Though the U. S. government has been slow to protect America’s electrical grid from a potentially catastrophic electromagnetic event, it appears the Chinese are working to guard their own, as demonstrated by an ongoing drill the People’s Liberation Army is running until mid-August.
The drill is designed to determine how the PLA will respond in the event of an attack including the use of an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, from a foreign country. Right now, the most likely suspect would be the United States, in the eyes of the PLA, since Beijing and Moscow seem to be getting even more closely intertwined economically as well as militarily.
These drills, which the Chinese military describes as the largest ever, have already disrupted flights at major Chinese airports. For example, one of the exercises was a simulated EMP attack targeting communications and radar systems. In the simulated attacks the official army newspaper said there were “heavy airstrikes,” including “electronic disturbance teams” and “chemical weapons drills.”
Because of simulated air assaults, these drills are greatly affecting flights at Chinese airports near the country’s east coast.
The naval portion of the drill is said to involve China’s East, North and South fleets. In addition, all airborne and ground missile units of the PLA Air Force are being deployed.
Col. Chen Hong, a former professor at the PLA Air Force College, told The Daily Telegraph the deployments are unprecedented.
“The exercises show that our nation has the ability to defend ourselves against any invasion,” Col. Chen said. “They are a deterrent to countries around us.”
“The fate of the nation has never been so closely linked to the strength and weakness of the army, and the victories and defeats on the battlefield as it is today,” said the PLA Daily newspaper.
Being a nuclear power, China knows about the impact of an EMP on its electronics and appears to be taking measures to deal with such an attack.
China’s preparations could have a thwarting effect on any U.S. attempt to take out communications and air-defense systems with its current electromagnetic array of weapons.
For example, in any offensive effort on the battlefield, the U.S. could unleash EMP weapons that don’t require a nuclear explosion, such as a type of radar called an active electronically scanned array, or AESA, which emits intensive microwaves. A beam from an AESA scrambles its target’s electronics, similar to the effects of an EMP from a nuclear detonation. Depending on the AESA’s strength, it can be effective at considerable distances, without endangering the aircraft equipped with the AESA radar.
There are small and large AESAs. Larger ones fit on ships, while smaller ones fit in the nose of the F-22 Raptor and the latest F-35 stealth joint strike fighter. The AESAs on board the F-35 can stop air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles. Ground-or ship-based AESAs can attack ballistic missiles and aircraft.
The U.S. Navy deployed in Middle East waters and off the coast of China is now employing offensive EMP capabilities to the Boeing Growler, a modified F-18 Super Hornet with the designation EA-18G airborne electronic attack aircraft.
The Growler will be the cornerstone of naval airborne electronic attacks, capable of suppressing enemy air defenses and initiate electromagnetic pulse attacks on enemy positions.
It is apparent from the comments of Chinese officials that the PLA is attempting to develop a counter to such a capability. Success in having such a counter-measure would cripple the surprise capability that U.S. strike aircraft have employed in the past in Iraq and potentially against communications and missile defenses of a country such as Iran or China.
While the U.S. knows about the effects of an EMP and has incorporated it in offensive weapons and hardened electronics to protect military technologies, it hasn’t done the same for the vulnerable national grid system or the life-staining critical infrastructures which rely on it.
This development makes the U.S. grid system highly vulnerable to either a naturally occurring direct hit from a massive solar flare or man-made attack from a high-altitude nuclear explosion.
There is a way to protect your electronics in an EMP event, the Faraday bags from the WND Superstore. Also featured there is “A Nation Forsaken,” an emergency radio, a personal water straw to clean water, a how-to guidebook for fleeing danger and a long list of supplies helpful for being self-reliant.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security hasn’t yet included an EMP attack, whether natural or man-made, as part of its 15 National Planning Scenarios implemented in case of a catastrophic event.
This omission leaves communities across the United States especially vulnerable, since local emergency first responders and law enforcement look to DHS for such direction. Consequently, state and local communities across the United States are likely to be unprepared for an EMP event.F. Michael Maloof, senior staff writer for WND/ G2Bulletin, is a former security policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
China beating U.S. to punch on EMP warfare
China beating U.S. to punch on EMP warfare
A long-suppressed report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security for the Defense Department concludes that North Korea could deliver on its threats to destroy the United States with a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack.
The report remains blocked from release to the American public.
However, a copy obtained by Peter Vincent Pry from sources within DHS finds North Korea could use its Unha-3 space launch vehicle to deliver a nuclear warhead as a satellite over the South Pole to attack the U.S. from the south.
Pry, executive director of the congressional advisory Task Force on National and Homeland Security, pointed out that the U.S. “has no early warning radars or interceptors” to stop a missile from the south.
