An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) poses a devastating threat that is not science fiction but a real danger to our security that exists in the here and now.
In the August issue of Townhall Magazine, Peter Brookes examines the EMP threat, how it works and what we can do to prepare. Below is an excerpt from his piece, "Electromagnetic Pulse Threat."
Just imagine that one bright, sunny day everything electrical just stopped working. The lights go out in your home or office. There is no cell phone or Internet service and, tragedy of tragedies, the coffee maker won't work.
All the modern electrical conveniences we take for granted on a day-to-day basis in the 21st century go kaput -- without an obvious explanation. And as a result, modern life as we know it comes to a virtual standstill.
Sure, it could be a power outage. That happens when the weather is bad, which it's not on this particular day. The power company could be working on the lines, but they aren’t. And even if they were, that might not account for your cell phone outage or the fact your car -- and the others on the road -- all died at once.
You were not aware of it, but American military, intelligence and homeland security forces had been tracking a foreign merchant vessel, operating off the East Coast of the United States. In fact, just before everything went dark, the ship opened the large cargo doors on its deck and launched a ballistic missile into the sky in the direction of the American shoreline.
Aware of the launch from high-tech, spy-in-the-sky satellites, but unable to take out the missile due the lack of a comprehensive missile defense system, the U.S. military attempts to conduct a counter-strike on the freighter before it launches another missile.
That is until the missile’s warhead explodes high in the atmosphere over the central United States, releasing an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) -- and destroying unprotected electrical and computer capacity within its effective radius.
As a result, the country's three main -- and interconnected -- electrical grids are rendered useless due to the EMP, possibly leaving the entire country without service within seconds, according to experts.
Moreover, in the blink of an eye, U.S. military forces within line-of-sight of the EMP -- up until this moment the world's most potent, computerized, and capable force -- is now practically out of business.
And that's not all.
With electrical circuits fried, hospital equipment stops; nuclear power plants are in jeopardy; and there are no emergency services to respond to your calls for help. In fact, you can’t even call for help -- 911 is gone.
It gets worse.
Depending on the size and number of EMP bursts over America, this is only the beginning of our woes. With the destruction of America’s electrical and computer systems, there will be severe water, food and medicine shortages, some experts believe.
One estimate suggests a major EMP attack would push American society back 100 years technologically and could lead to the death of a large portion of the population in a relatively short period due to an evolving inability to deal with such things as the spread of illness, among other problems. Indeed, a U.S. government-sponsored study by the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack (a.k.a. the EMP Commission) concluded that within just one year of such an attack 70 to 90 percent of Americans could be dead from starvation or disease.
While this sounds like something out of "The Twilight Zone," it's not. The possibility is real -- and the threat of EMP is here and now.
Read the entire piece in the August issue of Townhall magazine.