Experts are warning that the United States is vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack from adversaries such as China and North Korea, which could render the nation helpless and shut down basic components such as military communications, water delivery systems, food, and transport.
Speaking at a virtual forum hosted by the Universal Peace Federation on Tuesday, experts stressed that time is running out to invest in defending the country from such an attack and urged officials to take action.
While not deadly on its own, an EMP attack can ruin most electronics within a massive radius and could cripple the power grid, sending the country back into the 18th century and into a complete and long-lasting blackout. That could result in the eventual deaths of 90 percent of the U.S. population, experts from the congressional EMP Commission have warned.
Such a catastrophic scenario could be triggered by an EMP attack from China, which already harbors “super EMPs” that could create “massive, deep damage,” according to an analysis by the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, a congressional advisory board.
In August, China reportedly tested a new Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV) that could deploy an EMP, demonstrating its incredibly advanced space capability and leaving experts fearing it could destabilize the United States.
U.S. intelligence services were allegedly caught by surprise by the event in August and the HGV’s performance, The Financial Times reported.
“That poses a real threat of possibly being able to win a war with a single blow by means of an EMP attack,” Peter Vincent Pry, the executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security said on Tuesday. “Moreover … they don’t envision employing an EMP by itself. It would be used in conjunction with cyberattacks and physical sabotage, and non-nuclear EMP.”
“This is regarded by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran as potentially the most decisive military revolution in history,” Pry said. “By attacking the technological Achilles heel of a nation like the United States, you could bring us to our knees and not even have to do battle with the Marines or the Navy or the Air Force, and win a war in 24 hours with a single blow—a combined EMP cyberattack.”
Former President Donald Trump issued an executive order on March 26 2019 to harden America’s critical infrastructure against EMP attacks. A key part of the executive order was the section on implementation, titled, “Strengthening critical infrastructure to withstand the effects of EMPs” which instructed that concrete action be taken to harden America’s critical infrastructure.
However, since that executive order was issued, the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have done nothing very little in the way of protecting the national electric grid or other critical infrastructures of which 330 million Americans are dependent upon.