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house Bill H.R. 3410

Do Electromagnetic Pulses Pose A Threat To U.S. Critical Infrastructures?

Argument in favor

An EMP could have dramatic ramifications on American society. Taking whatever steps necessary to safeguard against that possibility is the government's responsibility.

Argument opposed

This bill should be incorporated with other EMP-related bills to create a holistic EMP-preparation strategy, rather than taking a piecemeal approach.

What is House Bill H.R. 3410?

This bill would require a threat analysis of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) events in national planning scenarios. It would also require an education campaign to teach the owners and operators of critical infrastructure, emergency planners, and emergency responders at all levels of government about the threat of EMP events.

The Under Secretary for Science and Technology would be directed to conduct research and development to mitigate the consequences of EMP events, including:

  • An objective scientific analysis of the risks to critical infrastructures from a range of EMP events.

  • Determination of the critical national security assets and vital civic utilities and infrastructure that are at risk from EMP events.

  • An evaluation of emergency planning and response technologies to address the findings and recommendations of experts from the Commission "to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack."

  • An analysis of available technology options to improve the resilience of critical infrastructure to EMP.

  • The restoration and recovery capabilities of critical infrastructure under differing levels of damage and disruption from EMP events.


The owners and operators of critical infrastructure, emergency planners, emergency responders, DHS, congressional committees.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3410

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

Of Note:

An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is basically a short burst of electromagnetic energy that can be manufactured by a person, or caused naturally. National security planners are concerned with the prospect of EMPs because of their ability to destroy electronic infrastructure — like cars, phones, computers, water and sewage systems.

An EMP could be sent Earth’s way by a solar flare, which would be the most catastrophic natural cause of an EMP. Just recently a large sunspot that had been spewing solar flares had the potential to send some towards Earth, but it stopped while our planet was directly in its path. Typically solar flares are relatively harmless, or cause small scale interference with satellites, but the potential for significant impacts exists.

A nuclear EMP could also be triggered by detonating a nuclear weapon several hundred miles above the Earth’s surface above a target area. The Federation of American Scientists have researched the implications of an EMP attack on the U.S. and found that a nuclear weapon detonated over Kansas at the right altitude would affect the entire continental U.S.

The U.S. government has recognized the need to begin to harden the electric grid in order to mitigate against an EMP, and state governments are urging cooperation with utility companies to take the steps necessary to prevent the grid from going down due to an EMP.


Sponsoring Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) Press Release

Roll Call

AZ Central

Homeland Security Hearings on the EMP Threat

Center for Security Policy

(Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video)



Official Title

To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to secure critical infrastructure against electromagnetic pulses, and for other purposes.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed December 1st, 2014
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedOctober 30th, 2013

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    One of the most dangerous threats to our society that is preventable
    Like (1)
    An EMP would destroy anything that runs on electricity and uses a motherboard basically frying any detection systems put in place. In the event of an EMP, most of the national defense systems and early detection centers would become inoperable. This would leave us defenseless to an attack from a enemy of the state.
    Like (1)
    Of course it does. The Sun produces mass amounts of energy when a solar flare occurs. This is energy that's traveling roughly 1,200 miles per second. If one of those flares hit a U.S. satellite, which is a rarity, it would be detrimental to our infrastructure in terms of technology. And from the last I've checked, we use it quite a lot in our government.