Campaign group the EMP Task Force on Homeland and National Security released the paper which details the threat that it warns could come in the form of a nuclear strike from space.
Task force executive director Dr Peter Pry penned the report – first released on June 10 – which warns of a possible “Pearl Harbor-style” preemptive strike in a confrontation between the US and China.
It comes as relations between the two powers remain frosty amid the coronavirus pandemic, which President Donald Trump continues to blame on China.
EMPs use low-yield nuclear weapons detonated in the atmosphere to create a wave of energy that fries electronic equipment and may knock out the power grid.
With no power, the nation would be plunged into chaos which could lead to rioting and famine – potentially killing millions.
Dr Pry – who was chief of staff on the Congressional EMP Commission – is calling on the White House to do more to protect the power grid and other critical infrastructure.
The expert also worked as an advisor to the House Armed Services Committee, and is a former intelligence officer with the CIA.
The EMP Task Force on Homeland and National Security is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to raising awareness of the threat posed by such weapons.
Writing in the report China: EMP Threat, Dr Pry warns he believes a high-altitude EMP is the “most likely kind of future warfare”.
The report lays out suggestions that China have been preparing for such a strike for many years so it can use the capability alongside cyber-attacks.
The task force describes itself as an organisation of “citizens, engineers, field experts, and others, all united in our concern for the American people”.
On its website, it describes the threat of the US power grid crashing as “very real”.
The organisation warns up to 90 per cent of Americans would die within the first year if it went down – a total of 295million people.
Dr Pry warns recent Chinese cyber attacks – should be ” regarded as possible practice or preparation for Total Information Warfare—including nuclear HEMP attack”.
China has “Super-EMP weapons” which are based on a designs stolen from the US, the report claims.
It suggests satellite launched weapons or new hypersonic missiles could act as delivery systems for the EMP which would plunge the US into darkness.
The report warns China’s small nuclear arsenal could become a “giant killer” if it equips missiles with warheads designed for an EMP strike.
Dr Pry also claims China’s self imposed “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons would not apply when launching an EMP.
He warns: “Chinese military writings are replete with references to making HEMP attacks against the United States as a means of prevailing in war.”
The report describes a campaign of “cyber bugs and hacking” as the “tip of the spear” in a Chinese offensive against the US.
The expert compared these information warfare tactics to the “motorcycle troops that preceded the heavy armored divisions in Germany’s Blitzkrieg”.
Dr Pry warns the coronavirus pandemic has “exposed dangerous weaknesses” in the US planning for disasters.
Writing in The Hill, he said: “Hostile foreign powers surely have noticed the panicked, incompetent US response to the virus that shut down a prosperous US economy, self-inflicting the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
“The nationwide lockdowns brought shortages of all kinds, exposing societal and critical infrastructure fragility — and causing widespread fear.”
President Trump signed an executive order last year to try and protect the US from the threat of an EMP.
It ordered federal agencies to plan for the possibility and assess its risks to America.
Dr Pry however said the executive order so far has had “done nothing to protect the national electric grid or other critical infrastructures that sustain the lives of 330 million Americans”.
Tensions remain high between the US and China, and Beijing this week allegedly showed off its cyber capabilities as it was accused of being behind a mass hack attack on Australia.
So far there has never been a nuclear EMP attack in history, with the side-effect of such blasts first being noticed by the US during a test in 1962.