Last Updated on
Because, simply put, terrorists had finally pulled it off… an electro-magnetic pulse attack.In the distance you hear the sound of a commercial jet falling from the sky. It’s unmistakable.
What Is An Electro Magnetic Pulse Attack?
An EMP attack is an intense burst of electro-magnetic radiation that can be triggered by detonating a nuclear weapon at high altitude, a weapon launched by a rogue nation, or a terrorist attack. Scientists say that a massive solar flare could also cause an EMP, but for the purpose of this article, we’re only talking about the current terrorist threat, which many believe is real, and which many also say is imminent.
Electro Magnetic Pulse – A Terrorist’s Dream
Detonated low to the ground, atomic weapons have a devastating physical shock, but being detonated miles above the ground, the main impact of an EMP burst will be electrical, which is basically energy that won’t kill people but will spread like lightning, rendering any circuitry and electrical grid useless by feeding into them and burning them out. In this scenario, it is possible for whole cities to go dark.So, what can the U.S. expect as a consequence to a nationwide blackout that some say would take us back to the 1800s before the modern day industrial age and the invention of electricity?
An EMP attack could fry every circuit and just about every electronic piece of equipment we have. It would take years to replace the large transformers, and even longer to rewire the entire nation. All major modes of transportation will also come to a grinding halt. Cars, buses, trains, the subway systems and even commercial airlines and any other modes of transportation would cease to work. This is terrifying when you realize that there are around 4,000 or so commercial flights that are in the sky over the US at any given time.
There will be no modes of communication left. No government level command and control as it presently exists; without the internet and computers, there will not be a centralized government. What would follow is everybody’s guess.
EMP Followed By Riots And Civil Unrest
Riots and civil unrest would spread throughout the nation, not could, but would it’s safe to say. Wild fires would burn out of control with not enough equipment or man power to fight the larger fires.And gangs would probably take over many of the cities, though some will run head on with local forces from the U.S. military fighting along side local police (those who have stayed on the job that is) and some of these gangs will find that they lack the weapons and training for real urban combat.
In many places these gang on gang or gang on military personnel will be quite a spectacle.
An EMP attack could also precede an invasion as it would give the perfect opportunity to our enemies. Famine and disease would be widespread, and many people would be killed. Some reports state that an EMP attack could wipe out more than half of the US population in less than a year. In short, all hell will break loose, leaving us weak and defenseless to a larger superpower like Russia or China or both.
How Real Is An EMP Threat?
Back in 2010, an executive summary from the Federal Energy and Regulatory Commission warned of an EMP attack which would destroy power grids and most electronic devices. This was back when the US found itself locking horns with countries such as China, Iran and North Korea. But, the fact of the matter is that an EMP attack would have a devastating impact on all the normal channels of government activities, including communication, intelligence gathering and everything nuclear. And that’s not to mention the huge impact it would have on the civilian population who will be left without, food, electricity or security.
While scaremongers have used the story of an imminent EMP attack, claiming that it could be one of the fastest ways to cripple the entire US and end its dominance in world affairs, an EMP attack still remains a very plausible threat, whether it’s “scaremongering” or not.The US military seems to be taking the threat of an EMP attack very seriously, which could be one of the reasons why they are reportedly storing equipment into bunkers so that they can be shielded from an EMP attack. According to reports, critical communications equipment at the North American Aerospace Defense Command was moved to a bunker inside the Cheyenne mountain, which is a cold war relic in Colorado. These reports came up after the government had disclosed a plan about building a similar $44 million facility in Alaska for housing the military’s interceptor missiles.
The Impact Of An EMP Attack On —
Most of the automobiles which use some sort of circuitry, in other words, all of them would be rendered useless. And even if you did find a pre-90 era vehicle that uses pre electrical parts, where would you get gasoline from to run it? Sure, you might manage to store away fuel for a rainy day somewhere on your property or bug out retreat, but at some point it’s going to run out.People in subways would be hopelessly trapped as soon as an EMP went off. And then there’s the threat from the skies as well.
At any given minute there are around 4,000 commercial airplanes flying in America, so in what could be described as one of the most dramatic effects after an EMP attack, airplanes would be seen falling from the sky, leaving untold thousands plunging to their deaths. (Are airlines updating their critical systems yet to survive if an EMP takes place? Even if they do get several planes to stay flying, where are those planes going to land and who’s going to communicate with ground control when there’s no more ground control to communicate with?)
Even though a large number of planes are likely to come down from the sky with nowhere safe to land, their deaths could be considered merciful when compared to the fate of those who will still be alive on the ground.
