The Most Frightening Threat Yet? An NPLI Team Explores What to Do

Not everyone is familiar with a potential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) event. Those who are can lose sleep over them. An EMP could result from significant solar activity or the intentional work of a malicious actor. No matter the cause, the effects would be extraordinary: the power grid would go down and anything with unshielded electronic components–from vehicles to ATMs to the cell phones–over a wide area would be permanently damaged.

A Cohort XVI NPLI meta-leadership project team looked at what’s known about EMP incidents and what to do in preparedness and response. After their presentation in Cambridge, team member David Hunter of the CDC turned the team’s work into a poster presentation at the Public Health Service Scientific and Training Symposium in Minneapolis, MN on May 8th. The poster challenges nine critical assumptions about EMP incidents and their ramifications. Hunter reported a lot of interest in the poster.

Members of the team in California

Previously, members of the team were invited to present their project to the director of the California Office of Emergency Services to help inform that state’s EMP preparedness initiatives.

Other members of the original project team are Steve Andersen of the U.S.Coast Guard, Steve “Bucky” Butow of the California National Guard, Mark Chatelain of the National Geo-spatial-Intelligence Agency, and Kevin Lunday of the U.S. Coast Guard.