US Congress Warned About Potential Devastation From EMP Attack

As if there wasn’t enough problems to be concerned about in today’s world, an additional threat which is not normally discussed in terms of national security — a nuclear EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack — was discussed yesterday (Oct. 12, 2017) at a congressional hearing before the US House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency.

Among other presenters at the hearing, members of the Comission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack presented testimony which is reported in this document The Commission treats the threat of an EMP attack from North Korea on the United States as very serious and recommends that the US Government takes action, both immediate and long-term to both prevent such an attack in the first place, and also take steps to minimize adverse effects should such an attack actually take place.

In addition to using military actions to protect against EMP attacks, the document points out on the vulnerability of the US electrical grids “the keystone critical infrastructure upon which all other critical infrastructures depend”, and recommends that key elements of the grid be protected against the possibility of an EMP attack, doing the same for communications system.

It’s not a pleasant topic to dwell upon. The commission report cites Ambassador Henry Cooper, former Director of the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative who stated in 2016:

North Korea doesn’t need an ICBM to create this existential threat. It could use its demonstrated satellite launcher to carry a nuclear weapon over the South Polar region and detonate it…over the United States to create a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP)…The result could be to shut down the U.S. electric power grid for an indefinite period, leading to the death within a year of up to 90 percent of all Americans—as the EMP Commission testified over eight years ago.

As we have discussed here before, modern civilization is dependent upon electricity for survival. Take that away and society breaks down quickly. And there’s not just the military threat. Very severe solar storms could cause similar havoc to the electrical, communications and satellite systems. It’s not a pleasant topic to dwell upon, but I think it’s something that requires attention and taking necessary preventative steps does seem like the prudent thing to do.

  • Ophelia Rump

    There is nothing new here, this is all part of the 1950s MAD principle, for details watch Doctor Strangelove.
    Mutually Assured Destruction.

    Once one nation EMPs another the nukes fly in all directions resulting in a cloud of dust and fallout which blocks out the sun for 1000 years over whatever rubble remains of the planet. The arsenals are capable of destroying the entire surface of the planet hundreds of times over.

    This is what happens when mad men and idiots are allowed to play with nukes.

    • Buck

      I think this will offend those who eagerly wish to share with or impose upon others the life they themselves live in thrall to fear, hate, anger, etc.

      • Ophelia Rump

        They already live in a permanent state of offense and indignation. No harm there.

        • Buck

          Yes, I agree. However, it is the solipsistic drive towards sharing which is a concern and enlivens politics.

        • Omega Z

          Only enough to destroy life as we know it about 10 times. The U.S. and Russia scraped well over 50,000 bombs since the Reagan/Gorbachev Strategic arms reduction treaty. Interestingly, all the nuke fuel has been funneled to Nuclear power plants over the years and according to uranium producers had suppressed uranium prices for decades. The agreement to reduce numbers by a few 100 more between Obama/Putin was intended to boost the supply as it is nearly gone.

  • georgehants

    Pentagon study declares American empire is ‘collapsing’
    Report demands massive expansion of military-industrial complex to maintain global ‘access to resources’
    An extraordinary new Pentagon study
    has concluded that the U.S.-backed international order established
    after World War 2 is “fraying” and may even be “collapsing”, leading the
    United States to lose its position of “primacy” in world affairs.
    The solution proposed to protect U.S. power in this new “post-primacy”
    environment is, however, more of the same: more surveillance, more
    propaganda (“strategic manipulation of perceptions”) and more military

    • tardismonkey

      This is the document the author referenced. It’s not the doom and gloom that he reports. It’s actually a risk assessment. SHOULD the US go down that path how can the military proactively stave off the consequences. The US has these types of assessments for everything from a nuclear holocaust to ET invasions.

      My interpretation may be wrong, however it’s a good read.

    • Omega Z

      All Right, A power vacuum, Quickly followed by wars on every continent and nearly every country.

  • EMP? The purported effects are overblown ..

