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  • Electromagnetic Pulse: Not If but When

    “Electromagnetic Pulse and American Security,” a recent article by Eric Hannis, executive director at Etherton and Associates, is a welcome contribution to the discussion about U.S. vulnerability to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks. Hannis points out that, despite the severe consequences of a single attack, “few people even know that this threat exists.”

    An EMP attack is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles. These particles, if strong enough, cause a destruction of electrical circuits. This affects cell phones, computers, vehicles, airplanes, and even the power grid. In the case of a successful EMP attack, transportation systems would be halted, communications devices would be rendered useless, and grocery stores would be unable to preserve or restore food supplies. “The result would be starvation, disease, and lawlessness on a scale not experienced in modern times,” Hannis says.

    An EMP occurs as one of the effects of a nuclear detonation. The higher the altitude of the detonation, the larger the impacted area. Hannis warns that both Iran and North Korea are developing EMP capabilities and working to exploit U.S. vulnerabilities to EMP.

    An EMP also occurs during solar storms (also known as “space weather”). Particularly strong storms occur in 11-year cycles (and the next expected peak is in 2013). The possibility of a solar storm that could knock down power grids across the country is far greater than previously thought.

    Hannis identifies several steps the U.S. can take to prepare and mitigate the consequences of an EMP:

    • “Hardening critical infrastructure systems” would ensure that vital systems are functional after an EMP.
    • The Department of Homeland Security should develop “civilian protocols” that enable proficient communication during an EMP incident.
    • The U.S. should fortify defense and space systems, specifically critical weapons systems.
    • The U.S. should develop a national plan to respond to space weather emergencies.
    • In addition, missile defense is essential to protecting the U.S. for an EMP caused by a high-altitude nuclear weapon detonation.

    Click here to view this post in Spanish at Libertad.org.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Electromagnetic Pulse: Not If but When

    1. Daniel says:

      Is this job "shovel ready"? Oh well, another round of golf then.

    2. BackwardsBoy says:

      I sincerely hope that there are military personnel who are aware of this grave potential threat and are already preparing for an attempted strike. There are some of us who have been aware of this type of threat for quite some time, but we never hear it mentioned from anyone in government. However, this is understandable to a certain extent.

      If we don't already have a missile system (or other method) in place to combat this, we should.

      • William says:

        Its not our job as a military force to fix this. This is the governments actions. If I, a u.s. soldier, am called to act upon this then I will. My point is that it is us, as civilians, to be aware of the threats and to be ready for them.

    3. Ross says:

      Learn more and take action on EMP right now – go to http://www.EMPactAmerica.org and http://www.SHIELDAct.com. Also, EMP expert Dr. George Baker will be live on EMPact Radio at 12 noon eastern tomorrow to answer questions about EMP – check out http://www.EMPactRadio.com.

    4. Charles Webb says:

      EMP……. A nuclear explosion high above the United States would be a bad hair day for sure! I will just add this to my worry list. I have the feeling this old world will not last much longer. Oh well, Bush will get the blame for this too.

    5. Cuger Brant says:

      Try this for comfort…



    6. Joyce Lorenc says:

      In the latest edition of Counter-Terrorism magazine is an article titled "America's Growing Vulnerability to an EMP Attack," by Col. Danny Dickerson. Suggest everyone read this.

    7. Joyce says:

      I would suggest that you read the latest edition of Counter-Terrorism magazine for the article titled "America's Growing Vulnerability to an EMP Attack," by Col. Danny Dickerson.

    8. AmandaK says:

      This is a great article. I agree with some other people who have commented here; I hope that people are preparing for when this happens! I have been going to a radio show online called EMPactRadio. They have new shows every Wednesday at noon Eastern Time. It's always really interesting and informative to listen to. This week a man named Gale Nordling is going to be on their show. He is the President and CEO Emprimus. It should be really great to listen to. Here's the link if you guys want to check it out: http://empactradio.org/archives/episode-94-gale-n

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