designed with all air intakes in a single central location that makes biological filters easy to install. Such filters were not initially installed because cyber attacks were not a serious threat at the time, and the engineering maturity of filtering was still in its infancy. Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) protection was built into the walls.

Physical security for this data center is already better than virtually any other data center, and it has inexpensive options for further improvements. This center and its associated investment will not be easily obsoleted by regulatory rule changes that can be reasonably anticipated in the future.

To recap, data centers are now being recognized by politicians and others as having national security vulnerabilities. Simple and common-sense regulatory changes will wipe out virtually all existing data center investment of major financial institutions. While it is not prudent yet to mitigate physical risk in existing sites, management has an obligation to include the possibility of physical threats in all new data center investment. Done strategically, a highly secure facility need not be expensive (Forbes, 2009).

Title: Man Urges U.S. To Heed Electronic Terror Threat
August 14, 2009

A New York businessman is sounding the alarm on a potential terror threat that he says has not gotten the attention or action it deserves, despite a congressional committee's finding that the country grows more vulnerable to it by the day.

Henry Schwartz, chairman of Steuben Foods and Elmhurst Dairy, is so concerned that an enemy's electromagnetic pulse attack could paralyze America that he will gather a group of scientists, congressmen and others for a conference next month on how the country should protect itself.

"I've never lived in fear in my life," said Schwartz, 75, an Air Force veteran whose unit handled nuclear warheads in Europe, "but I have to tell you, I'm in fear now."

An electromagentic pulse, or EMP, is a split-second burst of energy that occurs when a nuclear device is detonated high in the atmosphere. A Department of Homeland Security disaster guide for the public explains an EMP "acts like a stroke of lightning but is stronger, faster and shorter."

Experts warn an EMP attack with even a crude nuclear device has the potential to disable or burn out everything from cell phones and personal computers to vehicle ignitions, power grids and air traffic control systems within 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers), all while having no direct effect on people.

The threat has been on the Defense Department's radar screen for years but a congressional panel recently noted in a report that "our vulnerability is increasing daily as our use of and dependence on electronics continues to grow."

The EMP Commission concluded that the country is ill-prepared for an attack today, but there are things that can be done to "harden" or shield electrical infrastructure.

Schwartz is already making plans to drill gas wells and water wells to make sure his food-processing plant in suburban Buffalo can continue to supply food in a crisis.

He is organizing the Sept. 8-10 conference in Niagara Falls, which he hopes will be a seed for a grass-roots movement to spur government action.

"It's not that expensive to protect our grid so that we will have electricity and we can live," said Schwartz, who has formed EMPACT America Inc.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will address the EMPACT conference via video, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has signed on as a keynote speaker, along with science and military experts. U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, co-founder of the EMP Commission, and Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, who is on the House anti-terrorism caucus, are expected to participate via video feed.

"I've believed for a long time that EMP may be the greatest strategic threat we face," Gingrich said in a taped message to air at the conference, "because without adequate preparation its impact could be so horrifying that we would, in fact, basically lose our civilization in a matter of seconds."

After receiving the EMP Commission's report, the Department of Homeland Security arranged for the Defense Department to brief cybersecurity officials in September, a Homeland Security spokeswoman said. The president's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee also has examined the potential threat and impact to the communications network, said the spokeswoman, Sara Kuban.

"We continue to look at the control systems implications of an EMP attack," she said. "In addition, the commission's findings have been included in our internal risk-assessment process."

Dr. Michael Frankel, executive director of the EMP Commission, which was first authorized in the 2001 defense bill, praised Schwartz for organizing the conference. He noted that EMP also can occur naturally during solar storms and that a massive one could do severe damage.

The commission's classified final report was delivered to Washington earlier this year, he said (MSNBC, 2009).

Title: Panel: Electrical Grid Vulnerable To Terrorist Attack
September 16, 2009
USA Today

It sounds like a science-fiction disaster: A nuclear weapon is detonated miles above the Earth's atmosphere and knocks out power from New York City to Chicago for weeks, maybe months.

Experts and lawmakers are increasingly warning that terrorists or enemy states could wage that exact type of attack, idling electricity grids and disrupting everything from communications networks to military defenses.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is pushing Congress for authority to require power companies to take protective steps, which could include building metal shields around sensitive computer equipment.

An expert panel that Congress created to study such an attack says it would halt banking, transportation, food, water and emergency services and "might result in defeat of our military forces."

"The consequences would be catastrophic," said Joseph McClelland, director of the energy commission's Office of Electric Reliability.

"It would bring down the whole grid and cost between $1 trillion and $2 trillion" to repair, said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md. Full recovery could take up to 10 years, he said.

