Report: U.S. civilians not ready for EMP attack on national power grid

Thursday, May 22, 2014
By Paul Martin

by: J. D. Heyes
May 22, 2014

Civilians around the world are not ready for the catastrophic effects of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) type of event that would cause widespread electrical blackouts, though such blackouts could be preventable, say experts.

One such expert, Peter Vincent Pry, the executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum — both of which are congressional advisory boards — says improving our technology to avoid an EMP disaster, as well as upgrading the United States’ electrical grid, is a financially viable endeavor. But it doesn’t seem to be one that lawmakers and policymakers are willing to take.

“The problem is not the technology,” Pry said. “We know how to protect against it. It’s not the money, it doesn’t cost that much. The problem is the politics. It always seems to be the politics that gets in the way.”

He said that, in fact, the more officials plan, the lower the estimated cost gets.

“If you do a smart plan — the Congressional EMP Commission estimated that you could protect the whole country for about $2 billion,” Pry told “That’s what we give away in foreign aid to Pakistan every year.”

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