[Congressional Record: June 9, 2005 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
NUCLEAR ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Mack). Under the Speaker's announced
policy of January 4, 2005, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Bartlett)
is recognized for 60 minutes.
Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland. Mr. Speaker, the subject that I want to
spend a few moments talking about this afternoon really began for our
country in 1962. We were still testing nuclear weapons then, and for
the first time the United States tested a weapon above the atmosphere.
This weapon was detonated over Johnston Island in the Pacific. This was
a part of a series of tests called the Fishbowl Series, and this was
Operation Starfish in 1962.
We had no prior experience with the
detonation of a weapon above the atmosphere. We prepared for this test
with airplanes and ships using radar and theodelites and
instrumentation to measure the effects on the ground from a blast that
was some 400 kilometers in altitude.
In conversations just today with Dr. Lowell Wood from Lawrence
Livermore Laboratory, I learned more of the details of the results of
that test. They had not anticipated the magnitude of the effects at the
ground under the blast; so many of their instruments simply pegged and
they were not able to get a clear indication of the effects.
I might note that the Soviets had extensive testing experience with EMP over
their own territory. They had a much larger territory than we and some
of it quite remote; so they were able to instrument more extensively
and had a lot more experience than we have had. This was our first and
only experience with a superatmospheric detonation of a nuclear weapon.
The effects over Hawaii, which was about 800 miles away, included
several totally unexpected things; so there was no instrumentation on
Hawaii to record the effects.
So all they can divine from the effects is what happened. Some street
lights went out, and analysis after the fact indicated that these were
the street lights that were oriented so that there was a very long line
effect. In other words, the wires feeding the street lights constituted
a very long antenna which received the signals from the detonation in
space such that there was arcing and some of the street lights went
out. This was investigated, and some of the failures were retained and
were shown to a commission that I will talk about in a few minutes, Mr.
Speaker, that spent 2 years studying these effects and the risk to our
military and to our country.
There were other effects in communications and so forth. As I said,
none of this was expected; so there was no instrumentation. We have
since tried to determine the effects of what is called electromagnetic
pulse produced by a nuclear detonation. We have done that with
laboratory devices, some of them quite large that could expose a whole
airplane, but none of them obviously large enough to include miles and
miles of long-line effect.
The EMP pulse at that distance was estimated to be about five
kilovolts per meter. We will have occasion in a little bit to talk
about that in light of present capabilities. Because there was intense
activity above the atmosphere, the Van Allen belts were pumped up; so
there were a number of low Earth orbit satellites that decayed very
rapidly as they passed through the Van Allen belts.
Mr. Speaker, I want to kind of put what we are going to say in
context. So I want to indicate here some of the seriousness of EMP and
its implications. In 1999, I sat in a hotel room in Vienna, Austria. I
was there with 10 other Members of Congress and several staff members.
We had there three members of the Russian Duma and a representative of
Slobodan Milosevic. This was just prior to the resolution of the Kosovo
conflict. We developed with them a framework agreement that was adopted
about 5 days later by the G-8, which the Members may remember ended the
One of the members of the Russian Duma was Vladimir Lukin, who was
well known to this country because he was the ambassador here at the
end of Bush I and the beginning of the Clinton administration. At that
time he was a very senior member of the Russian Duma. He was very angry
and sat for 2 days in that hotel room with his arms crossed looking at
the ceiling. We had not early asked the Russians for help and they felt
offended about that, and the statement he made expressing that
sentiment was that ``you spit on us. Now why should we help you?'' And
then he made a statement that stunned us. The leader of that delegation
was the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. *Weldon*), who speaks and
understands some Russian. And when Vladimir Lukin was speaking, he
turned to me and he said, ``Did you hear what he said?''
Of course I heard what he said, but I did not understand it because I
do not understand Russian.
But then it was translated, and this is what he said: ``If we really
wanted to hurt you with no fear of retaliation, we would launch an
SLBM,'' which if it was launched in a submarine at sea, we really would
not know for certain where it came from. ``We would launch an SLBM, we
would detonate a nuclear weapon high above your country, and we would
shut down your power grid and your communications for 6 months or so.''
The third-ranking communist was there in the country. His name is
Alexander Shurbanov, and he smiled and said, ``And if one weapon would
not do it, we have some spares.'' I think the number of those spares
now is something like 6,000 weapons.
This likely consequence of a high-altitude nuclear burst was
corroborated by Dr. Lowell Wood, who in a field hearing at the Johns
Hopkins University applied physics laboratory, made the observation
that a burst like this above our atmosphere creating this
electromagnetic pulse would be like a giant continental time machine
turning us back to the technology of 100 years ago.
