Skip to comments.Dr. Peter Vincent Pry: America May Never Recover From EMP Attack
Posted on 06/18/2012 3:33:12 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is the Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security for the Congressional Caucus on EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) that endeavors to carry on the work of the EMP Commission. He is also the Director of the United States Nuclear Strategy Forum, an advisory body to Congress on policies to counter weapons of mass destruction.
Dr. Pry has served on the staffs of the EMP Commission, the Strategic Posture Commission, the Commission on the New Strategic Posture of the U.S., the House Armed Services Committee and the Central Intelligence Agency.
For those unfamiliar with what an EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) attack is, please view the segment on the topic from the Clarion Funds Iranium by clicking here.
The following is RadicalIslam.orgs national security analyst Ryan Mauros interview with Dr. Pry:
Ryan Mauro: How long will it take to get critical infrastructure back up and running after an EMP attack?
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry: Given the current state of U.S. unpreparedness, after a nuclear EMP attack that collapses the electric grid and other critical infrastructures, the U.S. might never recover. The Congressional EMP Commission--that investigated the EMP threat for nearly a decade and produced the most definitive analysis of the threat--estimated that within one year of a nuclear EMP attack, about two-thirds of the U.S. population, about 200 million Americans, would likely perish from starvation, disease and societal collapse. Iranian military writings openly describe making an EMP attack to eliminate the United States as an actor on the world stage.
Mauro: Have past nuclear tests in the air produced an EMP?
Pry: Past exoatmospheric nuclear tests have produced an EMP, such as the 1962 STARFISH PRIME nuclear test. The nuclear burst must occur at high altitude, above 30-40 kilometers, to produce the EMP effect. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union conducted high-altitude EMP tests over part of their own territory that collapsed electric grids. Fifty years of empirical data from nuclear tests and EMP simulators proves that an EMP attack would have catastrophic consequences.
Mauro: How could the U.S. government protect us from this threat? How much would it cost?
Pry: The Congressional EMP Commission produced a plan for protecting all U.S. critical infrastructures from nuclear and natural EMP (such as would be generated by a great geomagnetic storm, like the 1859 Carrington event) that could be implemented in 3-5 years at a cost of $10-20 billion. This would provide robust protection. At minimum, the 300 EHV transformers that service the biggest U.S. cities, where most of the population lives, could and should be protected, at a cost of $100-200 million, or about one dollar for every life that could be saved. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission estimates that the national electric grid could be protected from EMP at a cost to the average rate payer of 20 cents annually.
Mauro: How much dispute is there over the science behind the horrific scenario you depict? A skeptic once sent me a report by Oak Ridge National Laboratories/Metatech about myths regarding the EMP threat.
Pry: Among the numerous official Congressional and USG studies on nuclear EMP attack--that includes reports by the Congressional EMP Commission, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the Department of Energy and National Electric Reliability Corporation and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (which includes the Metatech report), there is an official scientific and technical consensus that an EMP attack would have catastrophic consequences. Even the most optimistic "best case" scenario involving a nuclear EMP attack by a primitive low-yield nuclear weapon would be an unprecedented catastrophe and could collapse the national electric grid and other critical infrastructures that sustain modern society and the lives of millions.
Indeed, the entire purpose of Congressional Commissions is to, if possible, resolve controversy and achieve consensus on matters of national security concern. Two Congressional Commissions staffed by our nation's best experts and supported by the vast resources of the defense department, the intelligence community and the national nuclear weapons laboratories have independently arrived at the same consensus that a nuclear EMP attack would be catastrophic--so as a matter of public policy, the existential character of the nuclear EMP threat is not controversial, but an established fact.
There are some individuals, usually in academia, who claim the EMP threat is exaggerated. But these people are not EMP experts and are simply ignorant or politically motivated, as when the New York Times ganged up on Newt Gingrich for trying to warn about the EMP threat during his presidential bid. Nonetheless the press, uneducated about EMP itself, keeps quoting these non-experts.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I know well Dr. William Radasky, the team leader of the Oak Ridge/Metatech report, and he would certainly agree that a nuclear EMP attack on the U.S. would be an unprecedented catastrophe--and this is the conclusion of his report. If you read the report, it warns that an EMP event could collapse the electric grid and other critical infrastructures and require 4-10 years to recover. Can you imagine trying to survive for years in the aftermath of a nuclear EMP attack that deprives you and millions of your fellow citizens of food, water, transportation and other necessities for life? Sounds pretty catastrophic to me.