    See the paper by Mario Rabinowitz (Effect of the Fast Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse on the Electric Power Grid Nationwide: A Different View) of EPRI that works to debunk this ‘bogey man’ plus this paper:

    EPRI Research Finds Limited Impact to Transformers from E3 Electromagnetic Pulse

    • Masterlock2020

      It goes on to say, “But the study results should not be interpreted to indicate that it is not a potential problem since impacts related to widespread outages due to voltage collapse are still being investigated.”

      That isn’t exactly reassuring.

  • Ewin Barnett

    I think it is just prudent to take steps towards making our key infrastructure more resilient to both types of EMP. That being the short pulse variety from a nuclear explosion and the long pulse variety from solar storms.

    While the pulse from a nuclear EMP is far shorter in rise time from that of a lightning bolt, it is important to know that a high altitude EMP makes a poor weapon because nobody can really predict just how much damage it will do. Such an EMP will have a particular polarity and characteristics that will mean that some equipment will be damaged and some will not be. What percent will be destroyed cannot be known.

    We have so many long chains of dependencies for our infrastructure that debilitating only a few percent of few key systems will disrupt society and the economy for days if not weeks or months.

    I was explaining to a friend a good example. Grocery distribution centers have a number of refrigeration controllers. Those controllers probably have an embedded micro-controller. The manufacturer has a certain stock of spares. But almost certainly there are more units in the field than spares on the shelf. Should 30% of those controllers in the field be zapped, there may not be enough usable spares to use. So we might be able to quickly restore power, but may have critical systems out because some chip foundry must be found to make replacements for the chips. That could take months.

    Of course, that does not preclude innovation, workarounds, substitutions and jury-rigging. But we also cannot predict how many vehicle computers will also be zapped and what percent of the workforce can even get to the job site, not to mention what percent of trucks will still function.

    For this reason, a little hardening will drastically improve the number of critical boxes that survive an EMP.

    • Omega Z

      Of course it does does not preclude how societies will react.
      It wont be pretty. Likely total chaos will reign.

    • Anon2012_2014

      The real issue is the long conductors in the power line infrastructure gets induced current. To the extent that these can be fused or shorted to the current return path to bypass sensitive infrastructure is the key. Power companies also maintain critical spare transformer components so that the grid can be brought up faster than if the same equipment needs to be manufactured and transported in place.

  • William Doerr


    Cue the fearmongers.

    One EMP would destroy 3 million square mile of electric grid?


    • Omega Z

      It actually depends on the size of the bomb and altitude detonated. On July 9th, 1962, the U.S. detonated a 1.4mt bomb 250 miles above Johnston Island in the pacific. It knocked out lights and disrupted phone service in the Hawaiian islands 900 miles away. It was well visible from the Fiji Islands 2,000 miles away. It also destroyed half a dozen LEO satellites and caused damage to many more. A single bomb at the right altitude and position could knockout the entire North American and a portion of the South American grids. Not fear mongering. Just a known fact.

  • Gerard McEk

    EMP is devestating for the grid and all electronic equipment when it is not specially treated for it. You can expect the collapse of the IT infra structure, the grid, telephone, computers, cars, electronic clocks, etc. etc. Yes it will lead to the total collapse of considerable areas. But military equipment is protected against EMP.
    EMP is not new, we know this for more than 60 years and the situation has be worsening a lot since. Nowadays electronics is extremely sensitive for it and will be destroyed when a EMP happens due to a nuke that explodes just above the atmosphere.
    If you want to protect against EMP you need a very well made faraday box and no, or well protected wiring to the outside world. You preferably need your own power supply inside the box. In fact: you need a LENR generator inside the box. YES! Ged rid of the grid!

