Nuclear High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse - Implications for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense [open pdf - 99KB]
"The detonation of a nuclear weapon at an altitude of approximately 500 kilometers over the United States will generate a near-continental scale high altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP). The effects of such an attack may instantaneously destroy or disrupt substantial portions of the electrical and electronic systems that operate the critical infrastructure of the United States as well as portions of Canada and Mexico. Those interested in the efforts to ensure an effective homeland defense and homeland security effort should understand the implications of a successful HEMP attack on the United States the factors that influence the probability of an attack and continuously seek innovative ways to prevent such an attack from ever occurring and simultaneously to prepare for it if preventative efforts should fail. This paper describes what an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is and how a nuclear weapon creates a HEMP. Next a brief description of the effect of a HEMP attack on electrical and electronic systems is followed by an overview of the implications of the failure of these systems on the nation's critical infrastructure and elements of national power. A discussion of the risks of such an attack caused by nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation will be followed by an overview of the on-going contributions of the existing National Security Strategy and National Strategy for Homeland Security to prevent and prepare for a HEMP attack. This paper will conclude with some broad recommendations to strengthen the United States capabilities to prevent and simultaneously prepare to mitigate and recover from the effects of this ultimate form of asymmetric attack."
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/