The Real Threat of an “EMP”

While an EMP, or electromagnetic pulse, might not seem like a big deal, the damage that they could potentially cause might change the minds of those doubting its severity. Not only will an EMP knock out electricity, but it can also severely damage or even destroy electrical components and transmission systems. This, in essence, would cripple any city or country suffering from its effects, making most electrical devices fail, including cars, planes, and parts of critical infrastructure, according to an article by www.heritage.org.

EMPs are most commonly connected to nuclear attacks, with an EMP burst being just part of an overall nuclear attack. Another culprit, not as common, are solar flares, with a big enough flare threatening to change life as we know it. In the U.S., huge swaths of the country would be without basic services for years, and the country as a whole could take decades to fully recover.

The worst part is that many governmental agencies do not take the threat of an EMP seriously. Just like no one thought someone would fly planes into the side of a skyscraper or that no storm would be powerful enough to shut down the city of New York, why wait until an EMP event takes place to figure out what to do? So, what can governmental and local agencies do to counteract or lessen the damage an EMP can do?

The first thing state and federal government authorities should undertake includes research into lessening the impact of an EMP. Agencies need to determine what could potentially cause an EMP and how it would affect any electronics or electronic systems. Then they need to decide how to lessen or remove the affect entirely.

Another action includes improving the missile defense system already in place. Furthermore, another option is the development of space-borne platforms to protect the U.S. and its allies from any ballistic missile attacks.

Through the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security, officials could develop a National Recovery Plan, as well as a National Planning Scenario, for EMP. This includes forming committees to advise on the best course of action if an EMP hits, whether from an attack or a solar flare.

Finally, agencies must protect any critical cyber infrastructure. This is due to the cyber infrastructure’s close reliance on electrical power and includes ways to shield circuit boards of any critical networks crucial to the survival of our nation as a whole.


For more information about the real possibility of EMP attacks and disasters, visit: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/08/emp-awareness-day-the-first-step-to-averting-disaster