2016-01-26 / Opinion

Disaster Coming II: An EMP Event


In an earlier column, I wrote of a phenomenon with which few people are familiar. The Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is an atmospheric event that can occur naturally from super sunspot storms or man caused by a nuclear detonation. The disaster aspect does not come from huge loss of life as a result of the event, but the complete loss of the electrical grid and thus all ability to feed the population, provide running water, communicate, move about, defend the country, stay warm or cool and on and on. A naturally occurring EMP was documented in 1859 and was named the Carrington Event. A similar event today would devastate our ability to even continue as a civilization.

What is the purpose of writing a second column on the same subject? We as a people must have an increasing awareness of this threat and apply pressure to our government (state and federal) to address it. The complete destruction of our electrical grid by an EMP is technologically preventable and in the context of total government spending is not all that expensive. Government must simply attach a high priority and exhibit the will to do it.

However, the potential of an EMP event is ever increasing. For decades the defense against nuclear attack as been something called “mutually assured destruction” or MAD. In simplest terms this means “do not try to annihilate us because we can annihilate you.” For the United States, Russia, and even China this philosophy has merit. With the advent of rogue nations (North Korea/Iran) or terrorist organizations ( Al Qaeda/ISIS), MAD simply does not make a difference.

Is the concept of eliminating the electrical grid a reality or just theoretical doomsday thinking? In an article written this month in The Daily Signal, research assistant Riley Walters documents that the electrical grid in eastern Ukraine was disabled by the Russians for several hours as fighting was ongoing between Ukrainian soldiers and Russian backed rebels. While this did not involve an EMP event, it did prove the significance of crippling the enemy by eliminating their electricity.

Also this month Peter Huessy of the Gatestone Institute writes: “The recent North Korean nuclear and the Iranian ballistic missile tests are serious deadly threats to the United States. North Korea’s latest bomb test is being widely dismissed by ‘experts’ because the apparent yield is around 10 kilotons or less — which just so happens to be exactly the right amount for an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) explosion.”

EMP is a serious threat not just to our national defense but to our very existence as a civilization. There is no doubt that terrorists would desire nothing more than to be able to destroy our ability to continue as a free and powerful country. It would behoove all of us to become familiar with the reports written by the empcommisssion.org and use every opportunity to let our representatives know that EMP deserves our highest priority.


Another View, a Maine Press Association award-winning column, is written on a rotating basis by a member of a group of Mid-coast citizens that meet to discuss issues they think are of public interest.

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