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The US can survive a nuclear North Korea

http://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-icbm-world-war-iii-2017-6“We can deter them,” retired Adm. Dennis Blair, the former head of US Pacific Command, said of North Korea at a National Committee for US-China Relations event. “They may be developing 10 to 15 nuclear weapons. We have 2,000. They can do a lot of damage to the US, but there won’t be any North Korea left in the event of a nuclear exchange. That’s not a good regime survival strategy, and even Kim Jong Un would understand that.”

“We can deter them,” retired Adm. Dennis Blair, the former head of US Pacific Command, said of North Korea at a National Committee for US-China Relations event. “They may be developing 10 to 15 nuclear weapons. We have 2,000. They can do a lot of damage to the US, but there won’t be any North Korea left in the event of a nuclear exchange. That’s not a good regime survival strategy, and even Kim Jong Un would understand that.”

The US has to live with the fact that Russia, the world’s second-greatest nuclear power, openly opposes the US’s foreign policy in nearly every dimension, and that Pakistan, a country rife with corruption and Islamist groups gaining traction within and around its borders, has nuclear weapons. The US can survive a nuclear North Korea — but maybe not World War III – Business Insider

 

The North Korean EMP Threat

http://www.gingrichproductions.com/2017/05/the-north-korean-emp-threat/North Korea is already one of the most dangerous places in the world, and it’s becoming more perilous by the day.

On Tuesday, Pyongyang completed its ninth ballistic missile test this year. The North Korean state run media said its maniacal leader, Kim Jong-un, threatened to send a bigger “gift package” to the United States.

The same day, the United States tested its ability to intercept long-range ballistic missiles potentially fired from North Korea. Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring announced the test was successful today.

I’m glad we are honing our ability to stop intercontinental ballistic missiles over the Pacific, but I hope our military leaders recognize that traditional nuclear war is only half of the threat the Kim Jong-un regime poses.

As I testified at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources earlier this month, the North Koreans have another offensive option, which they may already be able to execute and would be devastating to the United States – a weaponized electromagnetic pulse.

An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, occurs when a relatively small but carefully designed nuclear warhead is detonated in the atmosphere. The explosion causes what can best be described as a massive power surge, which can damage or disable electrical devices for hundreds of miles on the ground below. As I told the Senate Committee, such an attack would be catastrophic to the United States because we are an electricity-dependent nation and our grid is ill-prepared to handle it. See more…

 

Electromagnetic pulse sends shock waves through Senate energy committee

https://dailyenergyinsider.com/news/4988-electromagnetic-pulse-sends-shock-waves-senate-energy-committee/Published on May 09, 2017 by Kim Riley

Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a threat to national defense — that’s the one agreement everyone acknowledged during a recent U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

Decisions beyond that statement would have been difficult for senators to make after they heard testimonies from several witnesses on various efforts to protect America’s power grid from EMP threats, both naturally occurring and man-made.

For instance, a former member of Congress called EMP capable of creating a cascading catastrophic event, while experts in the field denounced disinformation and alarmist thinking as masking the combined and ongoing efforts of the federal government and industry toward solving the problem.

Nevertheless, witnesses agreed that the EMP threat exists, a situation that puts the U.S. electric grid in a particularly vulnerable position. In fact, just this week it has been reported that North Korea may be plotting an EMP strike on the United States.

Cascading consequences “Just consider if one of these pulses were to be unleashed and disabled the power infrastructure on the East Coast. This isn’t simply about the lights going out,” said Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Speaker of the House.

The “catastrophic consequences” could include a grid failure that knocks out power, communications and transportation for a significant amount of time, in turn affecting hospitals, public safety agencies, first responders and millions of others, he said, adding that such a failure could be more damaging than the 9/11 terror attacks. See more…

 

Lights out? Fears of EMP Election Day attack, 50M in dark

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/new-threat-of-emp-attack-election-day-inauguration/article/2606656Concerns are increasing that U.S. foes will launch an electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States as early as Election Day in a bid by countries such as Russia, Iran, China and North Korea to disrupt the power transition in Washington.