The scenario involves a phenomenon called an "electromagnetic pulse," or EMP, which is essentially a huge energy wave strong enough to knock out systems that control electricity flow across the country.

A nuclear explosion 25 to 250 miles above the Earth's surface would be high enough that the blast wouldn't damage buildings or spread a lethal radioactive cloud. Even so, at that height, the pulse would fan out hundreds of miles.

The immediate effect would resemble a blackout. Although blackouts can be restored quickly, an EMP could damage or destroy power systems, leaving them inoperable for months or longer.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., is pushing a bill to give the energy commission broad authority.

At a committee hearing in July, Steve Naumann of energy giant Exelon said the authority should be limited to "true emergency situations."

The commission studying the threat says the U.S. is ill-prepared to prevent or recover from an EMP, a vulnerability could invite an attack.

"We are not well-protected at all," said Michael Frankel, who was executive director of the commission (USA Today, 2009).

Title: Can New York Survive An EMP Attack?
September 16, 2009

With the 10-year anniversary of the terror attack on the World Trade Center behind New York, is an EMP attack a possibility?

What is EMP or electromagnetic pulse and why do New Yorkers need to be aware that it exists?

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 (Examiner, 2009).

Title: Panel: U.S. Power Grid Open To Terror Attack
September 18, 2009
CBN News

America's electrical grid is vulnerable to a terrorist attack, security experts say.

Experts warn if a nuclear weapon was detonated, electrical grids would be stopped and that could disrupt everything from communications networks to military defenses.

Such an event would involve what is called an EMP, or electromagnetic pulse. An EMP is a large wave of energy powerful enough to knock out systems that control the flow of electricity across the nation.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says the U.S. is currently unprepared to stop or recover from an EMP.

"The consequences would be catastrophic," said Joseph McClelland, director of the Energy Commission's Office of Electric Reliability.
USA Today reports the commission is now pushing Congress for authority to take protective steps.

They want power companies to build metal shields around sensitive computer equipment. They say it could cost up to $2 trillion to repair a damaged grid (CBN News, 2009).

Title: Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons: Congress Must Understand The Risk
March 3, 2010
Heritage Foundation

In 2004, the congressionally mandated Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack released an unclassified executive report on its broader study of the U.S.’s vulnerability to EMP weapons strikes.[1] In 2008, the commission released a follow-up report that detailed the vulnerabilities of the critical infrastructures of the U.S. to EMP strikes.[2] Taken together, these two reports make it clear that an EMP attack could inflict severe damage on the U.S. As the initial report stated, “EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences.”

Congress should not let the Obama Administration ignore the commission’s findings. Instead, it should mandate an updated assessment of which countries may be pursuing EMP weapons and associated delivery systems and platforms. Further, Congress should demand that the Administration develop, test, and ultimately field defenses against EMP attacks, including improved ballistic missile defenses capable of countering short-range ballistic missiles that can carry EMP warheads.

What Is EMP?
EMP is triggered by the detonation of a nuclear weapon at a high altitude over the earth. As a result of this detonation, an electromagnetic field radiates down to the earth, creating electrical currents.

These fields cause widespread damage to electrical systems—the lifeblood of a modern society like the U.S. In turn, the damaged electronic systems can cause a cascade of failures throughout the broader infrastructure, including banking systems, energy systems, transportation systems, food production and delivery systems, water systems, emergency services, and—perhaps most damaging—cyberspace.

Effectively, the U.S. would be thrown back to the pre-industrial age following a widespread EMP attack.

What Congress Should Do
The lack of public awareness regarding the disturbing implications of an EMP attack may prompt the Obama Administration to set aside proposals for addressing this problem. Congress should not let this happen. Specifically, Congress should take the following three steps:

Step No. 1: Require the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to Produce a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) Describing Which Countries Are Capable of Launching an EMP Strike. The NIE should review not only the weapons systems themselves but the delivery systems and platforms capable of carrying the weapons. Additionally, Congress should obtain from the NIE the intelligence community’s assessment of how EMP-capable countries are incorporating those weapons into their broader military strategies.

The latter assessment would permit the President and his advisors to determine how the U.S. could respond to EMP threats as they arise. Such planning is an essential part of providing an effective defense against these threats.

Step No. 2: Press the Obama Administration to Prepare to Protect the Nation’s Cyber Infrastructure Against the Effects of EMP. Congress should direct the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security to manage this effort, which should incorporate the recommendations of the commissions. For instance, the commission has determined that preparedness measures must account for the fact that the cyber infrastructure is quite dependent on the power grid. Thus, contingency planning must explore ways to keep the cyber system functioning without primary power.

