The Real Threat Posed by EMPs

Pylons in the evening sun

The national security threat posed by an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is not the kind of thing you hear talked about often in Washington’s national security circles.  But it is a real threat according to experts, and one that the U.S. is woefully ill-prepared to tackle.

EMPs can render electronics over a large geographic area, useless.  They can occur naturally, or via targeted attacks. According to NASA, harsh weather in space can lead to damaged satellites and electrical blackouts, and in worse cases, changing magnetic fields that surround the Earth can lead to surges in power grids.

But EMP experts warn that adversaries could launch directed EMP attacks and cause wide-spread electrical outages; hospitals, traffic lights, gas stations, grocery stores, cell phone towers, all would be affected.

President Trump signed an Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Threats this past March that places the White House in charge of implementing actions to manage the risks of EMPs. 

So, what’s the real national security risk posed by EMPs and why should the U.S. government be paying more attention?

This is Cipher Brief Level I Member Only content. It can be accessed via login or by signing up to become a Cipher Brief Member.  Joining this high-level, security-focused community is only $10/month (for an annual $120/yr membership). What a great and inexpensive way to Feed Your Need to Know….