Threat of an EMP Attack

Retired CIA Director James Woolsey recently co-authored an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal where he warned an electro-magnetic pulse or EMP blast “could bring our civilization to a cold, dark halt.” Precisely what is EMP and why would Arizonans care about it?

EMP, or electromagnetic pulse, is merely a burst of electromagnetic power that could be generated by both natural reasons, for example, a solar flare, and by unnatural systems or weapons. This sort of pulses of enough strength are capable of overpowering or wiping out any type of electrical device that is not specifically safeguarded from such a burst of energy. The sad thing is, essentially all of America’s electric grid and infrastructure presently falls in the category of being unshielded from such an occurrence.


You have been cautioning about this for many years. Just how genuine is the threat?

This phenomenon has occurred before and our susceptibility to it continues to grow. Within the last two years, we observed a potentially dreadful solar flare that, despite missing Our planet by roughly a couple of weeks, nevertheless obstructed GPS satellites around the globe.

What would an EMP attack seem like?

An enemy could blatantly detonate a nuclear device at high altitude above the United States. According to the Federation of American Scientists, “A large device detonated at 250 to 312 miles over Kansas would affect all of the continental U.S.”.

How would our lifestyles alter in this nation if an adversary struck us in this way?

Our complete American way of life trusts electrical power and digital technology. Our household appliances, food distribution systems, phone and computer system networks, communicating devices, cars, airliners, factories, power station, bank ATMs, even water and sewer plants could probably grind to a stop without it. While much of our critical military hardware is shielded against EMP, our military relies upon our largely unsecured civilian grid for more than 90 percent of its electricity needs in this country without which it can not affect its military mission.

According to experts, including Dr. William Graham, who was the White House science adviser during the Reagan administration, an EMP strike over the continental United States could leave 70-90 percent of our population unsustainable.

What nations possess EMP capability that we should think about?

Theoretically, any country that has a nuclear capacity and fairly rudimentary missile technology could have the capacity to carry out an EMP attack. And we know that Iran– the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, which has provided weapons to terrorist groups worldwide for years– is not only definitely pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, but has particularly carried out military assessments that follow an EMP attack.

What should the United States be doing to protect itself against this threat?

The nation should work together to harden the grid by having Congress pass law to do just that. In the mean time, citizens should be using Faraday bags or otherwise known as EMP bags to protect their personal electronics. Military grade bags are the best for protecting those devices and keeping them safe.

What’s the prospect for those ever passing in Congress?

There is a moment in the life of every issue when it is big enough to be seen by practical individuals and still small enough to be adequately addressed. Experts are beginning to see that the time to address America’s exposure to EMP has come.