Further, it recommends identifying the most critical elements of the cyber system that must survive an EMP attack. Finally, the commission recommends that preparedness planning account for the interdependency between the nation’s cyber infrastructure and other elements of the broader infrastructure. Overall, the key to preparing to counter the effects of EMP is to put barriers in place to prevent cascading failures in the nation’s infrastructure.

Step No. 3: Require the Navy to Develop a Test Program for Sea-Based Interceptors with the Capability to Intercept and Destroy Ballistic Missiles Carrying EMP Weapons Prior to Detonation. It is clear that ballistic missiles offer an ideal delivery system for an EMP weapon. For instance, an enemy of America could launch a short-range missile carrying an EMP weapon from a cargo ship off the U.S. coast. Clearly, the terminal-phase ballistic missile defense systems currently in the field or entering the field, such as the Patriot system and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, will not reliably intercept such ballistic missiles prior to the detonation of an EMP warhead. The Standard Missile-3 Block IA (SM-3 Block IA), as a midcourse defense system, may be able to do so.

What the U.S. really needs to address this threat, however, is a version of the SM-3 that will intercept these kinds of missiles in the boost or ascent phase of flight. The Independent Working Group has recommended developing and fielding what it calls an “East Coast Missile Defense” to address this emerging threat.[3]

Accordingly, Congress should require the Navy to demonstrate the capability to produce new versions of the SM-3 interceptor that are capable of destroying a short-range missile in the boost or ascent phase of flight, prior to its reaching the preferred detonation points for an EMP warhead. This will require that Congress also provide the Navy with the funds necessary to undertake this test program.

If it chooses to do so, Congress could also direct the Air Force to undertake a companion program that would permit operational use of the Airborne Laser system to defend against an attack from a short-range missile.

A Very Real Threat
The concept of an EMP strike may be seen by the public as abstract, but the devastating consequences would be very real for the victims. Congress should not let the Obama Administration ignore this menace.

Defensive options for addressing future EMP attacks are not beyond America’s capacity. Pursuing these options starts with updating intelligence on EMP capabilities and emerging threats; it ends with putting specific defensive systems in place, such as a modified version of the Navy’s sea-based ballistic missile defense interceptors capable of intercepting and destroying short-range ballistic missile EMP delivery systems (Heritage Foundation, 2010).

Title: Electromagnetic Pulse Threat To Be Analyzed
March 27, 2010
Navy Times

Navy engineers in March began looking into how the fleet should prepare for an attack by one of the most feared and controversial weapons of the modern age: an electromagnetic pulse.

Naval Sea System’s Command’s EMP assessment group is the latest government agency to tackle the threat from an EMP, a devastating electromagnetic burst that fries computers, sensors, weapons and all other electronics in its path.

“The consequences of failing to take appropriate precautions to protect fleet mission-critical systems can ultimately prove catastrophic to the Navy’s mission,” said Blaise Corbett, the EMP assessment group’s leader, in a NavSea announcement.

The EMP team, inactive for about 10 years, was resurrected in March. Although the danger from electromagnetic attacks was long associated with the Cold War, some officials worry it has remained, or even increased, in the 21st century.

A high-altitude EMP is an enormous surge of energy created by a nuclear explosion in the upper atmosphere. In the Cold War, as militaries became reliant on computers, networks and guided weapons, strategic planners realized that a nuclear blast’s pulse could be a weapon on its own (Navy Times, 2010).

Title: Texas Congressmen Call For Electromagnetic Pulse Guns On The Border
June 3, 2010

From aerial drones to virtual fences, the Department of Homeland Security employs a wide range of tools to protect the nation's borders. But a pair of Texas lawmakers now want a decidedly more futuristic approach: electromagnetic pulses.

Republican Michael McCaul and Democrat Henry Cuellar want the border patrol to use portable EMP emitters to disable cars, boats or a host of other electronic items.

A suitcase-sized EMP could thwart smugglers trying to drive illegal drugs or immigrants into the United States, the lawmakers say.

The EMP Suitcase Compact 2100 Series, developed by Austin-based Applied Physical Electronics, emits high-amplitude electronic fields powerful enough to disable various devices "without causing permanent physical damage or endangerment to individuals," as Cuellar's Web site says. Similar devices have been used by the Defense Department for the past 12 years.

McCaul notes that EMPs would allow border patrol agents to stop wayward vehicles without having to chase them. The ability to stop vehicles of smugglers from a distance without making direct contact would give our Border Patrol agents a distinct advantage," he says.

The lawmakers, who both sit on the House Homeland Security Committee, took a tour of the border this spring and saw the device remotely disable a computer. The pair has also advocated using aerial drones over the Texas-Mexico border. Drones are already being used in North Dakota and along the Rio Grande, and Cuellar's office says an unmanned vehicle will be flying over the Texas border by this fall.

