Photo: NASA
Photo: NASA

Voice of America reported earlier this week that the US Congress has decided to reactivate a disbanded committee that was originally created to devise counter measures against a possible electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack by North Korea.

The committee was called the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack. It will reportedly be reconstituted with 12 lifetime members under the National Defense Authorization Act, which both the Senate and the House passed recently, according to the US government-funded news agency.

The original committee was created by Congress in 2000. Its activities and recommendations went mostly unnoticed for nearly two decades until it was disbanded on September 30. But its work is currently in the spotlight due to speculation that North Korea is developing an EMP weapon as part of its efforts to perfect a hydrogen bomb.

EMP devices have never been used in combat. But they are believed capable of paralyzing all electronic, communications and power-generating infrastructure within a blast radius. The weapons can also disable cars, trucks and planes.

Kill 90 percent of Americans?

Two analysts, William R. Graham and Peter Vincent Pry, warned at a US House subcommittee hearing in October that North Korea could use an EMP attack to shutdown the US power grid in an apocalyptic act that could cause the deaths of up to 90% of all Americans within a year.

Both Graham and Pry served with the disbanded commission now being re-activated by Congress.

Some defense analysts have argued that Graham and Pry’s warnings are vastly overblown. But the decision to revive the committee indicates the Trump administration and Congress are taking the EMP threat from North Korea seriously.

38 North, a respected website that analyzes North Korea, said in a June article that Russian technicians may have “accidentally” transferred the design of Russia’s super-EMP warhead to North Korea before 2004.

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