DimWit Politics

Could Iran Unleash an EMP Attack on the U.S.?

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Could Iran Unleash an EMP Attack on the U.S.?

Could Iran Unleash an EMP Attack on the U.S.?
January 10
17:34 2020

Have we seen the last of response from Iran in retaliation for the death of General Qassem Soleimani?

Since the measured missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing US troops on Tuesday, many are wondering what Iran’s – whose Supreme Leader still vows further revenge – next move will be. Many experts think that their next attack if any will be “unconventional,” meaning a cyberattack, or some other asymmetrical attack on US communication and command. Could that include an EMP attack?

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In addition to other effects, a nuclear weapon detonated in or above the earth’s atmosphere can create an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), a high-density electrical field. An EMP acts like a stroke of lightning but is stronger, faster, and shorter.

An EMP can seriously damage electronic devices connected to power sources or antennas. This includes communication systems, computers, electrical appliances, and automobile or aircraft ignition systems. The damage could range from a minor interruption to actual burnout of components. Most electronic equipment within 1,000 miles of a high-altitude nuclear detonation could be affected. Battery-powered radios with short antennas generally would not be affected. Although an EMP is unlikely to harm most people, it could harm those with pacemakers or other implanted electronic devices.

President Trump has shown that he takes the threat of EMP based weapons seriously. Once met with much skepticism, the growing threat of an EMP attack on the nation’s electric grid and military bases by Iran or other foes has suddenly gone mainstream. Back in March of 2019 – even before the current escalating tensions between the US and Iran – Trump signed an executive order to assess the risks of a man-made or natural EMP hit.

And, the just-passed 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, adopted Trump’s action and ordered the National Guard to draw up a plan to thwart a disaster from an EMP. The Act gives the National Guard nine months to tell Congress what states will have to do to respond to an EMP attack and what the guard will do “with particular focus on a multi-State electromagnetic pulse event.”

Several states are moving even faster to prepare for an EMP attack. Wyoming just produced its blueprint to respond to an EMP assault that could knock out electricity, water services, hospitals, ATMs, cellular phones, and even vehicles for months.

“These are big and very important results,” said Peter Pry, a longtime champion of EMP preparation and adviser to the White House and military. “Things are taking off. This is a significant change, in a positive way,” he told us.

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Michael F. Strong

Michael F. Strong

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2 Comments

  1. Phil in TX
    Phil in TX January 12, 02:06

    If you want a vehicle that functions after an EMP, you need to find a functional engine computer (commonly called a PCM or other such acronym) and store it away either in a Faraday cage or wrapped in a sealed EMP proof pouch. Some vehicles have multiple “computers” that all must function for the vehicle to start. Otherwise, find a pre-computer vehicle and keep it running regularly. Otherwise, buy a horse.

    Phil in TX

    Reply to this comment
  2. PalomarJack
    PalomarJack January 15, 19:24

    First, ECMs are surprizingly robust. They have been known to survive direct lightning strikes and modern vehicles are tested during the engineering stage in EMP rigs to test hardness against lightning strikes. Second, you don’t need a faraday cage for small equipment that is not hardened, wrap it in a plastic bag under aluminium foil.

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