But it should not take a genius to realize that when a falling tree branch can cause the great northeast blackout of 2003, any nuclear EMP attack would certainly have catastrophic consequences. Iran, North Korea, China and Russia all certainly understand this, as reflected in their military writings.
Ryan Mauro: How far away is Iran and other enemies of the U.S. from having the capability to carry out this kind of attack? Some experts say that Iran would still need a year to construct an actual nuclear bomb after acquiring the necessary highly enriched uranium and would need years after that to develop a nuclear warhead that can fit onto a ballistic missile.
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry: Any state or group possessing any nuclear weapon and any missile capable of reaching an altitude over 30-40 kilometers can make an EMP attack. An ICBM is not necessary. An EMP attack can be delivered by a short-range missile launched from a ship, such as a commercial freighter, operating near U.S. shores. Iran has practiced such a delivery mode. Iran already has missiles, such as Scuds and its Shahab-III, capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.
Officially, the Obama Administration claims that Iran does not yet have nuclear weapons. Personally, I have written several articles warning that Iran might already have the bomb. Our intelligence on Iran's nuclear weapons program is not good. Historically, our intelligence community has a bad record on predicting the advent of new nuclear weapon states and was taken by surprise by the development of nuclear weapons by Russia, India, Pakistan and North Korea.
Supposedly, Iran has been trying to develop nuclear weapons for 20 years, yet during World War II, the U.S. Manhattan Project developed the world's first nuclear weapons using 1940s era technology in just three years. Why should Iran, with access to the now declassified Manhattan Project papers and copious other U.S. documents on nuclear weapons design and helped by North Korea and others and equipped with modern technology, not be able to accomplish in 20 years what the U.S. accomplished during the 1940s in just three?
The difficulty of miniaturizing a nuclear warhead for missile delivery is often exaggerated. Pakistan deployed nuclear warheads on its Ghauri missile just one year after its first nuclear test. Israel, according to the respected Wisconsin Project, has developed a sophisticated array of nuclear weapons, including thermonuclear warheads and weapons miniaturized for delivery by missiles and artillery--all without nuclear testing.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Ryan Mauro is RadicalIslam.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.
Sounds like the whole country could be protected for a small fraction of the cost of Gov. Moonbeam’s bullet train to nowhere. But of course Zero won’t do anything to displease his Muzzie Buddies.
Hey, unless an EMP attack also wipes out all our brains so we are as dumb as politicians or liberals, we will retain the knowledge to rebuild anything which was destroyed.
Only the glass is half empty communists in this country want a dead America. They would love it if we could not recover because they detest our success as it always makes their beloved Marxism look so bad.
An EMP over Mordor-on-the-Potomac might actually save the country!
My FRiend, you are Brilliant!!
It would cost $200M just to create and implement the government bureaucracy to make this happen. I worked in power generation before and during Y2K and remember the volumes of government regulations and reports we needed to “prove” that every “clock chip” would not be affected by Y2K. A “clock chip” is an electronic device that cycles on and off at a fixed rate, but since they were called a clock, they must have a calendar too, right??
And the federal government of 1999 was much smarter than that of the Obamanation.
No doubt. All we have to do is crank up our production facilities, which of course run on electricity. Oh wait...
But taking away their only chance of defeating us would ruin NASA's efforts to make them feel good about themselves. :)
We're Americans and we can do anything we put our minds to do.
Yeah, we're a little out'a practice with this national thing ... patriotism an' all ... but America with no microwaves and computers?
We'll jump across some friggin' kind of wires and fire them puppies back up.
America with no morning coffee?
Just get the hell out of our way.
Americans will find a way and will recover quickly, assuming they are allowed to rebuild basis their local needs
As for the present American Federal Gov’t? EMP attack, Bankruptcy, plague, Act of God? Any major crisis will quickly reveal that much of what the Feds do isn’t needed, and won’t need to be replaced once it is gone.
