Electromagnetic Pulse Attack


The threat of a rogue nation or a well-funded and supported terrorist group detonating a small nuclear weapon at a high-altitude would have devastating consequences to the United States. The consequences threaten to cause the loss of millions of civilians who rely on the infrastructure to live in urban areas. In the aftermath of an attack, electrical and electronic component failures would potentially be wide-spread and long lasting. The initial response to this type of event is time critical to maintain civil order and begin the process of recovery.

"EMP refers to a very intense pulse of electromagnetic energy, typically caused by detonation of a nuclear or other high-energy explosive device. High-altitude EMP (HEMP) is a nuclear warhead detonated hundreds of kilometers above the Earth’s surface to produce more widespread effects (areas affected can be hundreds of kilometers in diameter). It is generally accepted that a HEMP will require a high-altitude delivery device (e.g., a missile) which will require a high level of sophistication and logistics. As a result, the HEMP threat is most often associated with potential attacks from nation-states."

-Robert Manning, Vice President of Transmission - Electric Power Institute

Testimony to Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy


An EMP attack could instantaneously disable most electronic devices (computer systems, control systems, financial systems, transportation systems and other public health and safety critical infrastructure) as well as major components of the electrical infrastructure, which is the lifeline of every sector of our society. At this time our cities and communities are NOT prepared with adequate emergency planning and backup infrastructure required to prevent societal chaos and massive loss of life.

James Woolsey, a former CIA Director, has warned that ‘Two-Thirds Of US Population’ Would Die From EMP Attack. This is based on the fact that our food and water supplies, communications, banking, hospitals, law enforcement, etc., all depend on the electric grid.


Iran and North Korea have stated a desire to attack the United States using EMP devices to destroy the electrical infrastructure of the nation. Until recently these threats were inconsequential because Iran did not have the ability to produce a nuclear weapon or the ballistic missile needed to position the EMP devices approximately 200 to 300 miles up in the magnetosphere.


The electric power Industry and the federal government are studying ways to protect the infrastructure from an EMP attack. At present, physical changes generally have not been installed by power producers or the federal distribution agencies like Bonneville Power Administration. Understanding the risks associated with EMP attacks will allow industries, communities, and civilians to assess the threat and mitigate the risks.


Until local emergency plans are put into place and/or our infrastructure is hardened against these threats, the public remains unprotected and unprepared to deal with an existential threat that, at this time, has an unacceptably high probability of occurrence. The existing infrastructure allows us to live in densely populated areas that will not be able to meet minimum survival needs (Food, water and septic, medical). Experts estimate that up to 90% of the population in America would die if the electrical grid was out of service for a year. With adequate preparation, you can improve the survival of your family, business, and community by reducing the risk of a breakdown of social order. The first step at home is to assess your ability to adequately provide food and water for your family if there is extended power outage. The first step in your business and community is to identify and assess mission critical equipment that are needed to assure continuity of operations after an EMP attack.

Dana Engineering, Inc. provides infrastructure assessments to determine the data needed for advanced critical emergency preparation and planning to respond to an EMP attack.

Technical Contact: Alternate Contact:

Dennis Walters, Subject Matter Expert Sokhom Sek, Project Manager

email: dwalters@danaengineering.com email: ssek@danaengineering.com

phone: 509.521.5036 phone: 509.943.4200