Report warns Obama about ‘new’ Dark Ages
‘Airplanes would fall from
sky, cars would stop, networks fail’
6:09 pm Eastern
By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily
Two national-security experts have issued a report through the Heritage
that warns Obama administration officials to start working now
to prevent – and mitigate the damage from – an electromagnetic pulse attack on
the United States because of the potential for “unimaginable
“Not even a global humanitarian effort would be enough to keep hundreds
of millions of Americans from death by starvation, exposure, or lack of
medicine. Nor would the catastrophe stop at U.S.
borders. Most of Canada
would be devastated, too, as its infrastructure is integrated with the U.S.
power grid. Much of the world’s intellectual brain power (half of it is in the United
States) would be lost as well. Earth would
most likely recede into the ‘new’ Dark Ages,” states the report by James
J. Carafano, the deputy director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis
Institute for International Studies and director of the Douglas and Sarah
Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, and Richard Weitz, senior fellow and
director of the Center for Politial-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute.
The report, which is described by the Heritage
as a “backgrounder,” is titled “EMP Attacks –
What the U.S. Must Do Now” and was released just days ago, says what is
needed right now is for the government to “prevent the threat,” by
pursuing “an aggressive protect-and-defend strategy, including
comprehensive missile defense; modernizing the U.S. nuclear deterrent; and
adopting proactive nonproliferation and counterproliferation measures.”
Further, measures are needed to add to the “resilience” of the
electrical grid and telecommunications systems, including duplicating some
essential functions, and “robust” pre-disaster planning should be
going on now for “federal, state, local private-sector, non-government
organizations and international support,” the report said.
Especially, the nation needs to work to “protect the capacity to
communicate,” the report explains.
“An EMP strike can easily obliterate America’s
electrical, telecommunications, transportation, financial, food,and water
infrastructures, rendering the United States
helpless to coordinate actions and deliver services essential for daily
life,” says the report.
“In the words of Arizona Sen. John Kyl, EMP ‘is one of only a few ways
that the United States
could be defeated by its enemies.’ The time to prepare is now!”
An EMP catastrophe, which scientists have warned also
could come through a naturally occurring Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun,
largely is feared to come from an act of war from an enemy. If there is a
nuclear explosion high in the atmosphere over North America
the resulting electromagnetic discharge can “permanently disable the
electrical systems that run nearly all civilian and military
infrastructures,” the report said.
“A massive EMP attack on the United
States would produce almost unimaginable
devastation. Communications would collapse, transportation would halt, and
electrical power would simply be non-existent,” the report warns.
“All past calamities of the modern era would pale in comparison to the
catastrophe caused by a successful high-altitude EMP strike,” the report
said. “The effects of EMP will immediately disable a portion of the 130
million cars and some 90 million trucks. Since millions of vehicles are on the
road at any given time, there will be accidents and congestion that will impede
movement…. The U.S.
rail network depends directly on electricity. … America’s
aviation industry will be destroyed…. The U.S.
food infrastructure depends heavily on the transportation sector,” it
William R. Graham, chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the
United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack and the former national science
adviser to President Reagan, previously testified before Congress and issued an
on “one of a small number of threats that can hold our
society at risk of catastrophic consequences.”
He identified vulnerabilities in the nation’s critical infrastructures that
“are essential to both our civilian and military capabilities.”
Not taking the steps necessary to reduce the threat “can both invite
and reward attack,” Graham told the members of Congress at the time.
He described that the attack would come like a swift stroke of lightning,
and would immediately disrupt and damage all electronic systems and America’s
A detonation over the middle of the continental U.S.
“has the capability to produce significant damage to critical
infrastructures that support the fabric of U.S.
society and the ability of the United States
and Western nations to project influence and military power,” said Graham.
“Several potential adversaries have the capability to attack the United
States with a high-altitude
nuclear-weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse, and others appear to be
pursuing efforts to obtain that capability,” said Graham.