Then there is Nanotube technology.
Where in the world do you get the idea that the “whole country could be protected”?
It really depends on who’s running things when it happens. If we have a bunch of “can-do” people, we’ll get out of it. If we have a bunch of “hand-wringers,” we won’t. And there are plenty of both kinds on both sides of the political divide.
>As for the present American Federal Govt? EMP attack, Bankruptcy, plague, Act of God? Any major crisis will quickly reveal that much of what the Feds do isnt needed, and wont need to be replaced once it is gone.<
If enough people say that, in those exact words,our government will do everything in their power to prevent it.
The biggest disaster in the eyes of the government is for the unwashed masses to actually realize that most of the government is unnecessary.
The problem is, knowledge is NOT sufficient here. We lack the tech base to repair after an EMP Burst that basically fries every microchip in North America.
Yes. . .we could go back to straight transistors. Except nobody makes them like we did in the 1950s, with straight electromechanical manufacturing methods.
We simply lack the tools to MAKE the current tools from a lower tech base: it would effectively knock us back to 1920s tech, and we’d have to gear back up from there. . .
The problem with EMP as a weapon is that nobody knows how much or how little damage it will do.
While the EMP pulse has a different frequency profile than a lightning strike, consider how many cell towers and radio station towers are regularly struck by lightning and the equipment at the base of the tower continues to operate.
Also consider how often home electronics are subjected to very close lightning strikes or overhead bolts and survive. Or better yet, when a close strike occurs, that some home devices survive while some others are fried.
Of course, there will be a lot of disruption if even 10% of the electronics were fried in the grocery stores over a large area of the US, especially when some of that equipment will be refrigeration controllers.
While we are in a rush to install smart meters and a smart grind, the really smart people in Washington would do well to also attempt to mitigate losses from EMP as well.
Yep, like most self proclaimed "experts".
My father-in-law was in the nuke weapons assembly business for 40 years (he died in Dec. 2009). I was in the plant with him less than 3 years ago. I know some of his people. Capable engineers & craftsmen.
I think 1920s is optimistic. Not because we lack the drive, information, or courage - - but that the catastrophic collapse of modern infrastructure would decimate the population within weeks. Without communications the money system would cease to exist, and with most vehicles (and the resources to fuel them) out of commission, transportation would come to a standstill and it would not just be the Occupiers who turn to anarchy and chaos to get what they want.
I could go on, but anyone who doubts the seriousness of an EMP attack owes it to themselves to become educated rather than spew disinformation or platitudes. Here’s a starting point:
And if you don’t believe me or the US gummint, how about the Heritage Foundation?
“Hey, unless an EMP attack also wipes out all our brains so we are as dumb as politicians or liberals, we will retain the knowledge to rebuild anything which was destroyed.”
Until half of those with the knowledge die from lack of medicine or bad food. Then the remaining can’t make whats necessary because all the parts are in china.
A fried electrical grid means no fresh water or sewage treatment, no trucks to deliver food, no irrigation to grow food. Hmmm.
I think that this is the stuff that the CIA show Obama each morning and that is why he has had a sudden hankering to kill terrorists.
Kill these weenies first: problem solved.
Yeah but the EMP also won’t wipe out Environmentalists and their deep pockets to hire lawyers to go to court to stop any rebuilding or redevelopment in its tracks. Our only chance is to have an EMP that takes them out too.
I don’t know who you are, but I like the way you think. Amen.
We have already suffered an EMP attack. The brains of our politicians have been on flat line for years. And the American public is stuck on stupid with no lights on.
“One Second After” ping
never is a long time
Agreed we as a nation will retain the knowledge & while we as a nation would be knocked on our national asses for a while unless the rest of the world also suffered a EMP attack getting replacement parts would take a short while but once the lights started to come back on there would be a lust for vengeance against those that attacked us that would lead to somebody getting the Carthage treatment.
GOD help any politician or leftist/anarchist pudding stirrer that tried to say we had it coming cause they will literally get ripped to shreds .
Because civilization IS tenuous and would not survive. Take down our power for a month and the result would be total chaos.
Because civilization IS tenuous and would not survive. Take down our power for a month and the result would be total chaos.