It is very obvious that the population of today in its distribution could not be supported by the technology of 100 years ago. And I asked Dr. Wood, I said, ``Dr.
Wood, clearly the technology of 100 years ago could not support our
present population in its distribution,'' and his unemotional response
was, ``Yes, I know. The population will shrink until it can be
supported by the technology.''
Just a word, Mr. Speaker, about what this EMP is. It is very much
like a really giant solar storm. All of us are familiar with solar
storms and with the disruption to our communication systems. And this
is like a really giant solar storm. It is kind of like really intense
static electricity everywhere all at once, all over the whole country.
is sort of like a lightning strike that is not just isolated to one
spot. Different than a lightning strike in terms of the intensities and
so forth and the spectrum, but it would be everywhere all at once over
a very large area.
I have here in front of me the report, and I will have occasion to
refer to that again a little later, the report of the Commission to
Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)
Attack. This is the executive summary. The report itself is very thick
and there is a big classified addendum to the big report. And I just
want to turn to one page here, and this is page 4, and it says: ``What
is significant about an EMP attack is that one or a few high-altitude
nuclear detonations can produce EMP effects that can potentially
disrupt or damage electronic and electrical systems over much of the
United States virtually simultaneously at a time determined by an
I talked a little bit about what EMP is. It produces a large number
of Compton electrons above our atmosphere which are trapped by the
magnetic fields around the Earth. They move at the speed of light. The
prompt effects are such that if the voltage is high enough, all
electronic equipment within line of sight is damaged or destroyed.
These are called prompt effects. And, of course, satellites are very
soft because it costs about $10,000 a pound to launch a satellite; so
they do not launch a lot of hardening on the satellite if they do not
So all of the satellites within line of sight would be taken out by
prompt effects. It would not go so high, by the way, as the satellites
that are 22,500 miles above the Earth. And it would pump up the Van
Allen belts so that satellites that were not in line of sight would die
very quickly and one could not reconstitute the satellite network by
launching new ones because they also would die quickly.
Let me show a chart here that shows the effects of this bomb
exploding over the United States, and this shows a single weapon. This
shows a single weapon detonated at the northwest corner of Iowa, and it
shows it at about 600 kilometers high, and this would blanket all of
the United States. And the concentric circles here, not true circles
because there is a little distortion of the electrical fields by the
magnetic waves around the Earth, but these represent the intensity of
the field that is produced by this. At the center we can see it is 100
percent. But even out at the margins of our country, it is down to 50
Now, a little later I will show a statement from some Russian
generals that were reviewed by the people who put together this report,
and they said that the Russians had developed weapons that produced 200
kilovolts per meter. Remember, the effects in Hawaii were judged to be
the result of five kilovolts per meter. So this is a force about 200
times higher. The Russian generals said that they believed that to be
several times higher than the hardening that we had provided for our
military platforms that they could resist EMP. [Our hardening would not survive the greater EMP]
Others know about EMP. I did not want anybody to believe that we were
letting the genie out of the bottle and others did not know about that.
I mentioned earlier the statement by Vladimir Lukin, the Russian member
of their Duma, and this is the statement that I referred to here, and
that was in May 2, 1999: ``Chinese military writings described EMP as
the key to victory and described scenarios where EMP is used against
U.S. aircraft carriers in the conflict over Taiwan.'' So it is not like
our potential enemies do not know that this exists. The Soviets had
very wide experience with this, and there is a lot of information in
the public domain relative to this.
``A survey of worldwide military and scientific literature sponsored
by the commission,'' that is the commission that wrote this report,
``found widespread knowledge about EMP and its potential military
utility including in Taiwan, Israel, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Iran, and
Terrorist information warfare includes using the technology of
directed energy weapons. These are little weapons that produce an EMP-
like effect, but over a very much more restricted area, and also
electromagnetic pulse produced from nuclear weapons.
By the way, an enemy no more sophisticated than Saddam Hussein would
need no more than a tramp steamer, a Scud missile and a crude nuclear
weapon like is probably available in North Korea or might be bought or
stolen from some Russian source. That would not shut down the whole
United States, because the Scud missile could not carry it high enough,
but it would certainly shut down the whole Northeast.