Food Infrastructure … Gone
Needless to say, without any means of transport thanks to the fried circuitry in all vehicles, the food supply will be the first to go. And what do crops need in order to grow? With all the hydroelectric power gone, where is the water which is used for irrigation going to come from. Besides that, the critical infrastructure for the production, delivery and storage depends on a complex web of technology, which includes machines for planting, harvesting and packaging, along with refrigerated vehicles for transporting produce and food items, and not to mention the temperature-controlled warehouses which are used for storing these food items.According to the data, regional warehouses which resupply supermarkets make up the National food reserves, which is enough food to feed the nation for one to two months maximum. These huge warehouses preserve the food by refrigeration and temperature control systems and are equipped with enough emergency electrical power in the form of diesel or gas generators to last just three days.
In such a scenario, our food supply will surely dry up and disappear, only exacerbating the situation further. Considering the circumstances, most of the US population would perish within the first 30 days due to famine. Within two or three weeks, the military services would most likely come to the rescue of many people. But, if the attack is severe that period of relief will probably not last very long. An even greater problem will be that of food distribution since any kind of centrally-directed distribution will not exist, no matter how well-intentioned, it will still be highly inefficient.
Communications After an EMP… Lost
Your cell phones, land lines, and the internet, along with faxes and any other mode of communication, would stop working permanently. Nearly all of the broadcast stations, including television stations, would immediately go off air. Due to the high level of computerized automation, the equipment in most of the television and radio studios would be completely destroyed or damaged beyond repair.When America emerges after an EMP attack, an NSA police state surveillance grid will be brought into effect for the extreme martial law dictatorship which will follow. That’s what many are warning anyway.
According to statement made by Damon Penn, who is a DHS official, at the US House of Representatives on July 8, 2011, there are a limited amount of radio stations that have been retrofitted with some form of EMP protection, but most of the US will be left without mass communication. He also mentioned that in the event of an EMP attack on the US, between 250,000 to 500,000 people who will die during the first few minutes of the EMP attack, and the aftermath of the EMP attack would leave around 1 to 2 million dead in the next three days.
While these numbers are mind boggling, they are frighteningly true in the case of a successful large scale EMP attack.
EMP Effects On The Military
When it comes to electricity, even the military may not be of much help. For instance, in the 1962 Soviet high-altitude nuclear tests over Kazakhstan, even military diesel generators were damaged.While you might be able to get emergency information from a local NOAA weather radio station, only a few of those emergency transmitters are actually EMP-protected. And while repairs to many of these transmitters could be made by military personnel, who can also supply emergency power to them for a while, the truth is that emergency power may not last for very long.
Hospitals Would Become Death Traps
The US would also see devastating conditions in hospitals and convalescent centers within a few days. Old age homes would run out of resources and services of qualified staff to help preserve the lives of those who will be virtually helpless after an EMP attack. Hospital staff could walk off the job by the sheer scarcity of resources and hopelessness. The only medical personnel that would probably stay behind would be those that live not too far away from the hospital or nursing homes. In short, our worst fears would be realized.
And What About Our Water?
Needless to say water is a basic necessity of every nation. In fact, it’s even more crucial than food. The infrastructure which is used for the purification and delivery of potable water and even for disposing or treating waste water is a vast network of electric powered machines that use electrical screens, pumps, filters, sprayers and paddles but work by complex computer systems. This makes much of the machinery used in the water infrastructure vulnerable to an EMP attack. Since the system cannot operate without the vast amounts of electricity supplied by the power grid an EMP event would deprive most of the US population of running water almost immediately.And that’s not the worst part, much of the natural water supply, as in, streams, rivers and lakes would also be polluted by dangerous toxic waste from the backflow of sewage and industrial waste since the wastewater treatment plants will no longer be operational without electricity.
Making bulk water storage a necessary step for hospitals, families, and schools.
EMP Effect On Schools & Children
One of the most tragic developments which would arise after an EMP attack will be the fate of school children who will be geographically isolated from their parents. Reuniting school children with their parents will be almost impossible for the majority of schools where kids have to commute for more than 20 miles. Another serious question would be on how long the teachers would stay on the job and ignore the welfare of their own families.Needless to say, an important step that should be taken would be for schools to prepare to take care of children for up to several weeks, or for as long as these schools can be equipped to do so. Most schools are sorely lacking in any kind of long term emergency plan.
Perhaps this article will help wake up several school officials and community disaster teams to the reality of what we will all be facing if an EMP takes places on a weekday when children are in school?
Emergency services such as the police, fire department and ambulance services are the three critical pillars which hold up the basic functions of a city. They help to uphold law and order and protect both property and life. As we have seen in protracted storm induced blackouts (Hurricane Katrina) that when the power goes out and all modes of communication fails, and there is no fire trucks, ambulances or squad cars patrolling the roads, society’s worst elements soon take over.The EMP Commission, which was established in 2001, found that in our current state of unpreparedness an EMP attack would easily create conditions which could be described as “anarchic,” and would profoundly challenge the existence of the social order in the US.
