Before the Lights Go Out: A Survey of EMP Preparedness Reveals Significant Shortfalls
By James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.
Abstract: An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) over the United States could end modern life in America overnight. Whether caused by an enemy attack (a nuclear device detonated above the atmosphere) or by a natural phenomenon (a geomagnetic storm), an EMP can cause entire regions of the country to lose electricity—permanently. Despite the EMP Commission’s recommendations in 2004 and 2008, hardly any progress has been made in protecting the country from an EMP attack and its catastrophic results. The U.S. must prepare to deal with an EMP—now.
While the ability of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to inflict catastrophic damage on U.S. infrastructure has been a known fact for decades, insufficient efforts have been taken to mitigate the threat. A survey of congressional, federal, state, local, and international measures to deal with the threat reveals more complacency than action.
In order to prevent the catastrophic destruction that could result from either a nuclear missile detonated at high altitudes or intense solar eruptions that send blasts of radiation towards the Earth, initiatives are needed at all levels—from bilateral partnerships that focus on shared infrastructure to national leadership to state and local action.