Good Literature Review About EMP Attack On United States

Type of paper: Literature Review

Topic: Victimology, Attack, Violence, Atomic Bomb, United States, Bullying, Threat, Grid

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/10/24

Electromagnetic pulse can be very dangerous, despite the fact that very few people know about their existence and possible effects. EMPs, as they are commonly known, are short bursts of a sizeable chunk of electromagnetic energy. EMPs can be natural and man-made. As such, the possibility of an EMP attack is possible. This paper is going to review pre-existing literature on the EMP attack on the United States, giving details of the occurrences and the extent of such attacks. The aspect of EMP attacks and the threats it poses to the electric grid is an issue in the United States that has not been addressed. This paper will outline a number of issues that have been highlighted by the various authors pertaining to EMP attacks.
Maize (2013) argues that one of the biggest issues in the United States that has never been addressed is the possibility of an EMP attack and the various effects it might have on the country. The article shows the extent to which an EMP attack would have on the country, indicating that an EMP attack at the central point of the country would affect the country’s entire grid system. According to this article, Maize argues that an EMP attack would extend across a radius of 1470 miles and a height of 300 miles. This article introduces a possible threat that could be used to induce an EMP attack. A nuclear weapon detonated at an altitude of 30 kilometers would induce an EMP that would destroy all the electronics and electronic infrastructure. Maize tries to assess the possibility of such an attack being initiated by North Korea now, that the country has been able to send their satellite into space. The collapse of the power grid would mean insufficiency in production of food, transportation, banking and finance, food and water. It would end an entire civilization.
Sohweilenbaoh (2005) argues that the threat of an EMP is not an empty threat at all. However, the author approaches this topic from a different perspective. The EMP is described from a visual perspective in which it is completely harmless. The author describes an EMP as having a spectacular view. From the bright flash shining up in the sky, to the turning of the sky green for a while and the eventual formation of a red aurora, Sohweilenbaoh has given sufficient detail on what people would view if an EMP attack was launched in the country. An EMP has been described as the most dreaded threat yet one that no permanent action has ever been taken. The last time such a threat was taken seriously was during the Cold War, when the Russia was feared of perpetrating such an attack on the United States. This article further outlines the imminent threats from North Korea. For instance, the article argues that North Korea threatened to devastate Japan with its mere nuclear inventory. It means that the country might have the sufficient information pertaining to EMP attacks and might be planning to execute one. The article also explores the possibility of people using such means to destroy nations without having to kill people. The author addresses an article that argues that electronics might be used to determine the outcome of other wars.
Keller (2009) takes a rather different approach. This article highlights some of the strategies being taken to protect themselves from such an event ever happening by some corporations. The use of technology to shield electronic infrastructure from such a disaster is one of the strategies that these organizations are using to protect these organizations from major losses. It is in the event that an EMP attack is launched on their country. The article further explores the possibility of an EMP attack from launching a missile in the air. Additionally, the article has listed a number of countries with nuclear capacity. The only country that has been noted to have given up their technology, but retained their knowledge is South Africa. The author also offers a personal tip on how one can prepare for an EMP, requesting people to try living without power for a week. Keller also argues that the damage caused to the electronic grid structure by an Electromagnetic Pulse would take at least a year for the power to resume.
Kramer (2009) addresses the issue of EMP attacks from the grid perspective as well. The article argues that the US grid system is still very prone to Electro Magnetic Pulses. The article explains the magnitude of the attacks and their possible influence on the country. The article says that a single EMP would destroy at least 70% of the nation’s electric infrastructure. As such, it is arguable that an EMP attack might have catastrophic effects on the United States if a nation with nuclear capacity decided to launch the attack on the country. Kramer argues that people are not worried about nuclear weapons anymore because of their physical damage, but rather their possible impacts on electricity, power and production. The article adds that an EMP attack would take years to repair the damage caused. This article argues that such an attack would only cost $100,000, where one can build a nuclear bomb and load it on a scud missile launcher, which can be purchased using the mentioned amount.
Kennedy (2014) addresses the issue from the perspective of the war. He argues that war is inevitable and an inescapable human condition. The author further goes on to say that, it is better to win in war than lose. Kennedy connects the 9/11 attacks as a need for the United States to be aware of the various attacks those other countries might launch on it. An EMP would be the worst of them, and yet too little has been done to prepare for such an attack. Kennedy describes in detail the possible outcomes of an EMP attack. Most of the things we depend on daily would go off. Financial markets would be shut; computers and cars would not work and other suchlike effects.
In conclusion, the possibility of an EMP is eminent. The possibility of such an attack being launched in the United States is currently higher than ever. Countries that have purchased nuclear weapons are steadily increasing. An EMP would have an eminent threat to the United States, and its entire civilization would be forgotten. Arguably, the government needs to take measures necessary to ensure that an EMP attack does not take out an entire civilization. As such, the necessity of proactive measures cannot be further emphasized. An EMP would crash the entire system.


Cheston, Michael. Electromagnetic Pulse Attacks: The Achilles Heel of Technology. The Counter Terrorist ~ October/November 2009. p. 53-57.
Kramer, David. US electricity grid still vulnerable to electromagnetic pulses. Physics Today, September 2009. p. 24-26
Kennedy, T. Brian. The (Terrorist) Wolf is at the Door. US Today, May 2014. p.12 -15.
Keller, John. Army approaches industry on technologies to provide national defenses against EMP attack. Military & Aerospace Electronics, December 2010, p.6 & 11.
Maize, Kennedy. EMP: The Biggest Unaddressed Threat to the Grid. Power, July 2013. P50- 52.
Sohweilenbaoh, Nick. Empty Threat? Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, September. October, 2005. p.51-53.

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