Should the world fear a North Korean EMP attack?

Should the world fear a North Korean EMP attack?

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Most present talk concerning North Korea is focused on fears that the Hermit Kingdom could strike the U.S. or one of its allies with a city-leveling nuclear weapon. But some observers say the threat of an EMP attack from the country’s regime is a more credible, and just as devastating, threat to world order.

Writing for The Hill, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, chief of staff of the Congressional EMP Commission, warned Thursday that North Korea could launch a grid destroying attack on Tokyo or South Korea with relative ease.

The ensuing chaos would render the U.S. impotent to leverage assets in the region to defend against further North Korean aggression.

Here’s an excerpt from his piece:

North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, is the scion of three generations of totalitarian rule, a megalomaniac and ruthless murderer described by state media as a demigod having supernatural powers.

Kim’s strategy is to sever U.S. security guarantees to South Korea and Japan by raising the stakes too high—raising the specter of nuclear war—and through “nuclear diplomacy” to cow the U.S. and its allies into submission.

In this scenario, North Korea detonates a nuclear weapon at 96 kilometers HOB (height of burst) over Tokyo. The EMP field extends from the Japanese capital to a radius of 1,080 kilometers, covering all of Japan’s major home islands.

Virtually all of Japan’s major military bases and seaports are covered by the EMP field, rendering them inoperable. Traffic control towers and systems are damaged and blacked-out stopping air and rail traffic. Highways are jammed with stalled vehicles. Communications systems are damaged or destroyed or in blackout.

Worse, Japan’s population of 126 million people is at risk because suddenly there is no running water or food coming into the cities. EMP induced industrial accidents are happening everywhere. Gas pipelines are exploding and turning into firestorms in towns and cities. Refineries and chemical plants are exploding, releasing toxic clouds and poisonous spills. Tokyo knows from the experience of Fukushima that as the nationwide blackout becomes protracted, within days Japan’s nuclear reactors will exhaust their emergency power supplies and begin exploding, contaminating the home islands with radioactivity.

As a consequence of the EMP attack, Japan’s critical infrastructures are paralyzed and incapable of transporting U.S. forces to aid South Korea. Indeed, with Japan’s survival at risk, Tokyo would probably oppose any effort to help South Korea by U.S. forces staging from Japan, fearing another North Korean EMP attack.

Pretty scary stuff. Read Pry’s full warning at The Hill.

Pry warns that the likely trajectory of ensuing escalation would probably end in the U.S. becoming the target of a massive EMP attack, blacking out critical infrastructure throughout the nation.

And it really wouldn’t take all that much effort on North Korea’s part considering how massively vulnerable the U.S. grid has become over the years.

A nuclear attack or solar flare could totally cripple the nation’s electrical grid, rendering useless 24,000 substations and 430,000 miles of transmission cables.

That’s according to a Government Accountability Office audit of the power grid that began in 2014 after industry leaders and members of Congress expressed concern about vulnerabilities in the nation’s energy infrastructure.

More concerning than how easily the grid could be taken down by disaster or attack, the GAO report revealed last year, is that the government has failed to identify which electrical assets would need to be repaired first to avoid chaos and massive loss of life as water purification systems, transportation infrastructure, the financial system and hospitals throughout the nation go dark.

Worse yet, the GAO said: “Industry representatives and other federal officials told us it is not clear who within Department of Homeland Security is responsible for addressing electromagnetic risks.”

Experts studying threats to the U.S. power grid note that EMP capabilities held by foreign actors should be a matter of major homeland security concern.

To learn more about the real threat the U.S. faces from attacks on the electrical grid, just how devastating a massive attack could be, and what’s already being done in attempts to head off such catastrophe, follow this link.

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