The lawmakers say they both believe in using new technology for border security (POPSCI, 2010).

Title: A Weapon From “The Matrix” Isn’t Just Science Fiction
June 15, 2010
Heritage Foundation

In The Matrix, EMP (electromagnetic pulse) was used to stop the Machines during the Machine War.  Even Agent Smith used EMP to take out the Hovercrafts. It all sounds like the work of science fiction and Keanu Reeves, but the real threat of electromagnetic pulse isn’t fiction at all—but a growing threat that Congress and the Administration have failed to take seriously.

If used effectively by an adversary, a nuclear weapon detonated high in the Earth’s atmosphere could generate a radio frequency capable of destroying all of the electronic devices and the electric system within a 700 mile radius.  Enough countries currently have ballistic missile capabilities that such a “weapon of mass disruption” is well within the capabilities of many nations, including ones that do not like the United States very much.

Tomorrow night, the National Geographic Channel is exploring the EMP threat in its Explorer series.  Dubbed, “Electronic Armageddon,” the show will talk about the real threat of EMP, and how an effective EMP attack could set the United States back several hundred years.  Check it out: Tuesday, June 15, 2010, at 10:00 p.m. EST.  In the meantime, check out The Heritage Foundation’s work on EMP (Heritage Foundation, 2010).

Title: How Serious Is The Threat Of An "EMP Pearl Harbor"?
August 9, 2010

In 1962 the United States conducted a high-altitude nuclear test above Johnston Island, 825 miles southwest of Hawaii; detonated 400 kilometers above the island, the resulting nuclear blast knocked out street lights across Hawaii and tripped circuit breakers, triggered burglar alarms, and damaged a telecommunications relay facility on the island of Kauai; could terrorist, or a nuclear-armed rogue state, launch an EMP Pearl harbor against the United States?

In what brought back some of the fears prevalent during the cold war, a scientist warned that DHS has not taken seriously the threat that high-altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon could fry the U.S. power grid. The physicist, Dr. Michael J. Frankel, warned the Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security last week that a terrorist organization or a rogue state could detonate a nuclear weapon either above the United States or close to its shores, creating an electromagnetic pulse attack that could severely damage the country’s electronic infrastructure. Frankel is executive director of the EMP Commission, which was created in 2001 to study the national security threat an EMP attack could pose to the United States. While most of its work is classified, the commission has released two unclassified reports: one in 2004 (.pdf) and another in 2008 (.pdf).

“The EMP generated on the ground from such a high altitude detonation will not immediately damage a human being, indeed a person will not even feel it,” he said. “But it will affect all of the electronic circuitry which surrounds and sustains him.”

Matthew Harwood writes that the 2008 EMP Commission report, however, expressed the threat in much stronger language. “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 report warns, noting “[s]hould significant parts of the electrical power infrastructure be lost for any substantial period of time, the Commission believes that the consequences are likely to be catastrophic, and many people may ultimately die for lack of the basic elements necessary to sustain life in dense urban and suburban communities.”

The effects of an EMP event is not theoretical, Frankel said. In 1962 the United States conducted a high-altitude nuclear test above Johnston Island, 825 miles southwest of Hawaii. Detonated 400 kilometers above the island, the resulting nuclear blast knocked out street lights across Hawaii and tripped circuit breakers, triggered burglar alarms, and damaged a telecommunications relay facility on the island of Kauai.

Harwood notes that some national security experts and analysts have used the commission’s reports to argue Iran could use an EMP attack if it successfully acquires a nuclear bomb. “[I]f the Iranians were to detonate even a primitive nuclear warhead over the United States, it could send out an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) destroying the electric grid and electrical systems across a wide swath of U.S. territory,” wrote former CIA Director R. James Woolsey and Rebeccah Heinrichs of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies a few weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal.

Other scientists and journalists, however, have expressed strong skepticism to the threat of an EMP attack carried out by terrorists or rogue states. “The vulnerability of some of our infrastructure to nuclear EMP is real; however, the threat is overblown,” argued Yousaf Butt, a staff scientist at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University, in a two-part series for the Space Review early this year. (see references below to his 2-part article, and to a rebuttal from two staff members of the EMP Commission.)

Frankel believes DHS has the expertise in-house to tackle EMP preparedness but needs a Senate-confirmed leader to lead the charge. Already DHS has taken action against a nuclear terrorist attack scenarios but continues to ignore the threat of an EMP attack, he said, even though the commission provided the department with 75 unclassified recommendations to mitigate vulnerabilities and promote resiliency in U.S. critical infrastructures.

