The dangers of an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, are the stuff of nightmares — think widespread blackouts, halting of air travel, crippling of the U.S. economy and potential total social breakdown.
Officials have been warning for years that Russia, China, Iran or North Korea could unleash an EMP attack on the U.S. electric grid; or just as scary, one could be caused by a solar flare.
Recognizing the potential devastating effects an EMP would bring, the White House took action this week via an Executive Order from President Trump to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from EMPs, boost detection capabilities and plan for recovery should one occur.
While unleashing an EMP attack would be an indisputable act of war, and bring a swift response from the U.S., it could be a highly effective first strike. Military leaders in adversarial countries know this, and EMP weapons have become part of their planning doctrines, according to a government report.
“It is the policy of the United States to prepare for the effects of EMPs through targeted approaches that coordinate whole-of-government activities and encourage private-sector engagement,” the executive order said.