By the way, this is not like the Northeast blackout that we had a
couple of years ago. This would produce damage that you would not
recover from simply by turning a switch. It would probably destroy
large transformers. These very large transformers are made to order,
and if you need one, they will build you one, not in this country, we
do not build the big ones anymore, they will build you one over in
Europe or Scandinavia, and it will take maybe a year-and-a-half to 2
years to get it. So it is not like you are going to recover from this
Iran has tested launching of a Scud missile from a surface vessel, a
launch mode that could support a national or transnational EMP attack
against the United States.
We have a second chart which shows more of the evidence that
potential enemies out there know that this is a potential weapon.
``If the world's industrial countries fail to devise effective ways
to defend themselves against dangerous electronic assaults, then they
will disintegrate within a few years. 150,000 computers belong to the
U.S. Army. If the enemy forces succeed in infiltrating the information
network of the U.S. Army, then the whole organization would collapse,
the American soldiers could not find food to eat, nor would they be
able to fire a single shot.''
I kind of think they would be able to find food to eat. This is from
an Iranian journal, so you know they know about this and they are
thinking about this.
``Terrorist information warfare includes using the technology of
directed energy weapons, magnetic pulse.'' I referred to that earlier.
Iran has conducted tests with its Shahab-3 missile that have been
described as failures by the Western media because the missiles did not
complete their ballistic trajectories, but were deliberately exploded
at high altitude. This, of course, would be exactly what you would want
to do if you were going to use an EMP weapon.
Today we are very much concerned, Mr. Speaker, about asymmetric
weapons. We are a big, powerful country. Nobody can contend with us
shoulder-to-shoulder, face-to-face. So all of our potential adversaries
are looking for what we refer to as asymmetric weapons. That is a
weapon that overcomes our superior capabilities. There is no asymmetric
weapon that has anywhere near the potential of EMP.
Iran described these tests as successful. We said they were a failure
because they blew up in flight. They described them as successful. Of
course, they would be, if Iran's intent was practicing for an EMP
Iran's Shahab-3 is a medium-range mobile missile that could be driven
on to a freighter and transported to a point near the United States for
an EMP attack. I might state that an early use of EMP is a common
occurrence in Russia and Chinese war games.
I just would like to spend a moment or two talking about kind of the
history of how we got here and why the big concern about EMP and the
risk that it poses to us. I mentioned Operation Starfish in 1962.
Then we really had a scary event which we did not know about for
quite some time that happened in 1995 when there was a Norwegian
weather rocket that was set off. The Norwegians had told the Russians
that they were going to fire this weapon, but that did not get to the
proper level. When the weapon was fired, it was interpreted by the
Russians as a potential first strike of the United States against them
and they had alerted their nuclear missile response. They came very
close to launching that, and we did not know about that until some time
In 1997 I had a very interesting experience. I am on the Committee on
Armed Services. This was during the Clinton administration, and he had
set up a Commission on Critical Infrastructure. General Marsh, retired,
chairing that Commission on Critical Infrastructure. This was
infrastructure that was so critical that if an enemy could take it out,
we would be very much disadvantaged by it. I asked him about EMP, had
they looked at that?
His answer was, yes, they looked at it.
He said, well, we did not think there was a high probability that
would happen, so we did not continue to look at it anymore.
I told him, gee, with that attitude, if you have not already, I am
sure when you go home tonight you are going to cancel the fire
insurance on your home.
What one needs when there is the potential for a very high-impact,
low-probability event, is what we call insurance. I think that every
American citizen has the right to ask their government, have you made
the proper insurance investment to protect me, to protect my country,
in the event, which we hope is not a high probability, in the event
that there is an EMP attack against our country?
Your home burning, by the way, is not a high probability event. You
may have a $300,000 home and it may cost you $300 for fire insurance
for the year. So you can do the simple arithmetic that tells you the
insurance company does not expect very many homes to burn that year.
Then the next event in this little timeline was my trip to Vienna,
Austria, when I met there in that hotel room with Members of the
Russian Duma. In 2001 we had some tests at Aberdeen with a device that
was made using only the equipment that a terrorist might buy from Radio
Shack or a place like that to see if you could put together a directed
energy weapon, a weapon, by the way, that if sophisticated enough one
might drive down Wall Street and take out all the computers in the
financial market. It would not go further than that, but if it did
that, that would, of course, be an enormous blow.
In 2001, the Commission was set up and then in 2004, last year, we
have the report of the Commission.
I just would like to show you a chart now of the commissioners. We
will not have time to talk about the capabilities of all of these
commissioners, but I will assure you that these are all giants in their
area. They were appointed from among the foremost scientists, experts
and military officers in the United States to achieve a mix of talent
on scientific aspects of EMP, nuclear weapon design, military
implications of EMP and the effects of EMP on civilian and military
Dr. William Graham, the Commission chairman, was science advisor to
President Reagan. He ran NASA and was one of the first scientists to
study the EMP phenomenon when it was first discovered by its United
States in 1962.
