By Mark Ellis –
For nearly two decades, William R. Forstchen, Ph.D., a professor, military historian, and expert on the subject of EMP strikes, has been warning about the potential of an EMP attack on the U.S., which would cripple America’s aging power grid.
He teaches at Montreat College in North Carolina, the same town Billy and Ruth Graham called home for many years. “Billy Graham lived right up the street from us,” Dr. Forstchen told God Reports. “One of his favorite restaurants was this little Chinese restaurant just down the road from my house. I don’t know how many times I walked in there and people said you should have been here five minutes ago, Rev. Graham was here.” Dr. Forstchen never met the famous evangelist but admired his influence.
Forstchen is also a New York Times bestselling author of the One Second After series, a fictional examination grounded in facts about how an EMP strike above the U.S. would impact society.
While he considers himself an optimist by nature, particularly due to his faith, he’s also been like a voice calling in the desert about the catastrophic impact of an EMP strike.
“The initials EMP stands for electromagnetic pulse,” Dr. Forstchen explained. “It’s created by setting off a small nuclear device 200 miles above the earth’s atmosphere. When it’s detonated, it creates something called the Compton Effect, essentially a giant electrostatic discharge. When it hits the Earth’s surface, it feeds into our electrical grid, and starts shorting the system out.”
In a worst-case scenario, an adversarial nation with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) would need to detonate only three of these devices above the U.S. to bring the entire electrical grid down. Nations that possess such a capability include North Korea, Iran, China, and Russia.
“According to a Department of Energy study, it could take up to five years to restore power. Over 90% of our crucial electrical components are made in China. It can take up to two years for particular components to be delivered. We no longer manufacture the system that we are dependent upon for electricity. which puts us in a very vulnerable position,” he notes.
Anything dependent on electronic components and electricity would potentially be disabled. Water systems would stop pumping water. Airplanes could fall from the sky. Automobiles would roll to a stop on the highways, unable to be restarted (unless made before about 1980). Gasoline could not be pumped. Cash registers would not work. Food would be very difficult to transport.
Here are some potential impacts on electronic devices, according to chat.openai.com:
- Damage to Unprotected Electronics: Unshielded electronic devices, including computers, smartphones, communication systems, power grids, and transportation infrastructure, can experience severe damage or complete failure due to the induced currents and voltage surges caused by the EMP.
- Grid Collapse: The power grid is especially vulnerable to an EMP. Transformers, power lines, and other components can be damaged, leading to widespread power outages and potentially taking months or longer to repair.
- Communication Disruption: Telecommunications systems, including radio, TV, internet, and cellular networks, can be disrupted or rendered inoperable, leading to a breakdown in communication.
- Transportation Disruptions: Modern vehicles rely heavily on electronic systems. An EMP strike could disable vehicles, affecting emergency response, transportation, and logistics.
- Loss of Data: Data storage devices, servers, and cloud-based systems could suffer data corruption or loss, impacting businesses, institutions, and individuals.
- Medical Equipment: Life-saving medical devices and equipment could malfunction, affecting patient care in hospitals and medical facilities.
- Financial Systems: Electronic payment systems and banking infrastructure may be disrupted, impacting financial transactions and the economy.
“Eighty to 90% of the American population would perish within a year after such an attack,” according to studies the professor has seen.
Lack of water would be a first concern. “Places like Los Angeles would be desperate for water. At that point, what are people willing to do to get a bottle of water? The average food supply in a community lasts for about 20 days. What’s in your fridge is defrosting, along with what’s in the supermarket.
Pharmacies would be shut down, medications in short supply. “Disease starts to set in, command and control breaks down, and this turns into an absolutely hellish brew for American society.
“We’re not prepared for something like this,” he adds.
Dr. Forstchen believes people would be civil to one another in the first few days, but things would become desperate in the weeks and months that followed.
“With the previous administration under Trump, he had mandated a massive evaluation by the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and other agencies to evaluate the threat of EMP, and how we harden our system to protect it.” The study was killed when the present administration took office.
While the scenarios painted by Dr. Forstchen seem bleak, he advises every family to engage in a minimum level of preparedness, with at least a month’s worth of emergency supplies on hand. “I’m not talking about high tech survivalist food, just canned food, dried food, even things like Spam, plus at least two or three cases of water.”
In the latest book in Dr. Forstchen’s series, Five Years After, the Republic of New America has all but collapsed into regional powers, and the world at large is struggling to remain stable as regional conflicts ravage the post-EMP landscape.
The professor’s goal is not to alarm people, but to prompt proactive measures to protect the American public.
“We’ve got to live our lives; we’ve got to enjoy ourselves … don’t make this the obsession,” Forstchen said of the topic of EMPs. “But it should be out there. You should be thinking about this and doing some basic planning.”
“My first book came out 13-14 years ago; I was trying to raise the warning then. I’ve been doing it ever since. Let’s pray that the next election causes a change in administration that will finally respond seriously to the threat of EMP, and that we start putting money into hardening the infrastructure, so it can survive an EMP strike.”