Parts of the United States would be starved of electricity, water, food, internet service and transportation for a year or longer by the smallest electromagnetic pulse attack on the electric grid, according to a newly declassified report from a federal commission.
The so-called EMP Commission report said that the threat is real, jeopardizes “modern civilization,” and would set back living conditions to those last seen in the 1800s.
And as a result of the chaos, millions would likely die, according to the report titled “Assessing the Threat from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP),” from the recently re-established Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack.
“A long-term outage owing to EMP could disable most critical supply chains, leaving the U.S. population living in conditions similar to centuries past, prior to the advent of electric power,” said the July 2017 report provided Secrets.
“In the 1800s, the U.S. population was less than 60 million, and those people had many skills and assets necessary for survival without today’s infrastructure. An extended blackout today could result in the death of a large fraction of the American people through the effects of societal collapse, disease, and starvation. While national planning and preparation for such events could help mitigate the damage, few such actions are currently underway or even being contemplated,” added the executive summary.
Three reports on the issue have been declassified by the Pentagon and seven more are awaiting clearance.
The warnings in the report somewhat echo those made a similar commission a decade ago. But this time the feared attacks aren’t just from a solar event but a potential atmospheric nuclear blast or cyber hit launched by North Korea, China or Russia.
What’s more, the report warns that despite President Trump’s focus on the issue and demand for action, federal agencies are fighting over the issue and the Defense Department, which is factoring in EMP protection into its plans, isn’t sharing critical information to help civilian agencies and private firms make similar protections.
Also declassified was a report from Peter Vincent Pry, who served on a prior EMP Commission and is executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, spelling out the human toll of an EMP attack on the electric grid. He also advises the current commission.
In “Life Without Electricity,” he said the results would be:
- Social Order: Looting requires dusk to dawn curfew. People become refugees as they flee powerless homes. Work force becomes differently employed at scavenging for basics, including water, food, and shelter.
- Communications: No TV, radio, or phone service.
- Transportation: Gas pumps inoperable. Failure of signal lights and street lights impedes traffic, stops traffic after dark. No mass transit metro service. Airlines stopped.
- Water and Food: No running water. Stoves and refrigerators inoperable. People melt snow, boil water, and cook over open fires. Local food supplies exhausted. Most stores close due to blackout.
- Energy: Oil and natural gas flows stop.
- Emergency Medical: Hospitals operate in dark. Patients on dialysis and other life support threatened. Medications administered and babies born by flashlight.
- Death and Injury: Casualties from exposure, carbon dioxide poisoning and house fires increase.
“President Trump’s withdrawal from the bogus Iran nuclear deal, and his determination to denuclearize North Korea, are all the more important because even a single nuclear weapon possessed by these rogue states would pose an existential threat to North America by EMP attack,” Pry told Secrets.
He also praised Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s focus on the issue in his role as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Reform Committee, but slammed “Obama-holdovers and Deep State bureaucrats” for ignoring the report.
The report warned that the type of conditions spelled out by Pry could last a long time due to the difficulties fixing the electric grid, which many have testified would be fairly cheap to harden against an attack.
“The United States — and modern civilization more generally — faces a present and continuing existential threat from naturally occurring and man-made electromagnetic pulse assault and related attacks on military and critical national infrastructures. A nationwide blackout of the electric power grid and grid-dependent critical infrastructures — communications, transportation, sanitation, food and water supply — could plausibly last a year or longer. Many of the systems designed to provide renewable, stand-alone power in case of an emergency, such as generators, uninterruptible power supplies, and renewable energy grid components, are also vulnerable to EMP attack,” said the 27-page report.
It called for a new wave of cooperation among government agencies to set protection standards, an EMP czar, and called for testing current systems against a simulated EMP attack.
“With the development of small nuclear arsenals and long-range missiles by new, radical U.S. adversaries, the threat of a nuclear EMP attack against the U.S. becomes one of the few ways that such a country could inflict devastating damage to the United States,” concluded the report. It added, “It is critical, therefore, that the U.S. national leadership address the EMP threat as a critical and existential issue, and give a high priority to assuring the leadership is engaged and the necessary steps are taken to protect the country from EMP.”