Commissioner John Foster, Johnny Foster, who designed most of the
nuclear weapons in the inventory the United States today, was a
director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and for decades
has been a close adviser to the Department of Defense on nuclear
Dr. Lowell Wood is a member of the director's staff at Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory where he inherited the scientific mantel
of Dr. Edward Teller, the inventor of the hydrogen bomb.
I had a very interesting personal experience related to Dr. Lowell
Wood. When I became interested a number of years ago in EMP and the
potential implications, I knew that Tom Clancy, who lives in Maryland
and he has come to do several events for me, I knew that he had a novel
in which EMP was one of the sequences in his novel. I know that Tom
Clancy does very good research. So I called to ask him about EMP and
He said that if I had read his book, I probably knew as much about
EMP as he knew, but he was going to refer me to what he said was in his
view was the smartest person hired by the U.S. Government, and that was
Dr. Lowell Wood. So Dr. Lowell Wood comes with great recommendations.
Commissioner Richard Lawson was a USAF general, served on the Joint
Chiefs of Staff and was Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the U.S.-European
Dr. Joan Woodard, I had a very interesting experience with Dr.
Woodard. I was visiting my son and daughter and children out in
Albuquerque, he works at the Sandia Labs, and he brought home a little
note talking about a seminar they were having which was exploring some
issues that I thought would be relevant to the work that the Commission
was doing. I did not know at that time that she was a member of the
So I asked for a briefing, and I spent 5 hours in a classified
briefing at Sandia Labs. And it was not just Dr. Joan Woodard, it was a
large number of people at the labs there that were focusing primarily
on the national infrastructure consequences of this.
What I would like to do now is go through some of the statements and
recommendations of the report. The next chart shows the threat and the
nature and magnitude of EMP threats within the next 15 years.
On the right you see the coverage that is produced by weapons
detonated at various altitudes. I mentioned 600 kilometers. Actually
500 kilometers pretty much covers the margins of our country and, of
course, the lower the altitude you detonate it, the less area that it
covers, but the higher will be the intensity of the pulse that is
This is a direct quote from the EMP Commission report: ``EMP is one
of a small number of threats that may hold at risk the continued
existence of today's U.S. civil society.''
Now, that is couched in the careful kind of scientific terms, but
what that really means is that a really robust EMP laydown, which, as
Vladimir Lukin in that hotel room in Vienna, Austria said, would shut
down our power grid and communications for 6 months or so. And if one
weapon would not do it, as Alexander Shaponov said, four absolutely
would do it, particularly with the power of the weapons that the
Russian generals say that they have developed.
What this would do is to produce a society in which the only person
you could talk to was the person next to you, unless you happened to be
a ham operator with a vacuum tube set, which, by the way, is 1 million
times less susceptible to EMP than your present equipment that the hams
use. And the only way you could get anywhere was to walk, because, you
see, if the pulse is intense enough, it turns off all the computers in
your car. There will be no electricity, so even if the car ran, you
could not get gas.
By the way, if you have a car that still has a coil and distributor,
you are probably okay, because those are pretty robust structures
compared to today's cars with so much microelectronics in them.
It would disrupt our military forces and our ability to project
military power. For the last decade, Mr. Speaker, we have been waiving
hardening on essentially all of our military platforms because it costs
maybe as little as 1 percent, maybe like 5 percent more to harden. It
can be done. That is the good news story. If you do not harden, you can
get 5 percent more weapons systems. And since we have had so little
money during those years, the Pentagon opted to run this risk. With
terrorists about, I think that is probably a risk we do not want to
continue to run.
The number of U.S. adversaries capable of EMP attack is greater than
during the Cold War. We may look back with some fondness on the Cold
War. We then had only one potential adversary. We knew him quite well.
Now we have who knows how many potential adversaries, and they come
from very different cultures than we, and we have a great deal of
difficulty in understanding them and communicating with them.
Potential adversaries are aware of the EMP's strategic attack option.
I started, Mr. Speaker, with talking about the fact that I was not
letting the genie out of the bottle. Ninety-nine percent of Americans
may not know very much about EMP, but I will assure you, Mr. Speaker,
that 100 percent of our potential enemies know all about EMP. I think
that the American people need to know about EMP because they need to
demand that their government do the prudent thing so that we will be
less and less susceptible, less and less at risk to an EMP attack year
by year. The threat is not adequately addressed in U.S. national
and homeland security programs. Not only is it not adequately
addressed; it is usually ignored, not even mentioned, and it certainly
needs to be considered.
