North Korea already has satellites in place to deploy a devastating EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack against the United States, an expert on the region has warned Washington.
As The Independent reports, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and a member of a US Congress committee on EMPs, believes that the secretive Asian nation has satellites in place capable of deploying a devastating EMP against the American mainland.
In fact, North Korea is believed to have at least two satellites crossing parts of North America as they complete their estimated 94-minute orbit around the Earth, launched in 2012 and 2016. If a nuclear payload were attached to one of those satellites, says The Daily Star, it could theoretically be used to launch a devastating EMP attack.
“I think what they are mainly going for is the unhardened electric grid. Transportation, communications, all of the other civilian critical infrastructure that we depend upon to keep our population alive.”
Specifically, says Pry, North Korea is using those satellites to practice a “cyber age” version of “battleship diplomacy,” which they are using as leverage should the US impose more sanctions against the Asian regime.
According to Vice, EMP’s were first observed as a result of atomic bomb testing. Essentially, the blast from the nuclear warhead produces a “pulse” of electromagnetic energy that can disrupt the machines and systems that rely on electricity. If deployed across a wide enough area, and EMP could disrupt not only electrical appliances but also the banking industry, the computer and internet industries, the financial industry — indeed, a target EMP attack could “send a major city back to the Stone Age, or knock out a strategically significant military installation in an instant,” according to Pry.
“Nine out of ten Americans could die from starvation, disease, and societal collapse, if the blackout lasted a year.”
And in fact, the U.S. military is indeed reportedly moving some equipment to shielded bunkers to protect it from an EMP attack.
However, as of this writing, the threat of an EMP attack, particularly from North Korea, is more theoretical than real, Sim Tack, a military analyst at the global intelligence firm Stratfor, tells Vice.
“It’s not that EMPs are not a threat. It’s just that—although the effect would be massive—currently they’re not really a risk apart from nuclear strikes, so highlighting them as the greatest threat there is might not be entirely realistic.”
In fact, from a cost-to-benefit standpoint, says Tack, the North Koreans would be better off sending saboteurs to place conventional explosives around power stations than they would trying to deploy EMP weapons.
The U.S.-Korea Institute also agrees that the possibility of North Korea successfully deploying an EMP against the U.S., or anywhere for that matter, is next to nothing.
“Such an attack from North Korea is unlikely, as it would require the North to have much larger nuclear weapons and the missile capability to deliver them.”
If anyone has anything to fear from a North Korean military assault, it’s not necessarily the U.S. It’s South Korea and Japan. Both nations are easily within range of North Korea’s conventional weapons. Further, they have plenty of them, and they have the capability of delivering them.
However, as the Trump administration ramps up its war of words with the Kim Jong-Un regime, the possibility of the U.S. being dragged into a war with North Korea, either directly or indirectly, increases by the day. By almost all interpretations, however, the possibility of the North Koreans successfully deploying and EMP or any other kind of attack against the mainland USA seems remote.
[Featured Image by Wong Maye-E, File/AP Images]