Terrorism and EMP Devices

A probability that is not beyond reality: Terrorists can disable a nation with electro-magnetic pulse devices (EMP devices). What is and EMP device? Consider the energy produced by a nuclear explosion. It is not just a destructive wave of energy that destroys structures and life within its deadly radius, it also produces an electrical discharge that is capable of frying electronics within its reach.

Technology has allowed mankind to study, to refine and to miniaturize these EMPs into devices that are portable and capable of being carried in a vehicle. Consider a number of van’s dispatched by terrorists to airports, communication hubs (radio, TV, cellular phone towers), transportation hubs for ships, trains, trucks, and more importantly, around electric generating plants.

With these simple devices, these terrorist could shut down airports ILS (landing systems), radar, communications to and from aircraft, telephone and radio service around the airports.

They could disrupt radio, television and telephone systems by disabling towers and broadcasting equipment.

At transportation hubs, ships, trains and trucks won’t be able to carry passengers and those all important food and beverage supplies.

AND, the all important electrical generating plants. The United States has three grids (networks) of electrical supply systems. If enough power stations within one grid are shutdown, the grid will fail. If one grid fails, the other two grids are programmed to attempt to shift energy to the failed grid. The two remaining grids cannot handle the overload. That would force them to fail. The U.S. would be without power until those grids are repaired. How long will that take?

Consider that MOST citizens are not prepared for sustaining themselves for extended periods of time. The demand for food and beverages will not go down. Stores will be drained of existing supplies on their shelves, if not purchased then stolen – even by force. Gasoline and diesel stations, even if they have hand pumps, will run out of fuel. There will be no trucks to resupply them. Farmers will have crops, but there will be no trucks, trains, aircraft or ships to distribute them across the country.

We, as peacekeepers, have a responsibility to warn those in charge of our country’s infrastructure to make their equipment resistant to EMP devices. It is expensive, but it is essential to the security of our homeland.

—Sgt. Roger C. Bull, JPSO (retired)