I might note that Senator John Kyl, with whom I served in the House
on the Committee on Armed Services, wrote just a couple of weeks ago a
very nice editorial in the Washington Post, and we will have his quote
a little later, on EMP effects and how we need to be about preparing
ourselves for that.
Terrorists could steal, purchase, or be provided a nuclear weapon and
perform an EMP attack against the United States simply by launching a
primitive Scud missile off a freighter near our shores. We do not need
to be thinking about missiles coming over the Pole. There are thousands
of ships out there, particularly in the North Atlantic shipping lanes,
and any one of them could have a Scud missile on board. If you put a
canvas over it, we cannot see through the thinnest canvas. We would not
know whether it was bailed hay or bananas or a Scud launcher. You
cannot see through any cover on ship. The Commission on the Emerging
Ballistic Missile Threat chaired by Secretary Rumsfeld before he was
Secretary, and Dr. Bill Graham, the chairman of this commission was his
vice-chair, found that ships had been modified so that they had
missile-launching tubes in ordinary freighters. You can read that in
Scud missiles can be purchased on the world market today for less
than $100,000. Al Qaeda is estimated to own about 80 freighters, so all
they need, Mr. Speaker, is $100,000, which I am sure they can get, for
the missile and a crude nuclear weapon.
Certain types of low-yield nuclear weapons can generate potentially
catastrophic EMP effects. These certain types of weapons are weapons
that have been designed for enhanced EMP effects. They may have little
explosive effect, but very high EMP effects over wide geographic areas,
and designs for various such weapons may have been illicitly trafficked
for a quarter of a century. We are certain that the Chinese have them.
Of course the Russians have them; they developed probably better or at
least as good designs as we developed. We designed them, by the way,
but never built them. The Russians we understand have both designed and
built them, and we now believe those designs to be pretty widespread
out around the world.
The next chart shows the comments from the Russian generals, and to
protect the Russian generals we have redacted their names. But the
commission met with Russian generals, and they claim that Russia has
designed a super-EMP nuclear weapon capable of generating 200 kilovolts
per meter. And the Russian generals told our commission people that
they believe that to be several times higher than the level two, which
we had hardened our weapons systems; even those that are hardened and,
as I mentioned, Mr. Speaker, most of our weapons systems now procured
are not hardened.
Russian, Chinese, and Pakistani scientists are working in North Korea
and could enable that country to develop an EMP weapon in the near
future. Now, this is not what the commission said; this is what the
commission reported the Russian generals to have said.
The next chart shows additional comments from the EMP Commission
report. States or terrorists may well calculate that using a nuclear
weapon for EMP attack offers the greatest utility. Mr. Speaker, there
is no way that a country could use a nuclear weapon against the United
States that would be as devastating as using it to produce an EMP lay-
down. I had not noted, but I should note, Mr. Speaker, that there is no
effect on you or me from this weapon. We are quite immune to that. We
will not be damaged by that. Buildings will not be damaged by that. It
will affect only electric and electronic equipment.
EMP offers a bigger bang for the buck. Now, this is from their
report; I am not saying this. EMP offers a bigger bang for the buck
against U.S. military forces in a regional conflict or a means of
damaging the U.S. homeland. EMP may be less provocative of U.S. massive
retaliation compared to a nuclear attack on a U.S. city that inflicts
many prompt calories. [Causalities?]
Just a couple of words about this. As Vladimir Lukin said, if it were
launched from the ocean, we would not know who launched it. So against
whom would we retaliate? Even if we knew who launched it, Mr. Speaker,
if all they have done is to disable our computers, do we respond in
kind, or do you incinerate their grandmothers and their babies? This
would be a really tough call.
Responding in kind might do very little
good. There is no other country in the world that has anything like our
sophistication in electronic equipment, and no other country in the
world is so dependent as we are on our national infrastructure. So this
is a real problem and a big incentive to use this weapon without fear
of retaliation, as Vladimir Lukin says, with no fear of retaliation.
EMP could, compared to a nuclear attack on the city, kill many more
Americans in the long run from indirect effects of collapsed
infrastructures of power, communications, transportation, food, and
water. Can you imagine our country, Mr. Speaker, with 285 million
people, no electricity, and there will be no electricity, no
transportation, no communication? The only way you can go anywhere is
to walk, and the only person you can talk to is the person next to you.
What would we do?