Pry also was the staff director to the congressionally mandated EMP commission, which concluded that the damage from either a natural or man-made EMP event on the nation’s unprotected electrical grid would have a cascading impact on life-sustaining critical infrastructures as well as electronic components and automated control systems.
Along with the electrical grid system, the critical infrastructures include telecommunications, banking, finance, petroleum and natural gas pipelines, transportation, food and water delivery, emergency services and space systems.
DHS conducted the study after the spring 2013 nuclear crisis with North Korea in which the communist government’s leadership threatened a “preemptive” nuclear strike on the U.S. and then released videos depicting a nuclear attack on Washington.
Pry said North Korea successfully practiced the EMP attack scenario three months before the crisis.
During the crisis, he said, North Korea issued a general mobilization order to its “nuclear forces” that included “space forces.”
“The North Koreans are seeing what they can get away with,” Pry said. “It shows that Pyongyang is planning something big against the U.S.”
In its suppressed study, DHS said that if North Korea attempted to deploy the Unha-3 space launch vehicle or the Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile, the Defense Department should destroy the missile on its pad before launch.
At the time, however, President Obama and the White House “repeatedly asserted that North Korea did not yet have the capacity to attack the United States or U.S. allies with nuclear missiles.”
Separately, former U.S. Ambassador Henry Cooper, who was the first director of the Strategic Defense Initiative under then-President George H.W. Bush, said that North Korea generally tests its missiles by launching toward the South Pole.
He said, however, that the U.S. does not have its missile defense system oriented toward an attack from a southern polar missile launch attack on the U.S. Instead, all missile defenses are positioned for an attack from the north.
In addition, he said, the U.S. lacks adequate missile defenses against an attack on the East Coast.
Cooper has called for the deployment of existing Navy Aegis missile defense systems, both on ship and on land.
He said the Aegis system is capable of intercepting a nuclear weapon approximately 150 miles above the Earth, the height at which a high-altitude nuclear EMP attack would be most effective.
In its December 2012 test, North Korea was able to launch a satellite, Cooper and Pry told WND, that could have been a nuclear weapon capable of orbiting the Earth and detonating on command over the United States or anywhere else.
In his interview with WND, Pry said Pyongyang in April 2013 had launched a satellite that was tracked orbiting over the U.S., first in the middle of country and then over the eastern most populated corridor between Boston and Washington.
Pry said that if the satellite were a nuclear weapon exploded above the middle of the U.S., the EMP effect on the vulnerable grid system would have been nationwide.
In its numerous underground nuclear tests, North Korea has been testing low-kiloton nuclear weapons that Pry said was a “super EMP” device designed to emit a large number of gamma rays, a form of electromagnetic energy.
In an interview with WND, Pry said the revelations in the suppressed DHS report are only the latest indications of North Korean intentions aimed at a possible nuclear EMP attack on the U.S.
He said the prospect is the latest in a series of recent North Korean actions.
Pry referred to the revelation of a Soviet-era nuclear-capable ground-to-air SA-2 missile that was discovered on a North Korean ship detained in the Panama Canal in July 2013 after leaving Cuba, only 90 miles from U.S. shores.
U.S. intelligence believes the missile was headed back to North Korea for refurbishment.
Cuba is assessed to have some 100 of the ground-to-air missiles ostensibly designed to knock out aircraft. However, Pry said that armed with a nuclear weapon and exploded over the East Coast, one or two of the SA-2s being launched over the East Coast would knock out the Eastern grid, which services some 70 percent of the U.S. population.
At the time of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the SA-2s were not an issue of contention for elimination from the island. Instead, the focus was on the ground-to-ground missiles the Soviet Union then removed. However, the SA-2s remain in Cuba to this day.
Revelation of a Cuban SA-2 on a North Korean ship also brought into focus the increasingly close military ties Pyongyang is developing with Havana.
Pry said that an EMP attack on the U.S. would not have to originate from North Korea but could be a missile, such as the SA-2, launched from a freighter off the U.S. East or Gulf Coasts. At that point, there would be no missile defense capable of halting such an event.
With a missile launched from a freighter, it could be difficult to identify who is responsible for an attack.
|EMP Attack. Ex-CIA chief : No solution to EMP attack|
This warning comes from the former director of the CIA, James Woolsey, in little-noticed testimony recently before the House Armed Services Committee.
A nuclear weapon would be detonated in orbit “in order to destroy much of the electric grid from above the US with a single explosion,” he told lawmakers last week. “Two thirds of the US population would likely perish from starvation, disease, and societal breakdown. Other experts estimate the likely loss to be closer to 90 percent.”