“It seems odd to us that a component of the nuclear problem is simply being ignored,” Frankel said. “The EMP mode of attack doesn’t require the smuggling in with all the dangers that is required. It doesn’t require very accurate aim, you just need to toss the thing up there more or less.”

In response to Frankel’s testimony, Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) challenged the White House’s WMD preparedness efforts, stating “the depth of that commitment is highly questionable because there doesn’t seem to be the commander’s intent flowing down in sufficient robustness that everyone else gets the message.”

“Protection of the nation’s critical infrastructures from an EMP threat is both feasible and well within the nation’s means and resources to accomplish,” Frankel said.

Harwood quotes Col. Randal Larsen, executive director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism to say that the most probable EMP event will not come from either terrorists or rogue states, but from the sun. Magnetic storms on the sun and the solar flares they generate episodically threaten astronauts and satellites, but in severe cases can affect electrical infrastructure on earth. An 1859 event shorted out telegraph wires and generated auroras seen as far south as Havana, according to NASA. “The most likely EMP threat to America is from that thermo-nuclear weapon out there at 93 million miles,” Larsen said, “we know that’s going to happen.”

Regardless of whether an high-altitude nuke attack is probable, Larsen noted, preparing the nation to withstand an EMP event will protect the country from either a man-made or a solar event (HSNW, 2010).

Title: EMP Pearl Harbor? EMP Threat To U.S. Should Be Kept In Perspective
September 10, 2010

In 1962 the United States conducted a high-altitude nuclear test above Johnston Island, 825 miles southwest of Hawaii; detonated 400 kilometers above the island, the resulting nuclear blast knocked out street lights across Hawaii and tripped circuit breakers, triggered burglar alarms, and damaged a telecommunications relay facility on the island of Kauai; could terrorist, or a nuclear-armed rogue state, launch an EMP Pearl Harbor against the United States?

In late 1962 — a year before the Partial Test Ban Treaty went into effect, prohibiting its signatories from conducting aboveground test detonations and ending atmospheric tests — scientists were surprised by the high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) effect. During a July 1962 atmospheric nuclear test called Starfish Prime, which took place 400 kilometers above Johnston Island in the Pacific, electrical and electronic systems were damaged in Hawaii, some 1,400 kilometers away. The Starfish Prime test was not designed to study HEMP, and the effect on Hawaii, which was so far from ground zero, startled U.S. scientists.

High-altitude nuclear testing effectively ended before the parameters and effects of HEMP were well understood. The limited body of knowledge that was gained from these tests remains a highly classified matter in both the United States and Russia. Consequently, it is difficult to speak intelligently about EMP or publicly debate the precise nature of its effects in the open-source arena.

The limited practical experience with EMP has not stopped the debate about it — and what should the United States do to prepare for it. In early August a scientist warned that DHS has not taken seriously the threat that high-altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon could fry the U.S. power grid. The physicist, Dr. Michael J. Frankel, warned the Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security that a terrorist organization or a rogue state could detonate a nuclear weapon either above the United States or close to its shores, creating an electromagnetic pulse attack that could severely damage the country’s electronic infrastructure. Frankel is executive director of the EMP Commission, which was created in 2001 to study the national security threat an EMP attack could pose to the United States. While most of its work is classified, the commission has released two unclassified reports: one in 2004 (.pdf) and another in 2008 (.pdf) (“How serious is the threat of an ‘EMP Pearl Harbor’?” 9 August 2010 HSNW).

Stratfor’s Scott Stewart and Nate Hughes write that there is little doubt that efforts by the United States to harden infrastructure against EMP — and its ability to manage critical infrastructure manually in the event of an EMP attack — have been eroded in recent decades as the cold war ended and the threat of nuclear conflict with Russia lessened. This is also true of the U.S. military, which has spent little time contemplating such scenarios in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union. The cost of remedying the situation, especially retrofitting older systems rather than simply regulating that new systems be better hardened, is immense. “As with any issue involving massive amounts of money, the debate over guarding against EMP has become quite politicized in recent years,” they write.

Stewart and Hughes note that they have long avoided writing on this topic for precisely that reason. As the debate over the EMP threat has continued, however, a great deal of discussion about the threat has appeared in the media. Many STRATFOR readers have the two experts for their take on the threat, and they say they thought it might be helpful dispassionately to discuss the tactical elements involved in such an attack and the various actors that could conduct one.

