By Dominic Oto
A North Korean EMP is America’s worst nightmare. The scenario is like the “Walking the Dead”: The United States jumps into darkness after an EMP attack. The U.S. electrical grid is wiped out— not just for a few hours or days, but months. The vulnerable power system could take 18 months to recover, so long that millions of Americans would die.
This past week the North Korean again threaten the use of tactical nuclear weapons to defeat the U.S. The sad truth is an EMP strike from a North Korean nuclear weapon could fry melt the U.S. electric grid. Here is how and why.
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What is an electromagnetic pulse (EMP)?
An EMP is a burst of high-intensity radio waves emitted from nuclear explosions in the upper atmosphere that scrambles electronics. Most nuclear warheads are a multi-functional weapon capable of being detonated a high altitude. This will cause a super-powerful EMP attack.
A thermonuclear bomb could wipe most of a city. The pulse from a high altitude blast could cause chaos and destruction far beyond the city.
Think of it this way. A sudden power surge can overload a power outlet. An EMP is far, far worse. A nuclear blast detonated high in the atmosphere could knock out the power grid across a huge part of the continental U.S.
The higher the bomb is detonated, the wider the EMP’s range and the effects of a bomb. A bomb exploded 19 miles above the country would affect all of Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. The explosion would affect substantial chunks of surrounding states. A powerful bomb detonated at an altitude 249 miles above the country would wipe all electronics in the U.S. That’s the height of the International Space Station and other low Earth orbit satellites.
What would an EMP attack on America look like?
If a war broke out with North Korea the results from a thermonuclear blast would be catastrophic. The use of nuclear weapons by both the U.S. and North Korea would escalate into Armageddon.
If America were attacked at a high altitude by a nuclear weapon, it could shut down the U.S. infrastructure. An EMP attack would be debilitating to our way of life. There would be a shortage of food and water for the whole country. Millions of Americans would die.
How are American leaders planning for an EMP attack?
The American electrical system is vulnerable. American electrical grid system is outdated. America is 100% dependent on electricity. An EMP attack is a potentially hazardous dismantling force that would cripple America. This worries military planners.
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is working to find a way to protect and shield the U.S. against such a strike. U.S. military planners are concerned with protecting the interconnected network that delivers electricity from an EMP attack.
The effects of EMPs made by tactical nuclear weapons would force Americans to face the greatest catastrophe that the U.S has ever seen. The U.S. military planners at Cheyenne Mountain, the Cold War bunker, are looking for a way to protect and reinforce the electrical grid.
NORAD is trying to stop the electric grid from having the catastrophe of possible nuclear EMP attacks. They are also looking at protecting the electrical grid from a natural disaster.
How would an EMP attack happen?
An EMP attack is one of the most important and dangerous threats to the U.S. This would leave hospitals without power. Civilian and government agencies would be unable to coordinate. The very fabric of society could unravel very fast.
James Woolsey, the former Chief of the CIA, told a newspaper that if you look at the electric grid and what it’s susceptible to. Within hours of an EMP blast, we would be moving into a new world with no food delivery, no water purification, no banking, no telecommunications, and no medicine. All the things we depend on in our modern society.
North Korea has demonstrated its ability to reach this altitude with two satellites launches in 2012 and 2016. Experts think these launches were tests of an EMP trajectory.
An EMP attack has catastrophic consequences for the U.S. Our vulnerability is increasing daily. Our use and dependence on electronics and automated systems continue to grow.
Nazarian, A. (2017, September 7). North Korea Openly Threatens Electromagnetic Pulse Attack for First Time. Breitbart News.
Nikolewski, R. (2017, March 13). North Korea amps up worries about a potential threat to the U.S. power grid. San Diego Tribune.
Oto holds a BS in History from Oregon State University and a MMA in Military History from American Public University. He served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Company Commander and Staff Trainer to the Afghan National Army. He was wounded once and decorated three times. Oto is an Infantry Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve. Oto is also the author of “The Message and Ministry of Billy Graham: A Biography of America’s Preacher”.