Thank you. America would be vulnerable at such a time, but America on the whole will want to rebuild, will want restoration and will want revenge.
Follow the money. $10-20 billion based on a hypothetical scenario based on the 1962 Starfish Prime event. Supported by Department of Energy (that really adds credibility).
I worked with hypothetical EMP attacks starting in 1976 and continued with nuclear matters through the next 30 years. This included work with Defense Nuclear Agency, Defense Communications Agency, development of the Red Integrated Strategic Offensive Plan (RISOP), Connectivity Studies as a defense contractor, Comparative Post-War Recovery Study, etc. etc. So I do consider myself an expert. I have an engineering PhD. I left Department of Energy only two years ago when true scientific thought disappeared. Who is John Galt - he might be me.
I don’t think he’s full of shit, I know he’s full of shit.
In the government contracting business DOE was where you went for never ending funding. It seems even more true today.
Read Pry’s third response. Maybe not the whole country, but major population centers.
Short sighted, immediate gratification people don’t do well in life. Like a ghetto rat, America is very strong and very stupid.
An EMP attack will NOT affect missile submarines (or their missiles). Payback will happen virtually instantaneously. No need to wait 'til "...the lights start to come back on...".
Pardon my ignorance but would an EMP fry the electronic lock on my gun safe?
Once upon a time scientists did science, presented their findings as objectively, clearly and widely as possible, and allowed the people through their elected representatives and vigorous debate, decide if and how the political consequences of the science (if verified,) are implemented.
Idiots like this one have a "better" idea. Megalomaniacs. Presidential material.
“We’ll jump across some friggin’ kind of wires and fire them puppies back up.”
If Iraq can do it, certainly we can do it: http://iraqslogger.powweb.com/index.php/post/3131/Photo_of_the_Day_Man_Battles_Web_of_Wires?PHPSESSID=c5aa4044714cf600c5a3785c5c8aefed
Good grief, man.
All that technology is documented ad infinitum
If computers and calculators no longer worked, would it take decades to manufacture mechanical calculators while we rebuild. I don't think so.
Most of the monumental works of American exceptionalism (the the Obum wants to take credit for) were built long before the age of computers and microelectronics.
My life has spanned both eras, and I refuse to join the luddites.
EMP has the potential to impact anything with sensitive circuits unless it is shielded by a faraday cage or its electronics are built to be resistant.
Yes, the tech is documented. But you have to have the tools to make the tech, and in case of EMP frying microchips, you need working tech from before the chip era. So, you’re talking mid-1960s tech. Except, to make THAT tech, you need the tools that built it, which haven’t been made or used for a generation plus.
It’s the “chicken or the egg” problem, writ large. . .you need a sufficient base of the machines to build the machines, and enough skilled operators to run them.
Oh. . .and how much of the documentation is physical, and how much was scanned and burned to CD/DVD to save space. . . or merely disposed of, by corporate. . .
Meanwhile you’re fighting to find something to eat. Doesn’t leave a lot of time to figure out how to make a toy.
I need to dust off that list I made of the top 50 targets. Most would need only one; a few might need five.
We have the means.
We can satisfy any and all koranimal death wishes in the world.
I am totally confident that we are talking about months, not decades.
With no more worries of any kind about a no longer existing enemy, incredible human resources can be brought to bear.
For just a few million grant money this alarmist will study something and a write a report or something.
“Until half of those with the knowledge die from lack of medicine or bad food. “
We have had major electrical outages many times. Millions didn’t die, riots didn’t destroy cities wholesale, and, GOSH, the electricity came back on. EMP will not wipe out all things electrical or electronic and the limited damage it might do is easily repaired. Besides, the ONLY country that can lob a nuke into our atmosphere is Russia and they’re not exactly aiming to do that anytime soon.
“EMP has the potential to impact anything with sensitive circuits unless it is shielded by a faraday cage or its electronics are built to be resistant.”
No, it doesn’t. That is the biggest line of bullsh*t the urban legend types pass around about EMP. If that were the case then maybe you can explain just how we got all those videos and other electronic measurements long before we even knew EMP accompanied nuclear devices. I thought EMP was supposed to wipe out all things electric and electronic.