How many of our people might not survive the
transition from that situation to where you had established a sort of
infrastructure that could support civil society as we know it today.
Strategically and politically, an EMP attack can threaten entire
regional or national infrastructures that are vital to U.S. military
strength and societal survival, challenge the integrity of allied
regional coalitions, and pose an asymmetrical threat more dangerous to
the high-tech West than to rogue states. This makes the point that I
was making that because we are the most sophisticated, we are the most
Technically and operationally, EMP attacks can compensate for
deficiencies in missile accuracy, fusing range, reentry, velocity
design, target location, *intelligence*, and missile defense penetration.
We are really superior in all of these areas, and none of our enemies
out there, except for Russia and China, and we would not expect an
attack like this from either of them, but there is nobody else out
there who really can be very good shots with their missiles.
But what the EMP Commission report is pointing out is, they do not
need to be. Anywhere over the northeastern United States will shut down
all of the northeastern United States, and anywhere near the middle of
our country, you can miss it by 100 miles and it really will not
matter. Anything near the middle of our country detonated high enough
with the right kind of weapon will blanket the whole country with an
EMP force that could knock out all of our electronic equipment.
The next chart shows some other comments in the EMP report. One or a
few high-altitude nuclear detonations can produce EMP simultaneously
over wide geographical areas. As the chart we showed earlier, the whole
country can be blanketed with one about 600 kilometers high.
The thing they were really concerned about, because we have a very
sophisticated infrastructure with lots of interdependencies, they were
really concerned about the cascading failure, unprecedented cascading
failure of our electronics-based infrastructures, which could result in
power, energy, transport, telecom, and financial systems and are
particularly vulnerable and interdependent. And if one of them comes
down, if you bring down the power grid, Mr. Speaker, you have brought
down all of these other parts of our national infrastructure. EMP
disruption of these sectors could cause large-scale infrastructure
failures for all aspects of the Nation's life.
Now, these are not my words; these are taken from the EMP Commission
report. This commission was set up as a part of public law, and that is
noted here on this chart. Both civilian and military capabilities
depend on these infrastructures. Without adequate protection, recovery
could be prolonged months to years for recovery. And here on the right
is a little depiction showing some, and there are more than that,
showing some of the interrelationships. For instance, electric power is
not shown as important for water or for banking and finance, and
for government services; and of course it is. So if you do not have
electric power, for instance, you do not have any of these other
There was a number of years ago a scientist by the name of Harrison
Scott Brown. I think that he worked at CalTech, and he offered a series
of seminars called the ``Next 100 Years.'' This was during the Cold
War. And one of the questions that it was appropriate to ask during the
Cold War was, What would you do after the nuclear attack? You may
remember, Mr. Speaker, your parents talking about the backyard shelters
that were built during the 1960s.
Sometime after that I went to work
for IBM and they were still talking about the fact that IBM had loaned
its employees money interest-free to build a backyard shelter. There
was a real concern that there could be a bolt out of the blue and that
we could have a nuclear attack. We had a big civil defense organization
with lots of shelters. They were stocked, and you were given pamphlets
and you were told where to go.
I think, Mr. Speaker, that today, with the potential for terrorist
attack, we need to turn back a few pages and learn from our experience
during the Cold War when we recognized that the more prepared an
individual and a family was to be self-sufficient during that attack,
the stronger we would be as a whole; and I think that we could profit,
at least have a more intense focus on civil defense in our homeland
Harrison Scott Brown was concerned about what you would do after you
came out of the fallout shelter and how you would reconstitute your
society to reestablish the kind of an infrastructure that you had
before the attack.
His concern was that in the United States, and this
was a number of years ago, his concern would be even greater were he
alive today, his concern then was that we had developed such a
sophisticated, interrelated infrastructure, that if it came down like a
house of cards, that it might be very difficult, maybe, he thought, and
I will explain in a moment why, maybe impossible to reestablish that
infrastructure. Because, he noted, that this infrastructure was built
up gradually from very simple to very complex, when there was available
to us a rich resource of raw materials, high-quality iron ore. That is
all gone. Our best ores now, I think, are \1/2\ of 1 percent taconite
When oil essentially oozed out of the ground, when the water washed
the dirt away, you could see coal exposed in some of the hills of
Pennsylvania. The oil now is deep and hard to get or offshore or in the
Arctic. All the good coal has been burned. Now, to get oil and to get
coal, we have to have the infrastructure. You have to have diesel fuel
shipped to you. You have to have large excavators.
