In 2008, the bipartisan Electromagnetic Pulse Commission testified before Congress that the U.S. as a society today is not structured, nor does it have the means, to provide for the needs of nearly 300 million Americans without electricity. It found the current strategy for recovery from a failure of the electric grid leaves us ill prepared to respond effectively to a manmade or naturally occurring EMP event that would potentially result in damage to vast numbers of components nearly simultaneously over an unprecedented geographic scale. Should the electrical power system be lost for any substantial period of time the consequences are likely to be catastrophic to society, including potential casualties in excess of 60% of the population, according to the Chairman of the EMP Commission. Negative impacts on the electric infrastructure are potentially catastrophic in an EMP event unless practical steps are taken to provide protection for critical elements of the electric system. Finally, most experts predict the occurrence of severe geomagnetic storms is inevitable; it is only a matter of when.
2008 Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack.
The EMP Commission was established to assess the nature and magnitude of potential high-altitude EMP threats to the United States from all potentially hostile states or non-state actors that have or could acquire nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles enabling them to perform a high-altitude EMP attack against the United States within the next 15 years. The Commission looked at the vulnerability of United States military and especially civilian systems to an EMP attack, giving special attention to vulnerability of the civilian infrastructure as a matter of emergency preparedness and the capability of the United States to repair and recover from damage inflicted on United States military and civilian systems by an EMP attack. The Commission assessed the feasibility and cost of hardening select military and civilian systems against EMP attack, and was charged with identifying any steps it believes should be taken by the United States to better protect its military and civilian systems from EMP attack.
2004 Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack