How an EMP attack could send the US ‘instantly into the Stone Age’: No phones, computers, or cars

The effects of an electromagnetic pulse are far worse than most Americans can imagine, a leading space policy expert has warned.

With foreign adversaries like Russia and China officially classifying the EMPs outside of the purview of nuclear arms treaties, the infrastructure-shattering weapons could be used against Western nations with little to no direct casualties.

“Gen Z is gonna learn how to make a fire and sharpen spears.”

Space policy expert and former Trump administration advisor Greg Autry told Blaze News that EMP technology and its effects have been known for over 50 years.

“EMP is an electronic, magnetic pulse weapon and it’s usually initiated with a large nuclear blast, typically at high altitude outside the atmosphere in space,” Autry explained. “You basically detonate a nuclear bomb, it ionizes or charges atoms in the atmosphere and it creates a large electrical field on the ground that can basically destroy all the electronics in a city or a wider area.”

“We know this works because the Russians and the United States both actually detonated a lot of nuclear weapons in space in the early 1960s, particularly during the Cuban Missile Crisis to kind of show each other we could.”

The disturbing history of the EMPs included testing the nuclear arms off the southwest coast of Hawaii. This caused measurable effects in Honolulu such as auroras in the sky and the disabling of portions of the electric grid and radio systems in the city.

The real worry for a modern society is our vast reliance on electronics, Autry warned.

“If somebody did one of these today, your phone would be a brick. Anybody with a pacemaker would drop dead, instantly. Every piece of your electronics… your laptop computer, your internet router, would be gone, and most of the relays in our power grid would be gone so there would be no power.”

What makes the threat even more dire is the likely inability to replace some of the serviceable parts that would be destroyed during such an attack.

“Guess what?” Autry asked rhetorically. “The people most likely to have sent that EMP to us are the Chinese, and they’re not sending you any more iPhones or letting anybody ship them. Guess what? They make all of our electrical transformers, or if they don’t, they make the steel that’s required to make the electrical transformers. There’s only one U.S. company left that can make that steel,” Autry continued.

Electrical vehicles could be turned into “fireballs” the space expert noted, while “every internal combustion car on the road is going to be dead because they’re all run by computers and electronic ignition system.”

“We are instantly transported into the Stone Age,” Autry described before laughing that in his book “Red Moon Rising,” he joked that “Gen Z is gonna learn how to make a fire and sharpen spears” without the help of a YouTuber.

“It’s going to be a really bad day.”

Classification workaround and preparation

“The thing that scares me more,” Autry piled on, was the way America’s enemies have avoided classifying EMPs in the same category as nukes.

“Both Russia and China have classified these weapons not as strategic nuclear weapons but as cyber weapons, and they’ve made it clear that they consider the use of them not to impinge upon any obligations they may have made, or any treaties involving nuclear weapons. They can just use these things as cyber tools.”

Autry revealed that he sees previous cyber attacks from the aforementioned nations as possible acts of war, but he prefers to focus on solutions rather than pontificate about past occurrences.

The policy expert said that the “Space Force is not unaware” of the possibilities of an attack and that the government agency’s job is to “develop defensive systems against such an attack” that would defend assets on the ground.

“We could do a lot better at the state level, and the federal law could help mandate that our critical infrastructure be protected from EMPs. It’s not actually super hard to do. You need to put these things inside what we call a faraday cage, which is a metal box or or even a mesh box.”

Faraday boxes exist commercially, and while somewhat pricy for larger units, companies like Defender Shield and SLNT have popped up to sell products for a few hundred dollars. Phone sleeves, laptop carriers, backpacks, and duffle bags that block magnetic waves and RFID signals are suggested for the average consumer.

Another concern of Autry’s was the United States being dragged into a conflict by another nation using an EMP. Providing examples like Russia against Ukraine or China against Taiwan, Autry said the countries could act as if it wasn’t a real attack on the population because there would be limited casualties.

One thing he was certain of is that both the state and the individual could stand to be a lot more prepared.


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