    • Your opening line is one big assertion sans one iota of “living proof” (i.e., not tested in real life; the Hawaii Streetlight thing looks to be due to other factors than an EM wave) …

      (SURE there are EMP “test facilities” but – BUT the amplitudes of the expected E and H fields (the EM wave) are ASSUMED from THEORY. Again. see the paper “Effect of the Fast Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse on the Electric Power Grid Nationwide: A Different View”)

      An aside, apparently you are not aware of the intrinsic ESD capability and survivability of modern ICs. Just Google TI and ESD compliance.

      • Gerard McEk

        Well, it’s time do do a test then and see how vulnerable we really are.

    • Omega Z

      It would be better if there were smaller disconnected localized grids. With our current centralized system, the possibility of a cascading collapse is highly probably even if only part of it is exposed to EMP’s.

      A Faraday cage. Anything connected to your system outside the cage is a direct line in. May as well not have one. Also, all electronics outside that cage will likely be fried as well if they are in operation. Most vehicles built in the last 30/40 years will also be fried as most have power draw even when off.. Cars 50 years old will likely survive as long as they are not being driven when the EMP hits.

  • sam
  • In the past Russian systems were found to be EMP hardened, the US thought Russian tech was old fashioned but it was simply the new more about EMP than the US and NATO at the time having done more atmospheric tests and seen and tested the results and methods of mitgating it. Korea with its centralised economy like China and Russia is better equipped to deal with the EMP threat. But it shows how just one Nuke inevitably leads to all nukes being fired by all sides. That is why the doomsday clock is where it is. Our safety lies not in the nukes, but in the people we allow to rule us.

  • Bob Greenyer

    People need to calm down. There is no threat from North Korea that can’t be neutralised.

    This is worse than the hot fusion crowd, at least the hot fusion crowd haven’t finished the technological solution they want the money for. The soviets had the apparatus in the late 1970s, do we really think that US has waited this long?

    This all about getting more weapons into space, nothing more. Tax payers should be protesting rather than worrying

    • Ben

      There was no threat from Al Queda that also couldn’t be neutralized. In the medium term, I believe an EMP is a real threat and it is not that hard to mitigate. The problem is it isn’t obvious and it will be a one time event, but once it happens, it will be too late to mitigate.

      • Anon2012_2014

        Insufficient mitigations are in place. We should be working on it, as well as working on layering and improving the reliability of our ABM defense.

        But all this lose talk by the President is counterproductive. instead of North Korea backing down, they are going full speed ahead to weaponize their hydrogen bombs. Our President is already 6 months too late to do anything, and if it was, it should have been without riling up the North Koreans so that they can surprise us with a nuclear attack. The twitter verbal attacks and the U.N. speech doesn’t serve a purpose.

      • Bob Greenyer

        The launch device carrying the EMP would never reach US – and it would not be taken down with a THAAD.

        Meanwhile, congress is considering USD 200m bill to roll out microwave weapons including proven cruise missile deliverable EMPs.

      • Omega Z

        ” it is not that hard to mitigate”

        True, but it is very expensive. Considered by most as cost prohibitive.

  • Ophelia Rump

    That is a common fallacy, although the number of bombs was reduced the overall destructive ability was increased.

    • Omega Z

      If this is in response to my other post where the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals were reduced by 90%. To start, neither the U.S. or Russia have built and deployed new war heads in over 30 years. A megaton yield is a megaton yield. Destructivity is always the same. But it should be stated that a bomb on target is more destructive to the target then a if missed by a 1000 yards.

      Before the START agreement, both parties had warheads up to 50mt. The START agreement put limits on mega-tonnage, delivery systems and the total number of warheads. Thus to make optimal use of the agreement, the U.S. largest nuke is 2mt. They have only a few this size and all others are 1mt or less. Russia followed suit. The result was total destructivity reduced by far more then 90%. None of this necessitated the need for new warheads. Merely redistribution of existing warheads at the small end of the scale.

      All fissile material from the dismantled weapons were reprocessed for nuclear power plants including that shipped from Russia to the U.S.. I don’t think people appreciate what happened here. This was a real swords to plowshares event.

