• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Solar Storm Strikes: Protect the American Way of Life Now

    Today, Earth is going to feel impacts of a solar storm. Millions of charged particles are heading toward Earth from the sun. This “space weather” has been created by the largest solar storm in the past six years.

    Impacts could range from losing communications between satellites and ground stations to causing damage to the electrical grid. One of the U.S. airlines is preemptively re-routing its flights away from the North Pole to avoid impacts of the geomagnetic storm. But this pales in comparison to truly massive space weather or electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon events that have the potential to bring modern societies to their knees.

    An EMP is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles. An EMP would disable all electric devices within its line of sight, including electrical grids, computers, cell phones, and means of transportation. A high-altitude nuclear weapons detonation would deliver the most devastating EMP effect. An EMP, however, can be cause by radiological weapons detonations as well.

    Society is more dependent on electronic devices than at any point in the history. A massive solar weather or an EMP attack would make all electronic devices stop working and instantly send civilization back to the 18th century.

    Fortunately, the United States can take steps to protect its vital infrastructure. The public and private sectors should harden vital infrastructure to make it more resilient and resistant to solar storm or EMP effects. In addition to hardening its electrical grid, the U.S. should also develop a national plan to respond to EMP emergencies. This would involve educating federal, state, and local officials along with the public about the risks and response options.

    Moreover, short- and long-range ballistic missiles are the best means of delivery for a high-altitude nuclear weapons detonation. That is why the United States must continue to build up its missile defenses. The system would ideally be composed of Aegis ballistic missile capable ships; Aegis Ashore, the land-based ballistic missile component; and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle capabilities. These would offer a degree of protection against such an attack.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Solar Storm Strikes: Protect the American Way of Life Now

    1. def says:

      Umm. The storm was actually yesterday. Otherwise, yes, "defense in depth" is always good policy.

    2. JQP says:

      I worked in Missile Defense, Obama has given away some of our advantage with the Start Treaty. The is the worst President in History!

    3. brian says:

      So what are you saying? You think it was an attack? And "they" say solar storm to cover it up?

    4. OUSh says:

      Correction, the storm started yesterday and is continuing. It may even last over year.

    5. Bobbie says:

      wonder if it effects solar paneled homes with an extra zapping? How come there's no talk on the radiation flow from Japan?

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×