HSNW readers should read Stewart’s and Hughes’s lucid and useful analysis. After going through the various scenarios of an EMP attack, the two conclude that we should think long and hard before spending billions of dollars on addressing that threat. They write that the importance of the EMP threat should not be understated. There is no doubt that the impact of a HEMP attack would be significant. Any actor plotting such an attack, however, would be dealing with immense uncertainties — not only about the ideal altitude at which to detonate the device based on its design and yield in order to maximize its effect, but also about the nature of those effects and just how devastating they could be. They add:

The world is a dangerous place, full of potential threats. Some things are more likely to occur than others, and there is only a limited amount of funding to monitor, harden against, and try to prevent, prepare for and manage them all. When one attempts to defend against everything, the practical result is that one defends against nothing. Clear-sighted, well-grounded and rational prioritization of threats is essential to the effective defense of the homeland.

Hardening national infrastructure against EMP and HPM is undoubtedly important, and there are very real weaknesses and critical vulnerabilities in America’s critical infrastructure — not to mention civil society. But each dollar spent on these efforts must be balanced against a dollar not spent on, for example, port security, which we believe is a far more likely and far more consequential vector for nuclear attack by a rogue state or non-state actor (HSNW, 2010).

Title: Britain Vulnerable To Space Nuclear Attack Or 'Solar Flare' Storm, Conference Told
September 20, 2010

In a stark warning, Dr Liam Fox warned countries that sought nuclear capabilities could attack Britain from the upper atmosphere instead of through more traditional “nuclear strikes”.

The Defence Secretary disclosed that British officials believe such an attack involving a nuclear detonation would destroy vital electronic systems by producing an electromagnetic pulse.

Dr Fox also told the international conference on the vulnerability of electricity grids around the world to natural disaster and hostile attack, that an impending “solar flare” space storm could produce just as much damage to communication networks.

He highlighted warnings from scientists that essential infrastructure could be paralysed by a once-in-a-century solar flare.

But Dr Fox warned that terrorists might seek to employ such methods. He urged the public to take greater heed of the threat.

"I think it's a subject that we need to give a good deal more attention to, not least because we are in an era where there are those who seem to believe that we can choose to enter or not enter certain conflicts, and also because we live in a war where proliferation is becoming more not less the case," he said.

"And when we are discussing North Korea or Iran, for example, people need to understand there are other risks than just what we would consider the sort of nuclear strike we saw in Nagasaki or Hiroshima.

"The range of risks out there are many fold and I think we need to make that extremely apparent to the public."

Dr Fox’s comments on Monday came at the summit of scientists and security advisers who believe the infrastructure that underpins modern life in Western economies is potentially vulnerable to electromagnetic disruption.

The Daily Telegraph disclosed on Saturday that that one “nightmare scenario” being privately discussed by senior defence figures involves Iran successfully detonating a nuclear device high over Europe.

The Coalition’s Strategic Defence and Security Review is considering potential weaknesses in Britain’s defences against hi-tech attack or disruption.

Conventional military units, cyberwarfare and other technology-driven capabilities are likely to get more money when the review is concluded.

Much of the Ministry of Defence’s planning focuses on the risk of a hostile state exploding a nuclear weapon in space, creating a sudden, intense burst of electromagnetic energy called a high altitude electromagnetic pulse, Dr Fox said.

But planning was also for the "solar flare" storm that scientists, including those from Nasa, believe could hit the Earth within a few years.

The Daily Telegraph disclosed earlier this year that Nasa scientists believe Britain could face widespread power blackouts and be left without critical communication signals for long periods of time, after the earth is hit by a once-in-a-generation “space storm”.

Dr Fox insisted the threat of such a nuclear attack was "low", but that the Government was working internationally with telecoms, energy and transport companies to increase resilience.

"With reliance, for instance on technology, comes vulnerability, and vulnerability can invite attack," he said.

"Our wider reliance on digital technologies will not have gone unnoticed among those who would mean us harm.

"We will need to ensure that those same technological innovations that provide advantage do not become our Achilles' heel."

The Westminister meeting was jointly hosted by the Electric Infrastructure Security Council and the Henry Jackson Society, a think-tank (Telegraph, 2010).

Title: The Very Real Threat Of Terrorist EMP Attack
October 27, 2010 
The Foundry

The USA Today has a much needed article out today on the vulnerability of our nation to Electromagnetic pulses (EMP). Unfortunately the author doesn’t seem to understand the limitations of deterrence against a terrorist EMP attack. The USA Today reports:

In the nuclear scenario, the detonation of an atomic bomb anywhere from 25 to 500 miles high electrifies, or ionizes, the atmosphere about 25 miles up, triggering a series of electromagnetic pulses. The pulse’s reach varies with the size of the bomb, the height of its blast and design.

