EMP: A pie in the sky concept?

(News & Editorial/ EMP: A pie in the sky concept?)

A.  Report: China building EMP weapons for use against U.S. carriers
Pasted from: http://www.china-defense-mashup.com/report-china-building-emp-weapons-for-use-against-us-carriers.html
2011-07-24 (China Military News cited from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jul/21/beijing-develops-radiation-weapons/”>Washington Times and written by Bill Gertz) — China’s military is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons that Beijing plans to use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict over Taiwan, according to an intelligence report made public on Thursday.

Time bomb jpgPortions of a National Ground Intelligence Center study on the lethal effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and high-powered microwave (HPM) weapons revealed that the arms are part of China’s so-called “assassin’s mace” arsenal – weapons that allow a technologically inferior China to defeat U.S. military forces.

EMP weapons mimic the gamma-ray pulse caused by a nuclear blast that knocks out all electronics, including computers and automobiles, over wide areas. The phenomenon was discovered in 1962 after an aboveground nuclear test in the Pacific disabled electronics in Hawaii.

The declassified intelligence report, obtained by the private National Security Archive, provides details on China’s EMP weapons and plans for their use. Annual Pentagon reports on China’s military in the past made only passing references to the arms.

“For use against Taiwan, China could detonate at a much lower altitude (30 to 40 kilometers) … to confine the EMP effects to Taiwan and its immediate vicinity and minimize damage to electronics on the mainland,” the report said.

The report, produced in 2005 and once labeled “secret,” stated that Chinese military writings have discussed building low-yield EMP warheads, but “it is not known whether [the Chinese] have actually done so.”

The report said that in addition to EMP weapons, “any low-yield strategic nuclear warhead (or tactical nuclear warheads) could be used with similar effects.”

“The DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile has been mentioned as a platform for the EMP attack against Taiwan,” the report said.

According to the report, China’s electronic weapons are part of what are called “trump card” or “assassin’s mace” weapons that “are based on new technology that has been developed in high secrecy.”

“Trump card would be applicable if the Chinese have developed new low-yield, possibly enhanced, EMP warheads, while assassin’s mace would apply if older warheads are employed,” the report said.

According to the report, China conducted EMP tests on mice, rats, rabbits, dogs and monkeys that produced eye, brain, bone marrow and other organ injuries. It stated that “it is clear the real purpose of the Chinese medical experiments is to learn the potential human effects of exposure to powerful EMP and [high-powered microwave] radiation.”

The tests did not appear designed for “anti-personnel [radio frequency] weapons” because of the limited amounts of radiation used.

However, the report said another explanation is that the Chinese tests may have been research “intended primarily for torturing prisoners,” or the tests may have been conducted to determine safety or shielding standards for military personnel or weapons.

The medical research also appeared useful for China’s military in making sure that EMP weapons used against Taiwan and “any vulnerable U.S. [aircraft carrier] would not push the U.S. across the nuclear-response threshold,” the report said.

[And where else might EMP weapons be use, besides the US Fleet in Asia, our government and military think Washington might become a target, see below. Mr. Larry]

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B.  The Missile Defense Spectator
The Silent Threat
21 Dec 2012, spectator.org, Peter Hannaford
Pasted from: http://spectator.org/articles/34752/silent-threat

emp2 first view

Riots over the Middle East and South Asia get everyone’s attention, but a clear and present danger to the United States homeland exists that virtually no one is talking about and for which we have no defense: missile attack.
A Russian military officials says the recent covert visit of one of their submarines to the Gulf of Mexico proves that they could, without difficulty, launch a missile high over the U.S. that could trigger the explosion of an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) bomb that would shut down virtually all electrical and electronic activity in a large swath of the nation. There would be no radiation, no deaths — “only” economic paralysis and chaos.
Add Iran and North Korea to the list of potential launchers of such a weapon.

While we have worked for months to develop missile defense capabilities in Europe to protect against a possible Iranian attack there, we have only tested such systems from bases in California and Alaska. Nothing is ready to deploy and given the threat of “sequestration” of large amounts of defense funds, that situation is unlikely to change.
While Congress and the Administration stew and stall over the sequestration issue, the danger is both clear and present and there is something we can do to protect the U.S. homeland from such attacks. It is called the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netter Sensor. That mouthful is shortened to JLENS.

The Army developed JLENS to detect, identify, track and engage multiple hostile targets, including low-flying cruise missiles, as well as those launched from submarines and merchant vessels. The threat is that such attacks might involve EMP, chemical or biological weapons.
JLENS is deceptively simple, consisting of two lighter-than-air ships that lift to 10,000 feet (or more) both a fire-control and surveillance radar from where they detect potentially hostile targets at ranges of more than 200 miles. It gives field commanders considerable advance warning of threats. The system was tested successfully last April at the Utah Test and Training Range, destroying a simulated hostile cruise missile with a Patriot missile.

