Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Warns Clients : EMP Risk the ‘Most Significant Danger’ in the World Today

A single EMP pulse can cover the entire country with destructive EMF radiation.
A single EMP pulse can cover the entire country with destructive EMF radiation.

Paul Singer is CEO and founder of the Elliott Management hedge fund, looking after some $25 billion of client funds.

A self-made billionaire, he has a personal net worth of $1.5 billion, and his hedge fund is notable for only having had two down years in the 37 years he has been operating it.  It has averaged 14% annual return, compared to 10.8% for the S&P 500 as a whole.

He publicly warned about the housing crash and global financial crisis as early as 2006 and in 2007 met with the G7 finance ministers to warm them of the coming economic problems – a warning that was ignored by the politicians.

Clearly he knows a thing or two about managing and protecting assets, and about accurately predicting future risks, and people everywhere would be well advised to listen to his advice.

This week, in his standard investment update letter to his clients, he wrote

There is one risk that is head-and-shoulders above all the rest in terms of the scope of potential damage adjusted for the likelihood of occurrence.

You’ve probably already guessed what this risk is – this article headline gives the show away.  He tells his subscribers that a man-made EMP attack would be worse than nuclear war, asteroid strikes, or even a solar storm. :

It would not cause any blast or radiation damage, but such an attack would have consequences even more catastrophic than a severe solar storm.  It could not only bring down the grid, but also lay down a very intense, very fast pulse across the continent, damaging or destroying electronic switches, devices, computers and transformers across America.

He went on to call for a bipartisan push to make the country and the world safer from such risks.  He wants to see stockpiles of spare parts to repair/replace the key components of the electrical grid and other essential elements of our electronic society, and says the government and other groups should prepare emergency plans for how to respond to such events.

We’ve been writing about and worrying about EMP for years (check out our EMP articles here).

We’re not billionaires, and we don’t manage billions of dollars of other people’s money, either.  But, whether you’d rather listen to billionaire Mr Singer, or plain ordinary David Spero, the message is the same from us both :  A single EMP event could destroy most of the electrical and electronic functionality in the entire United States.

You need to plan and prepare for the possibility of an EMP and the destruction of our society that would surely follow.

One last comment.  It can be difficult explaining and validating our views and concerns when explaining prepping to other people.  You may find it useful to allow Mr Singer to ‘speak’ on your behalf.  Maybe your friends will find his advice more compelling.

Here’s the article that quotes from his investment newsletter.

3 Replies to “Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Warns Clients : EMP Risk the ‘Most Significant Danger’ in the World Today”

  1. Xaun Loc

    I have to note that our Billionaire friend may have a lot of expertise in the financial world, but there doesn’t seem to be much serious science in the article. A much better discussion of the realistic possibilities would be

    It takes a really serious nuclear device to produce an effective High Altitude EMP approaching the boogeyman that people want to see as TEOTWAWKI

    • David Spero


      Thanks for citing the Oak Ridge National Lab paper, which is definitely worth skimming through – I say that not to denigrate its value, but merely to acknowledge that some of the maths becomes a bit obtuse for many of us. 🙂

      This is an interesting paper, and seems to have some contradictions within it. Most of all, you need to very carefully read between the lines when you see its disclaimer that it only considers the E1 pulse effects and does not consider the E2 and E3 pulse effects. The nature of these two subsequent pulses are explained in my article EMP – What It Is and Why You Should Fear It.

      In particular, the Oak Ridge report says on page 1-2

      E3 HEMP effects could be just as disastrous to the power grid, or even more so in some cases, than E1 HEMP.

      You might wonder why the report omits a consideration of the E3 pulse if it is as significant – or even more significant – than the E1 pulse, and understanding the reason for this helps to put the paper in perspective.

      My sense is the paper is first and foremost a scientific technical paper about the nature and propagation of the E1 pulse. While it does look at some issues to do with the effects of the E1 pulse, it is primarily intended as a scientific analysis of what it is rather than a focus on the general impacts of an EMP event on our society and its infrasctructures.

      This report is also puzzling because it shows some maps which appear to suggest the E1 effects would be very limited in range – for example, see page 2-4. But it also shows very contradictory maps which are closer to the map in my article, which was taken from a 1994 US Army report on Nuclear Environmment Survivability.

      The report also acknowledges the long range effects of the 1962 test on Johnston Atoll. This explosion wasn’t with a bomb optimized for EMP effects, and was at a non-optimum height (250 miles up) but even so, effects and damage was caused in Hawaii, 900 miles distant (page 3-4). Who knows how much further the EMP traveled – there weren’t other reporting stations to observe the effects.

      It is also relevant to read the report’s appendix in which it points out that modern day effects of an EMP would be much greater than those experienced in Hawaii in 1962.

      So, on balance, does this Oak Ridge report reassure and contradict Singer’s warning? I don’t think so, and suggest, instead, that a careful reading of the report, what it does and does not cover, and recognizing it is not in the governnment’s interest to cause public alarm and so it therefore seeks to understate these things whenever possible, would lead one to accept and agree with Singer’s warning.

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