      With current arsenals with a full exchange, the vast majority of the U.S. and Russia would survive intact. It is the radioactive fallout and 10 year nuclear winter that assures most life as we know it would soon cease to exist. Even when the so called nuclear winter ends, it takes many decades for climate to to return to some what normal.

  • Anon2012_2014

    People need food and water, not electricity.

    EMP will destroy a number of transformers and a number of appliances. It will NOT have an effect on automobiles or trucks because the exposed length of the conductors in the vehicle are too small to have sufficient induced current to destroy the electronics, let alone a conventional ignition system. (Cars are actually good Faraday cages shielding out most EMP — they are the safest place in a lightning storm for example.)

    Trucks will find ways to distribute fresh water and the equivalent of “meals ready to eat”. Won’t be gourmet but will be sufficient. Most people except the old can get by without A/C or heat even in summer or winter. Won’t be comfortable but would be better than living outside.

    Power will come back up as it did in Puerto Rico, i.e. 5% per week.

    The only other issue is looting. Sufficient national guard on the street with a curfew and live ammunition would keep looters from “helping themselves”. That’s it. We are Americans and we would pull together in the disaster.

    We would get by. We would be forced to destroy North Korea. It would be costly but not an apocalypse for us, only for them. For North Korea, I would expect that their entire military would be killed and maybe half their population in the process as there would not be time to separate out the “innocent” civilians from the military. That is unfortunately war.

    I am more worried about an actual nuclear attack on multiple major population cities, not about EMP. 99.9% of us will survive EMP. 20 H-bombs on population centers will kill maybe 10% of our population. That is the fatality risk, not EMP.

    • Ewin Barnett

      Almost all autos sold since 2008 are run by several computers and certainly cannot function without the engine control computer. The computer network technology (CANbus) is a voltage (as opposed to current) bus structure and is vulnerable to induced voltage. I have seen EMP simulations that predict 20kv per meter. The nuclear EMP has such a fast rise time that it can pass through the large openings in the vehicle body such as the windshield. An everyday example of this is that cell phone signal levels are not noticeably attenuated when sitting in a vehicle with the doors shut.

      It is my opinion that some fraction of vehicles will be disabled from EMP. The only repair will be to replace the destroyed controller module. The critical ones commonly in a vehicle will be the engine, transmission, instrument cluster (key and security management) and maybe the ABS controllers.

      With the new emissions restrictions on heavy trucks, they are dependant upon multiple computers as well.

      In all these cases, the computer modules tend to be specific to the make/model/year. It will take a long time for the electronic components to be available in sufficient quantities to make replacement units, apart from the cost. There are very few spares and some of them would be zapped where the sit in the junk yard. If we are ever hit with a nuclear EMP attack, count on every urban interstate to instantly be blocked with dead vehicles. This will be true even if only 5% of vehicles are zapped.

    • Omega Z

      Cars as most transportation is susceptible as they are grounded throughout the body. The path into the electronics. The bigger the vehicle the more susceptible.

      ->(Trucks will find ways to distribute fresh water and the equivalent of “meals ready to eat”)

      From processing facilities that are powerless. Store shelves will be empty within 3 days or so. All the refineries that produce fuel will also be powerless. There are like 120 gigantic -I believe transformers or whatever that without them, the grid will not work. They have only 10 in inventory and produce only 4 per year. If they are fried your cooked.

      Nearly all power plants need grid power in order to power up. They draw way to much energy to be started by generators. This includes Hydro Dam generators. There are only a hand full of power plants in the U.S. small enough to be powered up by generators. All Nuclear plants have 3 weeks of diesel for generators to power cooling pumps.

      Water treatment plants can not produce potable water. How do you supply water to 320m people using well water with hand pumps. Tho hardening all infrastructure may be considered cost prohibitive, you’d think they would harden a portion of it in order to bring everything else back up.

