NEW YORK, Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- It's hard to imagine that a nation with one of the most advanced militaries in the world could be brought to its knees by North Korea or Iran. Certainly in a conventional or nuclear war, the United States would soundly defeat such an enemy. There is, however, a well-known vulnerability that could be exploited as a part of an asymmetric attack—the electromagnetic pulse (EMP).
According to Dr. Arthur Bradley, a NASA engineer and the author of Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms, an EMP is a broadband electromagnetic wave of energy resulting from a nuclear detonation in the atmosphere. "The attack could be carried out by something as inconspicuous as a fishing trawler operating in the Gulf of Mexico. All that's needed is a nuclear warhead and a delivery system capable of getting the payload to at altitude of at least 25 miles."
The resultant high-energy wave could damage the nation's electrical grid, telecommunications systems, food and water production plants, government satellites, as well as nearly every computer, cell phone, and television for hundreds of miles in every direction. The government's EMP Commission estimates that a nuclear-generated EMP over the eastern seaboard would cause a trillion dollars in damage. An attack of that magnitude would cripple the United States financially and introduce widespread hardship for tens of millions of people.
Imagine a nation without electrical power. Lights, telephones, and computers would all stop working. Food production and water purification plants would go offline. Grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations would close their doors. Banks and ATMs would become inaccessible. Hospitals and emergency services would struggle to meet demand as they operated on backup generators. Millions of automobiles would also be damaged, leaving roadways clogged with abandoned vehicles. According to Dr. Bradley, "It would be apocalyptic in every sense of the word."
So what can be done? The widespread consensus is that our government has already taken steps to harden many critical military systems, details of which are understandably classified. The electrical grid and telecommunication systems, however, remain extremely susceptible to an EMP. "The government needs to work with industry to ensure the survivability of our critical infrastructures," says Dr. Bradley. "By not doing so, they are endangering the security of the entire nation."
He also emphasizes the need for individuals to take steps to protect themselves against this threat. He says, "Preparedness of any type begins by assessing the impact of the threat. In this case, the impact is the loss of every national infrastructure. That implies the need for a preparedness plan that addresses all of a family's basic needs, including food, water, heating, medicines, hygiene, etc."
How to put together a plan? Dr. Bradley's Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family provides actionable steps to help families put together a disaster plan that prepares them for an assortment of emergencies, including the threat of an EMP. For specific recommendations on protecting electronics from the threat of an EMP, such as building an inexpensive Faraday cage, he recommends that readers consult his book, Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms.
About the Author:
Dr. Arthur Bradley is a NASA engineer and the bestselling author of the Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family, the Prepper's Instruction Manual, Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms, and the post-apocalyptic series, The Survivalist. Visit him online for free disaster preparedness information at http://disasterpreparer.com.
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SOURCE Arthur Bradley