“A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without
having a high level of sophistication. For example, an adversary would not have
to have long-range ballistic missiles to conduct an EMP attack against the United
States. Such an attack could be launched
from a freighter off the U.S.
coast using a short- or medium-range missile to loft a nuclear warhead to high
altitude. Terrorists sponsored by a rogue state could attempt to execute such
an attack without revealing the identity of the perpetrators. Iran,
the world’s leading sponsor of international terrorism, has practiced launching
a mobile ballistic missile from a vessel in the Caspian Sea.
Iran has also
tested high-altitude explosions of the Shahab-III, a test mode consistent with
EMP attack, and described the tests as successful. Iranian military writings
explicitly discuss a nuclear EMP attack that would gravely harm the United
States. While the commission does not know
the intention of Iran
in conducting these activities, we are disturbed by the capability that emerges
when we connect the dots.”
The new Heritage Foundation report echoed those concerns.
“Even with farsighted mitigation measures there is little question that
a nationwide EMP attack would be crippling,” it warned. “Thus, while
pursuing mitigation, the U.S.
should take all possible measures to protect and defend the nation against a
ballistic-missile attack that could be used to deliver an EMP strike, as well
as pursue aggressive counter-proliferation measures against rogue states
developing nuclear weapons.”
The report warns such an attack would turn science fiction into reality.
“Airplanes would literally fall from the sky, cars and trucks would
stop working, and water, sewer, and electrical networks would fail. Food would
rot, medical services would collapse, and transportation would become almost
nonexistent,” it explains.
The report warned that one criticality is to develop domestic sources for
replacement equipment for the electric equipment, transformers and substations
that would be damaged.
“The equipment used in the transmission grid is costly, specially
produced, and has to be ordered from overseas … Those with the expertise to
replace transformers and capacitors are likely to be overwhelmed…”
What would happen already has been documented, the report noted, in the 1977
New York City blackout, although on
a much smaller scale.
“Two lightning strikes caused overloading in the electrical power
substations of the Con Edison power company. These lighting strikes, the
equivalent of a minuscule fraction of [EMP], caused the Indian Point power
plant north of the city to fail, as well as the subsequent failure of the Long
Island interconnection. … Failure of the Linden-Goethals
230,000-volt interconnection with New Jersey
resulted in the protective devices removing overloaded lines, transformers, and
cables from service. As a result, a power failure spread throughout the New
York area. This blackout lasted only one day, yet
resulted in widespread looting and the breakdown of the rule of law throughout
many New York neighborhoods. The
estimated cost of the blackout was approximately $246 million, and nearly 3,000
people were arrested through the 26-hour period,” the report said.
“The blackout in New York City
resulted in an immediate breakdown of the social order. The police were
outmatched and had no chance of stopping such massive theft, largely having no
choice but to stand by watching the looters from a distance. In North
Brooklyn, a community of more than a million residents, only 189
police officers were on duty….”
In 2003, a
blackout in Ohio, New
York, Maryland, Pennsylvania,
Michigan and Canada
saw “massive traffic jams and gridlock when people tried to get home
without traffic lights. … Railways, airlines, gas stations, and oil refineries
halted operations. Telephone lines were overwhelmed due to the high volume of
calls. Overall, the blackout’s economic impact was between $7 billion and $10
billion due to food spoilage, lost production, overtime wages…”
A true EMP attack, the report said, “could prove even more
Further, major disruptions will happen in communications, financial and
other computer-dependent parts of society.
said the world this past summer dodged a bullet – in the form of a massive
The results of that naturally occurring even could be very similar to a
nuclear-caused EMP attack, he said.
“The last ‘great’ geomagnetic storm was in 1859, called the Carrington
event. Modern civilization, so dependent upon electronic systems, has not yet
experienced a ‘great’ geomagnetic storm. Many scientists think we are
overdue,” he wrote. “Some scientists believe that, as we approach the
solar maximum over the next two years, since the solar maximum brings increased
solar flare activity, the possibility of a “great” geomagnetic storm
will also increase.”