One complication for rogue nations or terrorists contemplating a high-altitude nuclear blast is that such an attack requires a missile to take the weapon at least 25 miles high to trigger the electromagnetic pulse. For nations, such a launch would invite massive nuclear retaliation from the USA’s current stockpile of 5,000 warheads, many of them riding in submarines far from any pulse effects.

But who would the U.S. retaliate against? And the technological barriers to producing an effective EMP attack are shrinking everyday. The Heritage Foundation’s Jena Baker McNeil explains:

For countries less dependent on modern technol­ogies and electronics, including both rogue states like Iran and North Korea as well as stateless terrorist groups, EMP provides a potential way to attack the United States through asymmetric means. EMPs could be used to circumvent America’s superior con­ventional military power while reducing vulnerabil­ity to retaliation in kind. It would certainly not be impossible for a terrorist organization, especially if state-sponsored, to acquire or construct an unso­phisticated ballistic missile (non-working Scuds are reportedly available on the open market for $100,000) and use it in an EMP attack against Amer­ica. Such a missile could be launched from a freighter in international waters and detonated in the atmosphere over the United States without warning.

Heritage’s James Carafano sketches out how a coordinated “Scud in a bucket” attack might unfold:

Iran’s Shahab-3, an advanced Scud variant, seems capable of traveling 1,000 kilometers and carrying as much as a 10-kiloton warhead. It couldn’t reach Washington from Tehran, but then, it wouldn’t have to. Iran could easily extend the missile’s reach simply by moving it to a commercial freighter and firing it from nearby using an improvised vertical launch tube disguised as cargo.

In many ways, Scud in a bucket is the ultimate weapon. It could sail close to U.S. waters without being subject to inspection by the Coast Guard or Customs. The enemy could fire the missile and scuttle the ship, leaving no record of who launched the attack.

If Iran has one missile and nuclear weapon, it might have two. It could detonate one over New York in a low-altitude air burst that would kill up to a half-million and cripple Manhattan forever.

Iran could fire a second at high altitude over the mid-Atlantic states, creating an electro-magnetic pulse that would take down a large portion of the national grid and plunge Washington, D.C., into permanent darkness.

Why on earth should America’s leaders leave our country open to this kind of threat? A better solution would be to require the Navy to develop a test program for sea-based interceptors with the capability to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles carrying EMP weapons prior to detonation.

Our nation’s infrastructure is also in need of hardening to minimize the damage from natural EMPs from the sun, but there is no reason we should leave ourselves vulnerable to man made disaster’s as well. Watch 33 Minutes to learn how we can better protect American in the missile age (The Foundry, 2010).

Title: One EMP Burst And The World Goes Dark
October 27, 2010
USA Today

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.

Electromagnetic pulses (EMP) are oversized outbursts of atmospheric electricity. Whether powered by geomagnetic storms or by nuclear blasts, their resultant intense magnetic fields can induce ground currents strong enough to burn out power lines and electrical equipment across state lines.

The threat has even become political fodder, drawing warnings from former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a likely presidential contender.

"We are not today hardened against this," he told a Heritage Foundation audience last year. "It is an enormous catastrophic threat."

Meanwhile, in Congress, a "Grid Act" bill aimed at the threat awaits Senate action, having passed in the House of Representatives.

Fear is evident. With the sun's 11-year solar cycle ramping up for its stormy maximum in 2012, and nuclear concerns swirling about Iran and North Korea, a drumbeat of reports and blue-ribbon panels center on electromagnetic pulse scenarios.

"We're taking this seriously," says Ed Legge of the Edison Electric Institute in Washington, which represents utilities. He points to a North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) report in June, conducted with the Energy Department, that found pulse threats to the grid "may be much greater than anticipated."

There are "some important reasons for concern," says physicist Yousaf Butt of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. "But there is also a lot of fluff."

At risk are the more than 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines that cross North America, supplying 1,800 utilities the power for TVs, lights, refrigerators and air conditioners in homes, and for the businesses, hospitals and police stations that take care of us all.

"The electric grid's vulnerability to cyber and to other attacks is one of the single greatest threats to our national security," Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said in June as he introduced the bill to the House of Representatives.

Markey and others point to the August 2003 blackout that struck states from Michigan to Massachusetts, and southeastern Canada, as a sign of the grid's vulnerability. Triggered by high-voltage lines stretched by heat until they sagged onto overgrown tree branches, the two-day blackout shut down 100 power plants, cut juice to about 55 million people and cost $6 billion, says the 2004 U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force.

Despite the costs, most of them from lost work, a National Center for Environmental Health report in 2005 found "minimal" death or injuries tied directly to the 2003 blackout — a few people died in carbon monoxide poisonings as a result of generators running in their homes or from fires started from candles. But the effects were pervasive: Television and radio stations went off the air in Detroit, traffic lights and train lines stopped running in New York, turning Manhattan into the world's largest pedestrian mall, and water had to be boiled after water mains lost pressure in Cleveland.

