Last year, a congressional commission studied how a high-altitude EMP strike would affect the nation's infrastructure. The answer was simple: It would be devastating. The entire U.S. electrical grid might be gone and all the instruments of daily life that depend on electrical power useless. Life in United States, concluded the commission's chair, scientist William Graham, "would be a lot like life in the 1800s," except with a significantly bigger population. Just keeping modern-day America fed would be virtually impossible without working transportation or communications systems. Water pumping and sewage treatment plants would be off-line. Modern medical care would be virtually non-existent. Even if the rest of the world musteredthelargesthumanitarianmission in human history, the suffering would be unprecedented. EMP attacks are often thought off of as attacks against the U.S. infrastructure. But the truth is a large-scale EMP attack would be an instrument of genocide. Shockingly, some dismiss the threat out of hand. Michael Crowley, writing in The New Republic, dismissed the "Newt Bomb" as science fiction. That seems a real stretch, especially given the report handed to Congress.
EMPs turn the case – causes the power-delivery system to fail
Butt 10 (Yousaf, staff scientist @ Center for Astrophysics @ Harvard, PhD in experimental nuclear astrophysics from Yale, 1/25/10, http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1549/2) JPG
In particular, lower-yield weapons—such as those feared by EMP commission from small adversarial states and/or, possibly, terrorists cells—will have a substantially smaller E3 component than the megaton yield weapons simply because of the size of their ionized fireball is much smaller. This means that the effect of smaller (~kiloton) weapons on long-line power and telephone cables, which couple most effectively to E3, will also be much less than in the megaton cases; however, the E1 fields from such weapons may still be sufficient to disrupt and/or destroy the electronic controls of the power-delivery systems, as well as computers, Blackberrys, cell phones, etc., located within or close to the peak-field region.
EMP ! – General
EMPs are the biggest threat to national security – collapse the economy
Vergano 10 (Dan, writer @ USA Today, 10/27/10, http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2010-10-26-emp_N.htm) JPG
The sky erupts. Cities darken, food spoils and homes fall silent. Civilization collapses. End-of-the-world novel? A video game? Or could such a scenario loom in America's future? There is talk of catastrophe ahead, depending on whom you believe, because of the threat of an electromagnetic pulse triggered by either a supersized solar storm or terrorist A-bomb, both capable of disabling the electric grid that powers modern life. Electromagnetic pulses (EMP) are oversized outbursts of atmospheric electricity. Whether powered by geomagnetic storms or by nuclear blasts, their resultant intense magnetic fields can induce ground currents strong enough to burn out power lines and electrical equipment across state lines. The threat has even become political fodder, drawing warnings from former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a likely presidential contender. "We are not today hardened against this," he told a Heritage Foundation audience last year. "It is an enormous catastrophic threat." Meanwhile, in Congress, a "Grid Act" bill aimed at the threat awaits Senate action, having passed in the House of Representatives. Fear is evident. With the sun's 11-year solar cycle ramping up for its stormy maximum in 2012, and nuclear concerns swirling about Iran and North Korea, a drumbeat of reports and blue-ribbon panels center on electromagnetic pulse scenarios. "We're taking this seriously," says Ed Legge of the Edison Electric Institute in Washington, which represents utilities. He points to a North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) report in June, conducted with the Energy Department, that found pulse threats to the grid "may be much greater than anticipated." There are "some important reasons for concern," says physicist Yousaf Butt of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. "But there is also a lot of fluff." At risk are the more than 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines that cross North America, supplying 1,800 utilities the power for TVs, lights, refrigerators and air conditioners in homes, and for the businesses, hospitals and police stations that take care of us all. "The electric grid's vulnerability to cyber and to other attacks is one of the single greatest threats to our national security," Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said in June as he introduced the bill to the House of Representatives. Markey and others point to the August 2003 blackout that struck states from Michigan to Massachusetts, and southeastern Canada, as a sign of the grid's vulnerability. Triggered by high-voltage lines stretched by heat until they sagged onto overgrown tree branches, the two-day blackout shut down 100 power plants, cut juice to about 55 million people and cost $6 billion, says the 2004 U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force.
EMP ! – General
EMP collapses America’s economy and kills hundreds of millions
Gaines 9 (Kathryn, journalism and philosophy @ Washingtion U, St. Louis, 6/29/9, http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=32480) JPG
An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack is as instantaneous as an atomic bomb blast. It moves like a wall of energy overloading, and destroying all computer based technology. Such an attack would shut down the power grid. Air traffic would be grounded, telephone, internet and other communications would be shut down. America would be reduced to the agricultural economy we had in the 1800s. Despite having developed the technology to protect our infrastructure in the event of an EMP attack, this technology has not been integrated into our infrastructure – our infrastructure has not been hardened: backed up by non-computerized components yet. EMP is not a sci-fi War of the Worlds theory. EMP is a legitimate weapon, and a legitimate threat to the security of our nation. Brief analysis shows that our computerized, electronically-dependent society offers any rogue nation a perfect target: an EMP-vulnerable power grid susceptible of a sucker punch to the heart of our infrastructure. On the floor of the House, Rep. Roscoe Barlett (R-Md) recounted a story of a Russian, who, prior to the G-8 meeting said “If we really wanted to hurt you, with no fear of retaliation, we'd launch an SLBM, submarine launch missile. We wouldn't know where it came from; it came from the sea. And we'd detonate a nuclear weapon high above your country, and it would shut downyour power grid and your communications for 6 months or so.” Our enemies are well aware of what an EMP attack is, and just what precisely it would do. The incentive to attack America through EMP is high because the cost to America would be catastrophic. As the 2004 commission report said “The current vulnerability of our critical infrastructures can both invite and reward attack if not corrected. Correction is feasible and well within the Nation's means and resources to accomplish.” Our electric grid systems, communication networks, financial system, fuel/energy infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, food infrastructure, and most importantly water supply would be corrupted to an un-workable extent in the event of an attack, because we have yet to make the vital corrections. If America were hit with an EMP over the course of one year 90% of Americans would be dead. America would be reduced to third world status.