As bad as the coronavirus and the COVID-19 sickness it causes are, warning cries are increasing over a much bigger threat with the potential to kill 90% of the U.S. population. And, unlike the virus, Washington has known of the threat for decades and done little to nothing.
“We have seen this movie before and are living through it now,” said Peter Pry, one of the nation’s leading experts on electromagnetic pulse, the electric grid killer that threatens naturally from the sun and from weapons held by China.
“If we are not even prepared for the coronavirus, imagine the consequences if we get hit with a real existential threat, like EMP,” he said.
Advocates for protecting the nation’s electric grid and other vital systems, including military bases, from an EMP attack are seizing on the virus crisis to inject urgency into budgeting to protect electric transformers, transfer stations, and wires from disruption or meltdown.
“For the $2 trillion that will be spent on the coronavirus, we could harden all critical infrastructures against EMP, deploy space-based missile defense Brilliant Pebbles before the end of a second Trump term, modernize the U.S. nuclear deterrent from top to bottom (delivery vehicles, weapons, scientific-industrial base), and have over $1 trillion to spare,” said Pry, a key member of congressional EMP commissions and author of the new book The Power and the Light: The Congressional EMP Commission’s War to Save America 2001 - 2020.
Brian Sullivan, a government and military security analyst, said, “Can you imagine if our grid went down and we lost electricity for an extended period of time? As bad as our current situation is, it could always be a lot worse. We relied on our government leaders to prepare our country for a pandemic, and we see what that got us. We rely on that same leadership now to protect our electric grid.”
While warnings of the current pandemic have been around for less than a year, reports have been written about EMP attacks for decades. The first congressional EMP panel, for example, warned of a yearlong blackout following an attack on the electric grid.
“The EMP Commission estimates a nationwide blackout of the United States lasting one year could kill 90% of Americans from starvation and societal collapse,” said Pry. That would be about 295 million people.
In the past, warnings have been met inside the government and energy industry with eye-rolling. But President Trump has taken the threat seriously, especially as China and other foes have developed EMP weapons, and signed an executive order to move toward protecting the grid. The military has also taken steps to protect its operations.
But Pry details in his new book the efforts inside the “deep state” federal bureaucracy and electric industry to “slow-roll and sabotage” Trump’s agenda while making it look like they're making progress.
“The strategy of pretending to do something but really doing nothing and then throwing money at the threat when it happens will get millions of Americans killed when there is an EMP,” he told Secrets.