In an executive order signed Tuesday by President Trump, he directed federal agencies to coordinate in assessing the threats that EMPs pose, and find ways to prevent their impact. This includes protecting critical infrastructures like water, electrical grid, transportation, and communications that an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) can seriously affect or completely eliminate.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that the order will create an environment “that promotes private-sector innovation to strengthen our critical infrastructure.”
“President Trump will always do what it takes to keep Americans safe. Today’s Executive Order — the first ever to establish a comprehensive policy to improve resilience to EMPs — is one more example of how the administration is keeping its promise to always be vigilant against present dangers and future threats.” – Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Officials have warned for years that the electric grid is not safe from an EMP attack — either one from a solar flare or a nuclear attack from countries with EMP weapons, including Iran, North Korea, China and Russia.
The Commission to Assess the Threat to the US from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack started in 2001 but funding for it was terminated by the Department of Defense in September 2017. Before being disbanded the committee did warn that an EMP attack on the East Coast would kill 90 percent of those in the area over a year due to the lack of food, money, fuel, electricity, and medical care.
Newt Gingrich once said that an EMP would “destroy the country’s ability to function.” If an atomic weapon were to be detonated high up in the air, the resulting explosion wouldn’t be powerful enough to kill people on the ground (at least, not in large numbers). But the electromagnetic interference would be powerful enough to shut down electronic grids.”
EMP attacks do not require accuracy, nor do the bombs require a re-entry vehicle, heat shield or shock absorbers like standard nuclear weapons, and they can be delivered through several methods – including satellites, short – medium – long range missiles, or even from a jet, commercial airliner or a meteorological balloon.
Trump signed an executive order on March 26, 2019, to protect the US from electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) that could have a “debilitating” effect on critical US infrastructure.
Mar. 27, 2019 06:47PM EST
Trump instructed federal agencies to identify EMP threats to vital US systems and determine ways to guard against them, Bloomberg first reported. A potentially harmful EMP event can be caused by a natural occurrence or the detonation of a nuclear weapon in the atmosphere.
The threat of an EMP attack against the US reportedly drove the president to issue March 26, 2019’s order. Multiple federal agencies, as well as the White House National Security Council, have been instructed to make this a priority.
“Today’s executive order — the first ever to establish a comprehensive policy to improve resilience to EMPs — is one more example of how the administration is keeping its promise to always be vigilant against present dangers and future threats,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement, according to The Hill.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
With the release of the White House National Security Strategy in 2017, Trump became the first president to highlight the need to protect to the US electrical grid.
“Critical infrastructure keeps our food fresh, our houses warm, our trade flowing, and our citizens productive and safe,” the document said.
“The vulnerability of U.S. critical infrastructure to cyber, physical, and electromagnetic attacks means that adversaries could disrupt military command and control, banking and financial operations, the electrical grid, and means of communication.”
Senior US officials warned that the US needs to take steps to safeguard the electrical grid and other important infrastructure against EMP attacks, The Washington Free Beacon reported on March 26, 2019. “We need to reduce the uncertainty in this space” and “mitigate potential impact” of an EMP attack, one senior administration official said.
“We are taking concrete steps to address this threat,” the official added. “The steps that we are taking are designed to protect key systems, networks and assets that are most at risk from EMP events.” Federal agencies are being tasked with bolstering the resiliency of critical infrastructure.
Members and supporters of the decommissioned US Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse have long warned of the possibility of an EMP attack, with some individuals, such as Peter Pry, who previously led the congressional EMP commission, asserting that an EMP attack on America could kill off 90% of the US population.
Those seeking to raise awareness have pointed to the threat from solar flares, as well as nuclear-armed adversarial powers.
Others, including Jeffrey Lewis, a renowned nuclear-weapons expert, have said that the EMP threat is a conspiracy. Lewis previously wrote that it seemed “like the sort of overcomplicated plot dreamed up by a Bond villain, one that only works in the movies. Bad movies.”