Experts: Electromagnetic Pulse Attack Is A Real And An Imminent Threat

Tuesday, December 20, 2011
By Paul Martin

Time to correct U.S. vulnerability is now

By Ilan Berman
WashingtonTimes.com

Is electromagnetic pulse a real threat to American security? On the heels of recent Republican primary debates, the danger to U.S. electronics and infrastructure posed by a high-altitude nuclear blast suddenly has emerged as a campaign issue. So has concerted opposition to it, with both liberal and conservative skeptics ridiculing the idea as an overblown, even fabricated, distraction. Yet there is ample evidence that the danger is both clear and present. Far and away the most authoritative assessment in this regard is that of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States From Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, colloquially known as the EMP Commission. That blue-ribbon panel, convened by Congress a decade ago, outlined the nature of the challenge as follows:

“EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences. EMP will cover the wide geographic region within line of sight to the nuclear weapon. It has the capability to produce significant damage to critical infrastructures and thus to the very fabric of U.S. society, as well as to the ability of the United States and Western nations to project influence and military power.”

America’s vulnerability to such an attack is growing. As the EMP Commission explained, our heavy – and mounting – dependence on high technology, from cellphones to laptops to GPS, makes the United States disproportionately vulnerable to the disruption that would result from an EMP event. The commission concluded its work in 2004 with a dire warning: “The current vulnerability of our critical infrastructures can both invite and reward attack if not corrected.”

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