His concern was that if our infrastructure collapsed as a result of a
nuclear attack, today we are talking about an EMP attack, which does
not blow up buildings, but it shuts down the infrastructure because it
would destroy, disrupt all of the electronic equipment if the pulse was
high enough; and a determined, sophisticated enemy could make sure that
it was high enough.
So he was concerned that maybe it would not be possible now without
that high-quality, readily available resource of raw materials that
might be very difficult without massive help from other parts of the
world that we could reconstitute our society.
I think, Mr. Speaker, that we need to be looking at that threat to
our country today. I am sure it is no less a threat now than it was
when Harrison Scott Brown was holding those seminars.
In 2004, the EMP Commission met with very senior Russian officers,
and we showed that on the sign. They warned that the knowledge and
technology to develop what they called super EMP weapons had been
transferred to North Korea and that North Korea could probably develop
these weapons in the near future, within a few years.
The Russian officers said that the threat that would be posed to
global security by a North Korean armed with super EMP weapons was, in
their view, and I am sure, Mr. Speaker, in your view and mine,
You know, why use EMP, as we noted in a previous chart? A terrorist
or rogue state might be so inaccurate that they could not even use a
nuclear weapon to take out New York City. They might hit the
countryside somewhere near. But it would not really matter with that
low accuracy if they were doing an EMP laydown. Because anywhere over
New England would be quite good enough, and there is no way that they
could do as much damage to our country by a ground burst, even if it
hit the city, than if they could do a high altitude burst, which
produced EMP and took down, if it was intense enough, all of our
EMP has such a wide area of effect that if the weapon is large enough
or several are used, covering potentially an entire continent, that
even a highly inaccurate missile could not miss its target in an EMP
effect. EMP attack involves exoatmospheric detonation, meaning that
attack, this is really interesting, Mr. Speaker, this attack would
occur before the weapon ever reentered the atmosphere. So even if we
were really good at taking out weapons before they hit us, it really
would not matter, because this is detonated before it starts to
reenter. So any weapon that would take out a missile on its final
descent would be useless, because it has already detonated and the
damage is done at altitude.
Increased dependence on advanced electronic systems results in the
potential for an increased EMP vulnerability. And what this does is to
make that attack more attractive to our assailants. The fact that we
are ever more sophisticated and therefore ever more vulnerable makes it
ever more attractive to our adversaries, because this really becomes
the ultimate asymmetric weapon.
EMP threatens the ability of the United States and western nations to
project influence and military power, because a third-world country
with a crude missile and a crude nuclear weapon could, in effect, hold
us hostage. This is why it is so important that we stop the spread of
EMP can cause catastrophic damage to the Nation by destroying the
electric power infrastructure, causing cascading failures in the
infrastructure for everything: telecommunications, energy,
transportation, finance, food, and water.
I live on a farm. I cannot even get a drink of water without
electricity, because the pump in my well that supplies my water has to
have electricity. So we are all really dependent on this
Degradation, and this is really minimized, degradation of the
infrastructures could have irreversible effects on the country's
ability to support its population, and then millions could die. That is
In the final analysis, Mr. Speaker, the EMP Commission report is
really a good news story. So far what we have been talking about does
not really sound like good news, does it? It sounds like the worst of
all news that you could get. But there really is good news here, and
the good news is that we do not have to be this vulnerable. It is
really not all that expensive to protect our systems against EMP. You
just have to do it.
But we have a problem, and that is the cheapest way to do it is when
you are making them, if you design it in. Then it may cost as little as
1 percent more. For really sophisticated electronic stuff, probably not
more than 10 percent more. But if you are trying to add it after it is
built, then it can cost you as much as the device itself, which means
that we need to start, you can only do what you can do, and we need to
start in our national infrastructure by deciding what is most essential
to protect and then expeditiously protecting that as fast as we can.
Every new water system we put in, every new sewage system we put in,
every new power line we run, every new distribution system we put in
needs to be hardened. It is not all that expensive to do. You just need
to do it.
Now we have hardened in the military our command and control. We are
pretty sure that we can talk to each other after an EMP laydown. But
that does not give me much solace, Mr. Speaker, because that is the
equivalent of me having my brain and spinal cord work, but my arms and
my hands will not work. I am not sure just having the capability of my
with my spinal cord does me much good if my arms and my legs will not
respond to those signals.
The EMP Commission has proposed a 5-year plan that, if implemented,
would protect the United States from the catastrophic consequences of
EMP attack and make recovery possible at surprisingly modest cost.
I would like now to turn to a statement that was made by Dr. John
Kyl. I mentioned his name earlier. Last week, the Senate Judiciary
Committee Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security,
which I chair, his words in his op-ed piece, held a hearing on a major
threat to the United States not only from terrorists but from rogue
nations like North Korea.
