Beyond the Cusp

October 25, 2013

EMP Attack and Vulnerability of the United States

There is a chance that the conversations regarding the threats that an EMP attack could have on the infrastructure and the actual existence of civilization will come up due to House of Representatives proposed legislation called  Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act also referred to as H.R. 2417. Links to the text of the Bill can be found here. We discussed the results of an EMP attack briefly back on February 3, 2012 in the article Doth Israel Protest Too Much and figured with the introduction of this legislation we might do so again. The first thing might be to explain what exactly an EMP attack is. EMP stands for Electro-magnetic Pulse and there are a number of ways to generate them. Every electronic device generates small amounts of EMP with motors and generators producing among the highest levels but even those are insignificant compared to an EMP device. There are ways using massive coils and pulsing huge amounts of current switching it on and off or having it change polarity to produce an EMP of sufficient level to cause damage to sensitive electronics. An easier way is to simply detonate a nuclear warhead fairly high in the atmosphere as every atomic device produces a very sizeable EMP as a result of the detonation. Such a device need only be an atomic bomb of merely twenty kilotons, not necessarily a thermonuclear bomb which means a simple fission device such as the devices dropped on Japan to end World War II and one does not need the more technically challenging fusion Hydrogen bomb. Such a device has already been tested by North Korea and some have assumed that the Iranians already have sufficient knowledge and may have even secretively produced sufficient weapons grade uranium to have assembled as many as two or three such devices. Should one such device be detonated over the central United States it would destroy virtually the entire United States Electrical Grid and much of Canada’s grid as well. Fortunately our military has already hardened their systems protecting them from an EMP attack but the problem is that the military relies on the civilian power grid for the vast majority of their electrical generation. For that reason alone the United States needs to harden the electrical grid and preferably also require any tactical productions companies and other vital systems in the civilian sector also be hardened. It has been estimated that in order to accomplish this it would cost between two and five billion dollars, a small investment when one considers the risks run by ignoring this problem any longer.


The main reason that the United States not only needs to address this problem but needs to address it immediately has to do with the fact that our potential enemies have been training and planning for such an attack. Both the Russians and the Chinese militaries have trained in the use of an EMP device knowing the vulnerability of the United States. Further, they have also shared their knowledge with both the North Koreans and the Iranians both of whom have even actually trained and practiced the necessary launch procedures in order to deliver an EMP device. The Iranians have carried their preparations out to such an extent as to make it their apparent primary weapons system utilization. Perhaps you remember the news reports which ridiculed both the North Koreans and the Iranians for their missile launches which exploded at their apogee well up in the atmosphere. Our news reporters claimed that these launches exploding was a complete failure and a shortcoming when the reality is these were practices for deployment of an EMP nuclear device. The Iranians have gone even further and practiced launching their moderate range SCUD ballistic missiles from barges and off of cargo vessels to the point of carrying several such missiles on a single cargo vessel and launching them in rapid succession. The reason behind this tactic is the Iranians have a plan to utilize cargo ships to launch from either the Atlantic or Pacific coasts or from the Gulf of Mexico all of which would be vulnerable to a ship launched missile which the United States interceptors and radar systems are not necessarily able to detect and intercept.


That is why this legislation is so vitally important to the future of the United States and its way of life. If a successful EMP device were to be detonated over the central United States almost the entire nation would be plunged back to using technology from over a century and a half ago. There would be no electric power, no working vehicles which depend upon computer circuitry, no refrigeration as their controllers would be destroyed and there would be no electricity to run compressors or fans, and the diesel-electric trains would be rendered useless. There would be some trains we could get into service once we figured how to move the old coal fired steam engines from the museums onto the railroad tracks. The Department of Defense estimate of the results from an EMP device being detonated over Ohio predicted that half of the population of the United States at best would survive the first year. That should be sufficient to light a fire under our elected representatives but instead they have relegated H.R. 2417 to committee where it will likely lie dormant until the end of the current session kills it. We have seldom asked for people to take action but this is an exception as if we can get just a core few Representatives and Senators to act on pushing for hearings and a vote on this legislation then we may be able to avoid the consequences of allowing nothing to be done and the vulnerability to continue. As we have pointed out previously, the Iranian’s plan is to first decapitate the United States and then turn their attention to the destruction of Israel. Many of those who are in positions of power believe exactly the opposite that Israel would be attacked first and that would be their warning to prepare. Even if they were correct, that would be too late to start to act. But logistics and tactics both make attacking the United States by striking a decapitating blow such as an EMP attack produces would be required before attacking Israel. The reasoning is simple. If you attack either the United States or Israel the Iranians have to believe that the surviving resources of both nations would be brought to bear against them. Believing such then it becomes necessary to minimize the retaliatory abilities of the greater power, the United States, hoping that the Iranian military and leadership would be able to survive any retaliation in order to attack the other nation. The one thing we can rely upon is that any attack launched or arranged through utilizing their terrorist assets by the Iranians will follow a logical order, even if we know nothing else about them we can count on that logic.


Beyond the Cusp


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