A top expert said the attackers could take advantage of poor protection from an EMP attack and the lack of authority during a transition to send at least 50 million people along the East Coast into the dark with a nuclear blast in the atmosphere that would wipe out the electric grid.

“Enemies planning to attack the United States or its allies could find few better times than the period between Election Day and Inauguration Day, when the nation is transitioning to a new commander in chief and new administration and is most divided politically from top to bottom,” wrote Peter Vincent Pry in The Long Sunday, Election Day 2016-Inauguration Day 2017.

Pry and others have been pushing states and Washington to install grid protections from EMP attacks. They say the costs are low for insurance against an attack or a devastating solar flare.

The Pentagon and some states are already working to protect electric lines, but the majority of the vast U.S. grid is unprotected.

Potential attacks, meanwhile, are relatively easy to launch. Pry and former CIA Director James Woolsey have suggested a small nuclear weapon could be delivered via satellite or shipboard missile into the atmosphere and detonated, melting down the U.S. electric system.

In his new book, Pry wrote that nuclear EMP attacks are practiced by Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. “Some U.S. analysts call it cybergeddon or blackout war,” he added.

Ditto for the lull between Tuesday’s election and Inauguration Day, he added. The impact would be huge.

“The national electric grid being aged, over-taxed with demand, always operating on the verge of failure, capable of blackouts that put 50 million people into the dark because of cascading failures from a tree branch, the entire eastern grid would certainly be plunged into a protracted blackout from such an EMP attack. The U.S. cannot survive without the eastern grid, which generates 75 percent of the nation’s electricity and supports most of the national population,” Pry said.

Among the reasons the next 75 days are attractive for an attack wrote Pry:

— For the first time in eight years, the United States will be undergoing transition to a new commander-in-chief and new presidential administration.

— Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day holidays and typically five days of inaugural celebrations leading up to Inauguration Day occur within “the long Sunday.” Official Washington from top to bottom, including in Congress, the Department of Defense, and the Intelligence Community, is mostly on holiday and many are physically absent.

— Plans to strengthen U.S. conventional forces, modernize nuclear forces, and protect national critical infrastructures from EMP and cyber threats have been proposed, but not yet implemented. Better to strike when U.S. strength and preparedness are at their nadir.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com See more…

 

The next super weapon could be biological

http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/1235694/the-next-super-weapon-could-be-biologicalPeter Apps Reuters global affairs columnist

With the threat of chemical weapons in Syria and nuclear arms in North Korea, the risk of biological weapons has largely dropped off the international agenda. But evolving technologies and genetic engineering may open the door to new dangers.

Other than the “anthrax in the mail” attacks that followed Sept 11, killing five people, there have been few serious attempts at biological attacks in recent years. Most global powers scaled back their biological weapons research in the 1970s, partly because of the difficulties of getting fragile bacteria and viruses to survive being dropped in bombs or missiles, or even sprayed.

Militant groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) have largely embraced the other end of the technological spectrum, such as using a car or truck to attack pedestrians in Nice, France or Berlin, Germany and elsewhere.

Most scientific and security experts agree the risk remains relatively low. That may change with the proliferation of basic genetic engineering technologies, some small and cheap enough to be used at home. (A gene-editing kit, built by a former Nasa bioengineer, was marketed last year.) The unscrupulous can now tamper with the DNA of bacteria or viruses to make them more lethal and hard to treat.

Regulations on biological and genetic research vary widely between countries — but making weapons with such techniques is largely illegal under the 1975 Biological Weapons Convention. Some experts worry, however, that recent advances may make it easier to design more effective and lethal new pathogens. In February, Microsoft founder Bill Gates warned that a conflict involving such weapons could kill more people than nuclear war.

When scientists first sequenced a single human genome in 2003 — allowing them to understand what each small piece of biological coding meant — it was a vast and expensive undertaking. Now, computing power means the cost of that kind of technology — analysing the difference between the DNA of individual humans, animals, plants and pathogens — is nose-diving by the year. Some scientists have raised the still-controversial idea that as the availability of basic genetic engineering techniques also rises, it could become easier to create new, more sophisticated weapons, perhaps targeted to the DNA of an individual or even an entire ethnic group. See more…

 

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