Tuesday, September 29, 2009

EMP Threat to Homeland Security

Additional voices are warning that an electromagnetic pulse attack could destroy America's power grid:
The federal government is doing “nothing” to protect against an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that could wipe out American civilization, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, a leading expert on the subject, tells Newsmax.
For only $200 million to $400 million, the government could protect a key element of the power grid to keep electrical power from being wiped out for years, according to Dr. Pry, a former staff member of the congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack. Yet neither Republicans nor Democrats have been willing to spend that small sum, says Pry, who is president [of] EMPACT America...
A single nuclear bomb exploded over the Midwest would generate an electromagnetic pulse that would destroy the chips that are at the heart of every electronic device. While military and intelligence networks may be shielded against EMP, most of the rest of the country’s technological infrastructure is not...
To be most effective, an EMP device would be detonated by a missile 200 miles above earth. A strong missile defense would knock missiles out of the sky before they reach the U.S. But going back to President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative — dubbed Star Wars — Democrats have consistently ridiculed the idea of an anti-missile defense.
According to EMPACT America, "An Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) is a sudden, massive broad-band wave of electro-magnetic energy that strikes large regions of the earth. It can originate from the sun in the form of solar events or as a result of a detonated nuclear device. In either case, an EMP attack can severely damage electronic devices resulting in the disabling of computers, the electric grid, telephones, water supply and transportation systems of an entire continent."

Update: A follow-up Newsmax report:
The nation’s military is largely unprotected in the event an enemy launches a nuclear bomb that would fry microchips and the power grid with an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., tells Newsmax.
Since the early 1990s, “Essentially all our new weapon systems have been built with a waiver for EMP hardening,” says Bartlett, a scientist and inventor who is the ranking member of the House Armed Services’ Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces.
“If an enemy used an EMP enhanced weapon — and Russian generals told our EMP commission that they had developed weapons which emit 200 kilovolts per meter weapon — I’ve been assured by experts in the area that everything would be down,” says Bartlett, who has been the leading member of Congress fighting to recognize EMP as a threat.

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