Simple Physics, Big Worry
The electromagnetic pulse threat is a function of simple physics: Electromagnetic pulses and geomagnetic storms can alter Earth's magnetic field. Changing magnetic fields in the atmosphere, in turn, can trigger surging currents in power lines.

"It is a well-understood phenomenon," says Butt, who this year reviewed geomagnetic and nuke blast worries in The Space Review.

Two historic incidents often figure in the discussion:

• On July 9, 1962, the Atomic Energy Commission and the Defense Atomic Support Agency detonated the Starfish Prime, a 1.4-megaton H-bomb test at an altitude of 250 miles, some 900 miles southwest of Hawaii over the Pacific Ocean. The pulse shorted out streetlights in Oahu.

• On March 9, 1989, the sun spat a million-mile-wide blast of high-temperature charged solar gas straight at the Earth. The "coronal mass ejection" struck the planet three days later, triggering a geomagnetic storm that made the northern lights visible in Texas. The storm also induced currents in Quebec's power grid that knocked out power for 6 million people in Canada and the USA for at least nine hours.

"A lot of the questions are what steps does it make sense to take," Legge says. "We could effectively gold-plate every component in the system, but the cost would mean that people can't afford the rates that would result to pay for it."

"The high-altitude nuclear-weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse is one of a small number of threats that has the potential to hold our society seriously at risk," concluded a 2008 EMP Commission report headed by William Graham, a former science adviser to President Reagan.

The Terror Effect
In the nuclear scenario, the detonation of an atomic bomb anywhere from 25 to 500 miles high electrifies, or ionizes, the atmosphere about 25 miles up, triggering a series of electromagnetic pulses. The pulse's reach varies with the size of the bomb, the height of its blast and design.

Gingrich last year cited the EMP Commission report in warning, "One weapon of this kind that went off over Omaha would eliminate most of the electrical production in the United States."

But some take issue with that.

"You would really need something the size of a Soviet H-bomb to have effects that cross many states," Butt says. The massive Starfish Prime blast, he notes, was at least 70 times more powerful than the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima in 1945, and it may have blown out streetlights but it left the grid in Hawaii intact.

One complication for rogue nations or terrorists contemplating a high-altitude nuclear blast is that such an attack requires a missile to take the weapon at least 25 miles high to trigger the electromagnetic pulse. For nations, such a launch would invite massive nuclear retaliation from the USA's current stockpile of 5,000 warheads, many of them riding in submarines far from any pulse effects.

Any nation giving a terror group an atomic weapon and missile would face retaliation, Butt and others note, as nuclear forensics capabilities at the U.S. national labs would quickly trace the origins of the bomb, Butt says. "It would be suicide."

Super Solar Storm
On the solar front, the big fear is a solar super storm, a large, fast, coronal mass ejection with a magnetic field that lines up with an orientation perfectly opposite the Earth's own magnetic field, says solar physicist Bruce Tsurutani of
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Tsuritani and other solar physicists view such an event as inevitable in the next 10 to 100 years.

"It has to be the perfect storm," Tsuratani says.

"We are almost guaranteed a very large solar storm at some point, but we are talking about a risk over decades," Butt says. Three power grids gird the continental U.S. — one crossing 39 Eastern states, one for 11 Western states and one for Texas.

In June, national security analyst Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists described congressional debate over power-grid security as "a somewhat jarring mix of prudent anticipation and extravagant doomsday warnings."

Although the physics underlying the geomagnetic and nuclear pulses are fundamentally the same, they have different solutions. A geomagnetic storm essentially produces a long-building surge dangerous to power lines and large transformers. A nuclear blast produces three waves of pulses.

Limiting the risk from the geomagnetic-storm-type threat involves stockpiling large transformers and installing dampers, essentially lightning rods, to dump surges into the ground from the grid. Even if such steps cost billions, the numbers come out looking reasonable compared with the $119 billion that a 2005 Electric Power Research Institute report estimated was the total nationwide cost of normal blackouts every year.

"EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences," Graham testified to a congressional committee last year, endorsing such mitigation steps.

Stephen Younger, former head of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, last year argued against the catastrophic scenarios in his book, The Bomb, suggesting the effects of a pulse would be more random, temporary and limited than Graham and others suggest.

The June NERC report essentially calls for more study of the problem, warning of excessive costs to harden too much equipment against the nuclear risk. "If there are nuclear bombs exploding, we have lots of really, really big problems besides the power grid," Legge says (USA Today, 2010).