A new network television drama is presenting the cataclysmic consequences of an EMP attack, but the United States government is still ignoring the threat.
The new NBC television show “Revolution” portrays life in the former United States 15 years after an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, disables all electronics. Society collapses almost instantly, and the country devolves into a collection of mutually hostile self-styled militias, private armies and warring tribes.
Former members of the Marine Corps become warlords. Google executives become rifle-toting soldiers. Insurance salesmen transform into militia members.
Basic necessities that Americans take for granted, such as widely available food and clean water, become inaccessible as millions die from starvation, disease or widespread violence.
The premise of the show sounds fantastic. However, as national security expert F. Michael Maloof points out in his upcoming book, “A Nation Forsaken,” the show may actually downplay the threat.
An EMP is caused by an explosion of charged particles, such as the detonation of a nuclear weapon in high altitude. The resulting wave wipes out electronics throughout the affected area.
Because of American society’s reliance on computers and electronic equipment, this would mean that financial, medical, security and logistical systems would fail simultaneously. The result could be a wholesale breakdown of civil society.
Prominent political leaders, including former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., have warned for years about the danger posed by EMP.
But media outlets such as the New York Times have disparaged these views and downplayed the EMP threat, characterizing it as improbable science fiction. As Maloof writes in “A Nation Forsaken,” media attention to the threat is downplayed only when preparation efforts are advocated by conservatives.
In contrast, the producers of “Revolution” seem to take the threat seriously, noting, “We did our homework and came up with something that’s actually plausible.”
An EMP attack does not require an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, to be effective. A short-range rocket launched from a ship would be sufficient to knock out the electric grid of most of the United States.
Maloof points out that North Korea already has this capability and Iran is developing it. Countries such as Russia and China already could make such an event happen.
According to the Heritage Foundation, “The result of a massive EMP event could be devastating. Communications would collapse, transportation would halt, and electrical power would simply be nonexistent. Not even a global humanitarian effort would be enough to keep hundreds of millions of Americans from death by starvation, exposure, or lack of medicine.”
Despite the threat, Maloof writes that the federal government is ignoring the necessary steps needed to defend against such an attack.
Critical infrastructure can be hardened to defend against the effects of an EMP attack. The investment needed is relatively modest, especially when compared to the incalculable human and financial costs of a successful EMP attack against the United States. However, attempts to mandate protection for critical infrastructure have failed.
“Revolution” may just be a television show but the effects of an EMP attack are very real, Maloof warned. Even more concerning is the possibility of a “natural” EMP caused by increased solar activity. Massive solar flares can disrupt electronic systems in the same way as an EMP – and there are predictions for increased solar activity in 2013.
In an exclusive interview with WND, Maloof said, “One of the takeaways from ‘Revolution’ is how the existing security and political systems all failed. People were left completely on their own. I’m afraid that’s what is happening today in regards to what is an absolutely critical security issue.”
“A Nation Forsaken,” coming out in a few months, doesn’t merely describe the effects of an EMP attack. It also provides a checklist for how individual families can prepare themselves for the day when the lights go out for good.
Maloof observes, “The characters of ‘Revolution’ would have had an easier time of it if they had just read my book!”