Banking & Finance
Banking and finance are the lifeblood of a nation. It is considered as the most critical infrastructure to sustain any modern economy. Whether it’s the financial records of multinational corporations in the US, the stock market or the ATM card, everything that keeps the banking and financial sector moving forward like a well oiled machine, from record keeping to financial transactions, all depend at a micro or macro level on computers. This leaves these computers and electronic automated systems vulnerable to an EMP attack. According to the EMP Commission, an EMP event could transform the modern electronic economy into the feudal economies of the past which were based on barter.
CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER
Back in 2008, the EMP Commission painted a clear picture of what an EMP attack on US soil would look like. A year later, in 2009, the congressional commission on the strategic posture of the US, co-chaired by former Secretaries of Defense James Schlesinger and William Perry came to the conclusion by the findings of the EMP Commission that the electric grid needed to be protected immediately. These views coincided with those from the National Academy of Sciences, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the National Intelligence Council and the Department of Energy.The EMP Commission also found that states such as China, Russia, North Korea and quite possibly Iran have incorporated EMP attack into their defense doctrines and have already begun to plot an EMP attack against the US. Keeping that in mind, it’s no coincidence that the EMP Commission was set up by Congress in response to a possible Russian nuclear EMP threat, which was made to an official Congressional Delegation back in May 2, 1999 during the growing crisis in the Balkans. According to reports, the former Ambassador to the US and head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Lukin warned that “hypothetically” if Russia wanted to “hurt” the US it could fire an SLBM and detonate a nuclear warhead at a high altitude, resulting in an EMP, which would massively disrupt all communications in the US.
Of course many believe that an attack such as that on Pearl Harbor would be unlikely nowadays, especially with all the technological advancements. Still, an EMP attack could very well be called the “Pearl Harbor of the 21st century” if it were ever to happen. Even a superpower such as the US, which possess the world’s most powerful armed force, air force, navy and an incredible nuclear arsenal cannot guarantee its immunity in the event of an electromagnetic pulse attack.
What this means is that even a highly computerized and open society such as the US is vulnerable to an EMP attack. This is frighteningly true because in the US, everything you can think of, from the power plants and banking system to telecommunications and the iron and steel infrastructure all rely heavily on computers in order to function, leaving it vulnerable from all sides to an EMP attack by enemy states, terrorists and rogue nations. But to be fair, as any country grows increasingly powerful both technologically and economically, it will become more and more dependent on modern computer systems, which means that the US is actually more vulnerable to an EMP attack than any other nation in the world.
So, What Can Be Done About The EMP Threat??
Two years ago the Obama administration signed an executive order to safeguard critical infrastructure against cyber threats. But, the administration doesn’t seem to realize the urgency of a possibly imminent EMP attack.Safeguards such as Faraday cages and surge arrestors that prevent EMP attacks from damaging electronic equipment are being used by the Department of Defense for the past 50 years approximately to protect important military installations. They can also be adapted to protect civilian infrastructure as well. According to the EMP Commission’s 2008 report, the cost of protecting the national electric grid was estimated at around $2 billion, that’s roughly what the US currently gives to Pakistan each year as foreign aid.
But there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel.
In 2013, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona) along with Rep. Yvette Clark (D-New York) introduced the “Secure High Voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act.” Unfortunately, the legislation is still in the House Energy and Commerce Committee waiting to be passed.
On a more positive note, Newt Gingrich, the 2016 Republican presidential hopeful has been passionate at times about this poorly understood phenomenon of a nuclear EMP attack on the US. He seems to be the most visible worrier of an EMP attack and can be seen pushing the issues in his speeches, debates and interviews.
It is quite clear that in an age of technology, the enemy is most likely to use a weapon of mass disruption, and bring on years of complicated secondary effects, than a weapon of mass destruction. The only question is, will our political leaders and those at the Pentagon wait to see which happens first? Though an EMP could be more likely that an actual nuclear strike on a U.S. city, the threat of a nuclear strike still exists as well.
In the end, a quote from Albert Einstein sums it up quite clearly;
“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
EMP Survival Guide After A Large Scale Collapse
How to Live off the Land if a complete breakdown of society ever occurs. Bushcraft, survivalism, self-defense, stealth and survival hunting and fishing.(2018 “Red Dawn” Survival Guide updated with new techniques and breakthrough gear). If America collapses you’re going to need a back-up plan for survival.
Included: 10 Dangers to Living Off the Land and Surviving in the Wild.
Next article: How to Live Off the Land