An EMP attack is one of only a few ways that America could be
essentially defeated by our enemies, terrorists or otherwise. Few if
any people would die right away, but the long-term loss of electricity
would essentially bring our society to a halt. Few can conceive of the
possibility that terrorists could bring American society to its knees
by knocking out our power supply from several miles in the atmosphere.
But this time we have been warned, and we better be prepared to
respond. We really do need to respond.
Here is another statement from Major Franz Gayl.
The impact that EMP is asymmetric in relation to our adversaries, now
these are all in the public domain. I want to be very careful, Mr.
Speaker, that I do not leave the impression that I am letting the genie
out of the bottle. Ninety-nine percent of Americans may not know about
EMP, but I will guarantee you 100 percent of our adversaries know about
EMP. And we need to know about EMP, because to be forewarned is to be
forearmed, and we need to do something about that.
The impact that EMP is asymmetric in relation to our adversaries, the
less developed societies in North Korea, Iran and other potential EMP
attack perpetrators are less electronically dependent and less
specialized, while more capable of continued functionality in the
absence of modern conveniences.
I do not know that outside of Pyongyang that many people in North
Korea would even know if electricity went out. I am not sure they
depend much on electricity.
Conversely, the United States would be subject to widespread
paralysis and doubtful recovery following a surprise EMP attack.
Therefore, terrorists and their coincidentally allied state sponsors
may determine that, given just a few nuclear weapons and delivery
vehicles, that subjecting the United States to a potentially non-
attributable EMP attack, we would not even know where it came from if
it came from the oceans, is more desirable than the destruction of
selected cities. Delayed mass lethality is assured over time through
the cascade of EMPs' indirect effects that would bring our highly
specialized and urbanized society to a disorderly halt.
The vulnerability of the United States to EMP attack serves as the
latest revelation that societal protections associated with our
national security can no longer be assured by traditional nuclear
deterrence and battlefield preparations on their own.
Let me put up now a conclusion chart. The EMP threat is one of a few
potentially catastrophic threats to the United States. By taking
action, the EMP threat can be reduced to manageable levels, but we
should have started yesterday, Mr. Speaker. We just must start today.
U.S. strategy to address the EMP threat should balance prevention,
preparation, protection and recovery. We need to be studying all four
of these. Critical military capabilities must be survivable and
endurable to underwrite U.S. strategy. If they can bring down our
military, that really puts us at risk.
The 2006 Defense Authorization Bill contains a provision extending
the EMP Commission to ensure that their recommendations will be
implemented. We need to have them around to make sure that we are
following through on their recommendations. Terrorists are looking for
vulnerabilities to attack, and our civilian infrastructure is
particularly susceptible to this kind of attack. It needs to be
When you have a weak underbelly, you are inviting attack there. They
are going to attack at the weakest link, and our infrastructure
complexity is certainly our weakest link. The Department of Homeland
Security needs to identify critical infrastructures. What do we need to
Then we need to have a plan for what would we do if we had the EMP
attack tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, the next year, 5 years from
now. How far along would we be in protecting ourselves? But we need to
have a plan for what we would do in the event that that happens.
The Department of Homeland Security also needs to develop a plan, I
really want to emphasize this, Mr. Speaker, to help citizens deal with
such an attack should it occur. Each of us as individuals, each of us
as families, each of us as a church group, each of us as a community,
needs to have plans for what we would do in the event of an EMP attack.
We need to know what we need to do to prepare so that we are not going
to be a liability on the system. Our strength as a Nation is going to
be greatly increased if each of us as a family, a church group, a
community, is prepared so that we will be less susceptible to the loss
of these infrastructure supports.
Mr. Speaker, this is really a good news story. We know about this
problem. It has not happened yet. We have a great study with great
detailed recommendations of what we need to be doing. The good news is
that if we do these things we will have reduced our vulnerability and
we will have now taken from the enemy an enormous strategic capability
that they now have because we are such a sophisticated society, depend
so much on our infrastructure, and if they can bring down an
infrastructure they can bring us down.
We have a mighty Army. It will not be much good if the folks back
home do not have anything to eat.
Mr. Speaker, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. I am sure Americans
will respond to this challenge. And challenges are really exhilarating.
You feel really good at night if you have met a challenge and you have
had some successes in meeting that challenge.
Mr. Speaker, I think we have a bright future ahead, and it is going
to be even brighter if we respond appropriately to the warnings that
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