Development of JLENS has involved an investment of $2 billion so far. The next step is to answer requests from combat commands for this system by testing it again in the field to fine-tune it. Congress appropriated $40.3 million for such a test; however, before it could be conducted, the Department of Defense asked Congress to allow these funds to be reprogrammed for other purposes, presumably including budget balancing in the face of sequestration.

Since its creation in the 1950s, the Committee on the Present Danger has focused on the changing nature of threats to the United States. With the potential threat to the U.S. homeland increasing daily, the Committee has written to the Secretary of Defense to urge him to withdraw the request to reprogram the funds so that development of JLENS can proceed. Its cost, in the greater scheme of things, is low when measured against the nature and growth of the threat to our homeland.

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C.  A Fleet of Blimps Will Soon Serve as a Missile Shield Over Washington
24 Jul 2013, Gizmodo.com, by Adam Clark Estes
Pasted from: http://gizmodo.com/a-fleet-of-blimps-will-soon-serve-as-a-missile-shield-o-885030187

emp2 JLENS blimp

A still-chilling consequence of post-9/11 America is that we remain all too aware of the fact that we could be attacked at any moment. And so with worst case scenarios in mind, the military is constantly upgrading our defense systems in increasingly creative ways. Washington DC is next in line. It’s getting blimps.

To call Raytheon’s JLENS system mere blimps, though, is doing the defense contractor a disservice. These house-sized flying spy fortresses can identify threats on the ground that even the most powerful land-based radar would miss. They can spot and track incoming cruise missiles, mine-laying ships, armed drones, or anything incoming from hundreds of miles away in 360-degrees and react in real-time. Perhaps most impressively, the JLENS system can stay in the air watching over a base or a city for up to 30 days, all day and all night, without needing to be resupplied or refueled. Obviously, this is preferable to the very expensive fleet of five spy plans that it would take to do the same work that the JLENS does with less than half the manpower.

emp2 JLENS system

Sometime in 2014, the Defense Department will deploy a pair of JLENS blimps over the Washington DC to watch over the nation’s capital. At 74-meters long, the aircraft aren’t exactly Goodyear blimp-sized, but they’re not inconspicuous either. The JLENS system is made up of two aerostats: One equipped with a fire control radar that provides targeting data and the other with a surveillance radar that can see in all directions. Floating at 10,000 feet above the ground, the JLENS system will also be able to see all the way out to the Atlantic Ocean.

The JLENS system is already on its way to the Washington DC area after having finished a successful test out in Utah. With over 100 soldiers trained on the system, the Army ran early user testing in a number of different complex scenarios. The next step is to transport the whole outfit to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland where it will undergo an operational evaluation and eventually enter into active duty, so to speak.

It’s unclear exactly when the JLENS system should take flight, but it’s hard to see the downside in the arrangement until then. When all said and done, the Defense Department will be spending up to 700 percent less on the JLENS system than on spy planes, and will ostensibly get better protection. And who knows? They might be able to pitch in some aerial photography for Redskins games.

[OK, so Washington DC has JLENS system protection, what about the rest of us? The following article discusses what personal-social-utility systems you normally depend on to live, that will be affected by an EMP strike on the USA, form the not protected northeast coast, southeast coast,  Gulf coast, or entire west coast. An EEMP attack along any of these coasts would take out power almost half way across the country in a huge circle from the near space nuclear explosion. You won’t see it, you won’t hear it, the power will simply be gone. Mr Larry]

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D.  Rolling to a stop and living in the dark
28 May 2013, P.R.E.P. Personal Readiness Education Programs,  by PREP
Pasted from: http://readygoprep.com/website/rolling-to-a-stop-and-living-in-the-dark/

Recently I saw some controversy about the book “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen. The opinion was that too many people were treating the book as gospel with respect to their prepping for a long-term power outage.EMP2 book

The book details an Electro-magnetic Pulse attack on the United States by an unknown entity. Actually none of the characters knows exactly why the power went out, but everything operated by electricity to include all vehicles and generators just stopped working. In the blink of an eye, everything rolled to a stop, including life, as we knew it.
This is not a book review

Although I regularly recommend the book as a primer to anyone curious or on the fence about prepping. The story does a great job of revealing how people may react when the lights go out, transportation stops, food disappears, medical supplies run out and help isn’t coming.  Is it an extreme example? Maybe, maybe not, depends who you ask. But it is an emotional page-turner that might just draw you in and have you cursing, crying and cheering throughout. Either way, you may find yourself asking some questions about your level of preparedness. And that is a good thing.

