Existential Threat That Could Send America Back Nearly 150 Years

Existential Threat That Could Send America Back Nearly 150 Years  Special to ANP by Dr. William R. Graham, R. James Woolsey & Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

Where Barack Obama Failed, President Trump Is Making Sure This Existential Threat That Could Send America Back Nearly 150 Years In Time Is Quickly Being Dealt With –

– But Obama holdovers will do everything in their power to derail President Trump’s plans 


A threat that could literally mean the end of civilization is finally getting the attention it needs under President Trump.

Washington and the press call almost everything an “existential threat” these days. But the threat from a natural or man-made electromagnetic pulse (EMP) really is one, as our congressional commission reported in 2017:

The critical national infrastructure in the United States faces a present and continuing existential threat from combined-arms warfare, including cyber and manmade electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, as well as EMP from a solar superstorm. During the Cold War, the U.S. was primarily concerned about an EMP attack generated by a high-altitude nuclear weapon as a tactic by which the Soviet Union could suppress the U.S. national command authority and the ability to respond to a nuclear attack — and thus negate the deterrence value of assured nuclear retaliation. Within the last decade, newly-armed adversaries, including North Korea, have been developing the ability and threatening to carry out an EMP attack against the United States.

The bottom line:

Such an attack would give countries that have only a small number of nuclear weapons the ability to cause widespread, long-lasting damage to critical national infrastructures, to the United States itself as a viable country, and to the survival of a majority of its population.

The EMP Commission warns that potential adversaries are developing a revolutionary new way of warfare combining cyber-attacks, sabotage, and nuclear EMP attack against national electric grids and other critical infrastructures to achieve quick and decisive victory:

Combined-Arms Cyber Warfare, as planned by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, may use combinations of cyber-, sabotage-, and ultimately nuclear EMP-attack to impair the United States quickly and decisively by blacking-out large portions of its electric grid and other critical infrastructures. Foreign adversaries may also consider nuclear EMP attack as the ultimate cyber “denial of service” weapon, one which can gravely damage the U.S. by striking at its technological Achilles’ heel, without having to engage the U.S. military. . . .

The synergism of such combined-arms is described in the military doctrines of all these potential adversaries as the greatest Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) in history — one which anticipates rendering obsolete many, if not all, traditional instruments of military power.


Alarmingly, in the military doctrines of potential adversaries, nuclear EMP attack is considered a dimension of cyber warfare, because EMP is not directly injurious to people, only to electronics. High-altitude EMP attack entails exo-atmospheric detonation (30 to 500 kilometers high), so none of the blast, fire, radiation, radioactive fallout, or other effects associated with a nuclear attack on a city would occur — only the EMP.

Yet EMP, like a super-energetic radio wave that can destroy all kinds of electronics across a region as vast as North America with a single weapon, could in the long run kill far more Americans through its indirect effects than nuclear bombing of a city. Fatalities estimated from a protracted nationwide blackout lasting one year range from 67 to 90 percent of the U.S. population, due to starvation, disease, and societal collapse.

The EMP Commission tried, but could not figure out a way to keep 328 million Americans alive for a year without food and water. In 1880, just before the invention of the first electric grid in 1882, and long before the advent of our high-tech electronic civilization, the U.S. population was about 50 million, sustained by horse-drawn, coal-fired, and mechanical critical infrastructures that no longer exist.

Nuclear deterrence may not prevent an EMP attack, which can be executed anonymously using a balloon or a private jet or by doing a zoom-climb, with a short-range missile launched off a freighter (as practiced by Iran), or by satellite (as practiced by North Korea). Retaliatory threats are credible only if you know who attacked.

EMP also blinds, at the speed of light, satellites, radars, and other National Technical Means used for threat assessment and identifying attackers. Super-EMP weapons now possessed by Russia, China, and probably North Korea could generate 100,000 volts/meter or more, greatly exceeding the U.S. military hardening standard (50,000 volts/meter) and potentially paralyzing U.S. nuclear and conventional retaliatory capabilities.

For more on the military dimensions of the EMP threat, see the EMP Commission Report “Nuclear EMP Attack Scenarios and Combined-Arms Cyber Warfare” (July 2017). All the unclassified EMP Commission reports are available at www.firstempcommission.org.

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Stefan Stanford

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