An alarming issue that sounds like science fiction has been falling on deaf ears, but it’s being talked about more often by more experts.
U.S. senators and industry experts met this week in a committee hearing to assess the security of America’s infrastructure, especially the nation’s electrical grid.
The purpose behind the meeting is a so-called EMP attack, which experts warn could send the nation to the 18th century if it succeeded.
As explained by The Heritage Foundation, an EMP is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles. That rapid acceleration would fry everything from electronics in automobiles to mobile phones, and electrical power plants would be rendered useless.
Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy has warned about an EMP attack for years and continues to urge government and military officials to act.
“The only thing that has surprised me, is how long it has taken the government, and most especially the electric utilities, to start acknowledging the gravity of this problem.”
The best-selling novel “Blackout USA” imagined an EMP attack from nuclear-tipped missiles, supplied by North Korea and Iran and fired from container ships in the Gulf of Mexico.
While that fictional account imagines horrific loss of life, similar warnings have come from the congressional EMP Commission. It warned a nationwide blackout would kill 90 percent of Americans within a year from starvation, disease, and societal breakdown.
The Wall Street Journal, which cited that study, also noted that North Korea launched a satellite in 2012 that could deliver a nuclear warhead over the U.S.
A second North Korean satellite passed over Levi’s Stadium hours after the Super Bowl in January, NORAD confirmed.
EMP experts have warned that Russia and China, along with North Korea and Iran, have been building weapons capable of an EMP attack.
The good news, according to Gaffney, is that we can act on the acknowledged problem before it happens.
“We’re all are on notice,” he says, “that this problem is real, whether it’s an electromagnetic pulse form of it, or whether it’s physical attacks like one that happened on a major substation out in San Jose, California about three years ago, or whether it’s cyber attack, which is taking place with great regularity unfortunately.”
The hearing this week was held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Security Affairs.