      There will be no 1st responders as they themselves will be in dire straits. There are no plans for such a disaster other then to get the select few out of harms way.
      Most of the infrastructure, power and water treatment plants etc, are connected to the internet and prone to hacking and shut down. If these need to be connected to one another, it should be by a secondary network, however they worked long before the internet eisted.

      Water treatment plant manager asked why it needs to be internet connected answer. So that he can check it out from home if there’s a problem. He’s paid $100K a year to be there or go there if there’s a problem. Why isn’t he. These plants operated without being connected before.

      We’ve become a society of easy and convenient. Doing whats necessary is to much bother. Within a couple weeks you will have total anarchy and chaos. Actually, half the populous will reach that point within 3 days of losing their Smart phone service.

  • Jerry Soloman

    Experts Urge U.S. Military to “Develop and Deploy Enhanced-EMP Nuclear Weapons”

  • Bob Greenyer

    Conscience rising?

  • Alain Samoun

    It seems to me that a car can be used as a faraday cage,where sensitive electronic can be stored in case of an emp or solar evens happens?

    • Bob Greenyer

      Microwave oven is best, just don’t turn it on.

      • Omega Z

        I designed and built a car based on a microwave oven. The computer was hacked and turned me into human souffle. Guess I should have left out the magnetron tube. 🙁

        • Alain Samoun

          You don’t make souffle in microwave oven dingbag! 😉

          • Omega Z

            “Actually”, there are a slew of microwave souffle recipes.

            Notice I didn’t say whether they are “Actually” eatable.
            You can make about anything in a microwave. I have a great peanut brittle recipe. 10 minutes and done.

          • Bob Greenyer

            Hopefully we will have a recipe for transmutation later this week.

          • Eyedoc

            OK Z, don’t hold back on us , lets have it 😉

          • Omega Z

            No Way,

            It’s a trade secret… 🙂

        • Bob Greenyer

          Wow – you were able to cook a souffle in a microwave?

  • Bob Greenyer

    With reference to the “To the Stars…etc” initiative I linked to below and related to my consistent reference to Dr. Harold Puthoff this year, I have edited and published my June 9th Asti presentation.

    In this presentation, I
    – present approaches using isotopes that may prove the mechanism behind LENR
    – discuss Parkhomov data gained from MFMP analysis that relies on an isotope and that might support ‘Lugano Report’
    – publish the actual moment I received verification by a third party of element production determined by MFMP in Suhas Ralkars’ ECCO fuel preparation
    – put forward a possible LENR mechanism for consideration based on data derived from ECCO fuel and other researchers inside and outside the field.

    • georgehants

      Well Bob, slightly more interesting than Rossi mumbling about Sterling Engines after seven years of supposedly discovering an over-unity device that must be kept secret at all costs, no matter the negative effect of non-publication. (if genuine)
      Look forward to the Transmutation results later in the week.
      You guys are clearly crazy, as if you confirm Transmutation etc. you should only care about how much money you can stash in off-shore accounts and forget about how allowing thousands of other scientists Worldwide to use that information to help People, flora and fauna, may be a better alternative.
      Good luck.
      Drop into Penzance and I will buy you a large glass of red.
      Wonderful day

      • Bob Greenyer

        Thanks, For me the bit at the end was just amazing, perhaps people start to understand why I was so frustrated that we could not test ECCO.

  • PappyYokum

    North Korea launches a missile with an EMP warhead that explodes over the US and turns out the lights. Then what happens? US submarines and war planes stationed all around the world ends North Korea. If NK had such a weapon, which I sincerely doubt, Kim knows it would be suicide to use it in a first strike. The only possible scenario where such a launch would happen would be in retaliation for a US attack on NK. Let the impoverished hermit kingdom alone. It is not interested in suicide whether it be launching a first strike or handing over its arsenal knowing that would lead to a US attack as it did for Libya and Iraq once it had no viable defense against it.

    • Omega Z

      The U.S. never attacked in the 50 plus years that NK never had nukes. If Kim keeps up the nonsense, China is likely to become their nemesis. China plays by different rules then the U.S..