JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With the help of Rep. Dean Dohrman, the Kansas City-based American Leadership and Policy Foundation (ALPF) conducted a study to evaluate the dangers of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on America’s electrical grid.
Their study was submitted to Congress and informed the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack, a department of the Subcommittee of Oversight and Management Efficiency, which is under the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security.
“It was an honor to have played a role in the tremendous research ALPF developed on the dangers of an EMP strike,” Dohrman said. “I am glad to hear the Commission utilized our research to help inform elected officials in Washington about the threats posed to our national security.”
Dohrnman, a senior fellow of the ALPF, helped Founder and Chairman of the ALPF David Stuckenberg and other team members to find the readiness of nuclear reactors to repower the electric grid, should it be shut down from an emp attack. The study found that the country would face “immediate and serious problems what would develop within a week of such a catastrophe, and the nation is ill-prepared to counter the life-threatening consequences associated with such a cataclysmic event.”
According to Dennis Santiago, a former national security analyst with Rockwell International, if a nuclear bomb was detonated at a high altitude, it would produce gamma rays and create high-frequency electromagnetic pulses that would destroy electrical devices. Additionally, the pulse would burn out high voltage transformers which keep the electric together and would take longer than two years to replace.
“The EMP threat has been downplayed for years, but it is a serious threat because we cannot function without electricity. Certain measures, such as hardening our electrical grid, can be accomplished in a relatively short time, and at low cost,” Dohrman warned. “Other measures take longer at a higher cost, but considering the potential downside, it would be better for us to act now than to suffer the full effects of an adverse event later.”
National security experts have been split over the immediacy of the threat. Former United Nations missile inspector told CNBC that North Korea lacks the technological capabilities for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), tipped with a nuclear warhead to be able to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere. Physicist David Wright argued that it was theoretically possible if the North Koreans reduced the missile’s weight.
Chief of Staff of the congressional EMP commission Peter Vincent Pry believed that a nuclear weapon could be concealed in a satellite, which could be detonated remotely, and trigger an emp attack.
“The U.S. can sustain a population of 320 million people only because of modern technology,” Pry told Newsweek. “An EMP that blacks out the electric grid for a year would [decimate] the critical infrastructure necessary to support such a large population.”
Michael Layer is a reporter for the Missouri Times and the Missouri Times Magazine. He joined the Missouri Times in August 2017 after graduating from Goucher College the previous May. To contact Michael, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @_MichaelLayer