CSIA Foundation

By william matthews -- Once again, a congressional commission is warning that an electromagnetic pulse attack against the United States could wipe out the nation's electronics-dependent civilization. And again, hardly anyone is listening.

Only a handful of the 60 members of the House Armed Services Committee showed up for a hearing on the EMP threat July 10, and most didn't stick around for the whole two-hour session.

'It's obvious that there's not very much interest in it,' said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., who asked for the hearing. 'There are lots of seats vacant,' he lamented.

But Bartlett is a believer. He warns that an EMP attack could shut down the U.S. electric grid, destroy communications and disrupt electronically-controlled elements of society from financial services to running water.

If a nuclear weapon is detonated 200 miles over Iowa or Nebraska, the electromagnetic pulse would fry electronics from coast to coast, Bartlett said.

'You could only talk to the person who was next to you,' and only old-fashioned vehicles without electronic ignitions would work after the blast, he said. Ham radios with vacuum tubes would also survive.

After consuming their city's three-day supply of food, New Yorkers would begin to starve, Bartlett said. And over the course of a year, 80 percent or more of the rest of us might too.

The Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack is another believer. The congressionally appointed panel has been studying that subject since 2001, reported to Congress in 2004, and is preparing another report to be delivered in November.

Commissioner William Graham offered lawmakers both calamity and hope.

There is 'a high likelihood' than an EMP attack would damage the 'electrical power systems, electronics and information systems upon which American society depends.' The effect 'on critical infrastructures could be sufficient to qualify as catastrophic to the nation,' Graham said.

But disaster need not occur.

Large-scale, long-term disastrous consequences can be limited if the U.S. government and critical industries would spend three to five years and billions of dollars hardening power grids and electronic equipment to withstand large electromagnetic pulses, he said.

By itself, that's 'no magic bullet,' Graham said.

'A balance of prevention, planning, training, maintaining situational awareness, protection and preparations for recovery from an EMP attack' are needed, he said.

In a March report to lawmakers, the Congressional Research Service said, 'the threat of an EMP attack against the United States is hard to assess.' The CRS did not dispute claims about the catastrophic nature of an EMP attack.

Potential adversaries such as Russia and China are believed to have the capability to launch an EMP strike. Indeed, according to Bartlett, Russia has developed a 'super EMP' weapon.

Lesser military powers are also worrisome. Iran has developed missiles that can loft the nuclear weapon needed for an EMP attack. And terrorist organizations with nuclear ambitions are a growing worry.

Graham said the U.S. military's strategic forces have begun to take steps to thwart an EMP attack, but other parts of the U.S. Defense Department have done little.

Despite urging from the commission, the Department of Homeland Security has declined to add EMP attacks to the list of disaster scenarios for which it plans, Graham said.

The commission is also urging utility companies to take steps to protect the electric grid.

'A serious national commitment to address the threat of an EMP attack can lead to a national posture that would significantly reduce' the damage that an attack would cause, Graham said.

But as Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., noted, 'No one seems to be concerned about it.'


More on this subject:

Electromagnetic Pulse comes out of Sci-Fi into reality
Talk Radio News Service - Washington,DC,USA
The House Armed Services Committee met to discuss the threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack on the US Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo. ...
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Scientist to Congress: US risks 'catastrophe' in nuke EMP attack
WorldNetDaily - Grants Pass,OR,USA
William R. Graham, chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack and the former national ...
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Investor's Business Daily (subscription) - USA
... President Reagan's top science adviser and the chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), ...
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Scary stuff
By Joseph Gelfuso
Graham, President Reagan’s top science adviser and the chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, will update the committee Thursday morning. ...
Fighting the good fight - http://jfgelfuso.wordpress.com

Wall Street Journal Describes Same EMP Scenario Wohlstetter Warns ...
Discovery fellow John Wohlstetter opens his book, The Long War Ahead and the Short War Upon Us, with a catastrophy scenario in which the Iranians use EMPelectromagnetic pulse – technology against the United States. ...
Discovery Blog - http://www.discovery.org/blogs/discoveryblog/

EMP Risk Follow-Up: Blather O’Plenty, No Action
As we discussed yesterday, it’s been four years since Congress was fully briefed on our nation’s vulnerability to an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, and the debilitating impact it would have on our electro-dependent society. ...
Pass Over Site - http://www.passoversite.org

By Joel C. Rosenberg(Joel C. Rosenberg)
This would be especially troubling if Tehran is developing EMPelectromagnetic pulse – technology. A nuclear weapon detonated a hundred miles over US territory would create an electromagnetic pulse that would virtually shut down the ...
JOEL C. ROSENBERG - http://joelrosenberg.blogspot.com/

The Iran Threat is Real and Directed Toward the US
By Yid With Lid(Yid With Lid)
On Thursday, while these missile tests were under way, William Graham, President Reagan's top science adviser and the chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), established by ...
YID With LID - http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/

EP 1110-3-2 (31 December 1990)
Title: Engineering and Design - Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and Tempest Protection for Facilities Proponent: CEMP-ET Publication Date: 31 December 1990 ...


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