President Donald Trump’s homeland defense agency has taken the first steps to defend the nation against an electromagnetic pulse attack which could instantly destroy tens of millions of vital electronic devices from coast to coast.
Pentagon officials have quietly worried for decades about an enemy using a high-altitude nuclear explosion to create a nationwide EMP attack. But little or nothing has been done because of the huge cost of protecting civilian electronics and the nation’s electrical, transport and energy infrastructures.
The plan from the Department of Homeland Security showcases the EMP problem, and offers initial planning steps — but it does not urge major spending or an award of tax-breaks to help companies, utilities, and local governments protect their networks from EMP.
“An intentional electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack or a naturally occurring geomagnetic disturbance … could damage significant portions of the Nation’s critical infrastructure, including the electrical grid, communications equipment, water and wastewater systems, and transportation modes,” says the DHS plan, titled “Strategy for Protecting and Preparing the Homeland Against Threats of Electromagnetic Pulse and Geomagnetic Disturbances.”
“We need to do a whole lot more on that,” Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson told DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at an Oct. 10 hearing.
But Nielsen has little authority to write regulations which would require anti-EMP protections be added over vulnerable networks and little money to fund any protections.
So the DHS plan sketches out three goals: