Two EMP experts warned Congress on Thursday that North Korea is capable of executing an EMP attack over the United States which would send the U.S. back to the stone age and would lead to the deaths of 90 percent of all Americans within one year.
Chairman Dr. William R. Graham and Chief of Staff Dr. Peter Vincent Pry of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack told the Committee on Homeland Security that the U.S. is now facing a “doomsday scenario” as U.S. intelligence under the Obama administration grossly underestimated the capabilities of North Korea.
Former NASA rocket scientist James Oberg visited North Korea’s Sohae space launch base, witnessed elaborate measures undertaken to conceal space launch payloads, and concludes in a 2017 article that the EMP threat from North Korea’s satellites should be taken seriously:
…there have been fears expressed that North Korea might use a satellite to carry a small nuclear warhead into orbit and then detonate it over the United States for an EMP strike. These concerns seem extreme and require an astronomical scale of irrationality on the part of the regime. The most frightening aspect, I’ve come to realize, is that exactly such a scale of insanity is now evident in the rest of their space program.
Graham and Pry referenced writing from Ambassador Henry Cooper – former Director of the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative, and a preeminent expert on missile defenses and space weapons – who has repeatedly warned U.S. officials about the threat presented by North Korea:
U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) interceptors are designed to intercept a few North Korean ICBMs that approach the United States over the North Polar region. But current U.S. BMD systems are not arranged to defend against even a single ICBM that approaches the United States from over the South Polar region, which is the direction toward which North Korea launches its satellites… So, North Korea doesn’t need an ICBM to create this existential threat. It could use its demonstrated satellite launcher to carry a nuclear weapon over the South Polar region and detonate it…over the United States to create a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP)…The result could be to shut down the U.S. electric power grid for an indefinite period, leading to the death within a year of up to 90 percent of all Americans—as the EMP Commission testified over eight years ago.
Graham and Pry stated the U.S. now faces a serious and potentially imminent threat of a nuclear EMP attack from North Korea and that immediate action is needed:
Just six months ago, most experts thought North Korea’s nuclear arsenal was primitive, some academics claiming it had as few as 6 A-Bombs. Now the intelligence community reportedly estimates North Korea has 60 nuclear weapons.
Just six months ago, most experts thought North Korea’s ICBMs were fake, or if real could not strike the U.S. mainland. Now the intelligence community reportedly estimates North Korea’s ICBMs can strike Denver and Chicago, and perhaps the entire United States.
Just six months ago, most experts thought North Korea was many years away from an H-bomb. Now it appears North Korea has H-Bombs comparable to sophisticated U.S. two-stage thermonuclear weapons.
Just six months ago, most experts claimed North Korean ICBMs could not miniaturize an ABomb or design a reentry vehicle for missile delivery. Now the intelligence community reportedly assesses North Korea has miniaturized nuclear weapons, and has developed reentry vehicles for missile delivery, including by ICBMs that can strike the U.S.
Congress received a variety of solutions for the mid-term and long-term in how they should approach the situation – however Graham and Pry did not mince words about what President Donald Trump needs to do, immediately:
We recommend that the President declare that EMP or cyber-attacks that blackout or threaten to blackout the national electric grid constitute the use of weapons of mass destruction that justify preemptive and retaliatory responses by the United States using all possible means, including nuclear weapons.