So where is the controversy? It’s in our freedom to prepare anyway we wish.  Prepping already gets a bad rap in general by the population at large.  It’s been open season by TV and media for a while now. So why do we in the prepperverse feel the need to down on each other. Without pointing fingers, a couple of the biggest names in survival have criticized those who prefer to be self-reliant in a world without power.

There is every reason to be prepared for a long power outage. First, let’s define what long term may mean to you. An EMP is considered a high impact low frequency event. NASA had a page on its website that warned about the US East coast possibly being without power for 4-7 years after an EMP or severe solar weather event. That page has since been pulled but interestingly; they still have the urban survival page placeholder in the employee area of the site. But aside from an apocalyptic event, let’s consider events that have actually happened? Hurricanes Andrew or Katrina, Sendai Provence Japan after the 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear meltdown. There was no power for months in affected areas. These are just a couple of actual examples of a time when 72 hours of supplies wasn’t even close to enough.

If the event is large enough, there may be nowhere to actually go. How about a possible earthquake on the New Madrid fault line that severs critical cross-country infrastructure? Is someone going to flip a breaker and shazaam, we have lights? No, it doesn’t work that way.

As our colleagues stated, there will always be someone to turn the power back on. But how long would a repair take after the grid is catastrophically damaged by Mother nature, physical attack or cyber terrorism?

Electricity is arguably the easiest area of survival to adjust to a life without. We have survived without power as a species until only recently. With that being said, it would be a major adjustment in our way of life until the lights come back on. Take a moment to reflect on how electricity has changed our world and how things would be when all the machines stop working.

In this world where everyone has an opinion and a website, you need to do what you must to extend your survival and comfort in times of crisis. Don’t be swayed by those who speak the loudest but haven’t actually lived what they preach. There may come a day when you are sitting in the dark, cursing, and can’t even tweet @ them that they were wrong and you regret listening to them.

EMP2 power out

So what can you do to mitigate the effects of a life without power?
We at P.R.E.P have taken the less than glamorous approach of actually attempting to identify threats to our safety and survival by performing a hazard analysis in all the areas we feel are important to our everyday life.  One of those areas is electricity.

Take out some paper and ask yourself some questions. Once you have considered the potential problems of living without power, devise some solutions to lessen the impact of such an existence.

Think about short and long-term periods at home, and then consider the impacts of distant places without power to really get a feel for what conditions you may be forced to endure.”

There are seven main areas of survival. How could a power outage affect you in a survival situation? What other problems can you identify?

 Food:

  • Transportation from farmer through the food processing/delivery chain.
  • Refrigeration and preservation
  • Cooking and preparation
  • Will you be able to produce, preserve and prepare foods for safe consumption?

Water:

  • Municipal water systems inoperable
  • Sewers inoperable
  • Fire hydrants/extinguishing may not be available
  • Water quality, not safe to drink without treatment
  • Will you have water for the many needs of survival? Drinking, hygiene, medical, laundry, sanitation of surfaces, flushing, irrigation, animals?

Shelter:

  • Lighting, (candles are a major cause of house fires after a hurricane or power outage)
  • Appliances
  • Warmth
  • Cooling
  • Electric tools
  • Farm housing and animal care
  • Will your physical location be affected? Maintenance?

Safety / Health:

  • Medical machines
  • Drinking/hygiene/medical water quality concerns
  • Sanitation, cleaning/sewage
  • Medical supplies,  pharmaceuticals
  • Access to care
  • Night visibility
  • What medical capabilities will be affected? Short/Long term?
  • Will you need medications?

Security:

  • Security systems may be down
  • Outdoor lighting inoperable
  • Automated systems offline
  • Will the outage affect your physical security plan?

Communication:

  • Computer systems down
  • Communication systems down.  Ham, CB, data, voice, video
  • How will you communicate locally/distantly?

Energy:

  • Fuel may be unavailable for power generation and transportation at all levels
  • Nuclear power offline without cooling systems, even offline, the rods need to be cooled or they will meltdown
  • Grid may be down for extended period without replacement transformers. Power is needed to manufacture  transformers. Some types take months to make and transport
  • Did the event damage your alternate energy equipment or plans?

In this case we will add transportation because it affects all the other areas of survival in some way. If there were an outage that disabled our mechanical way to move great distances, it would effectively shut down the economy on a grand scale, especially in this globalized and interconnected world.

 The Moral of the story:  Feel free to prepare as you see fit. Don’t let others make you feel foolish for thinking outside the box and having a contingency plan. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for help, this is all uncharted territory for a modern society.

Before leaving this post…You should know, it’s not just Washington DC that may be threatened, but our fleet, our allies, the lower 48. If enemy and potential enemy nations are planning to use their nuclear weapons specifically for an EMP attack,  1st World nations are not safe, continent wide destruction of electronic infrastructure could lead to 90% death rate within a year.

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