America's Achilles Heel: Defense Against High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse - Policy vs. Practice   [open pdf - 820KB]

From the Abstract: "This thesis examines the strategic level policies and practices of Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) consequence management and how they translate down to the lowest echelon in the practices in addressing the potential second and third order effects. With the proliferation of nuclear devices and ballistic missile delivery systems, an EMP attack originating from a rogue or non-state actor is a potentially catastrophic threat that needs to be addressed. EMP has the potential to irrevocably damage electronics and electrical components over an extensive geographical area with some estimates of a grid outage lasting as long as 18 months. This is in part due to the current design limitations and vulnerabilities inherent in an aging infrastructure. Case study data from high altitude nuclear testing from the 1960s and EMP simulations are used to highlight the effects of EMP. The Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) mission of the military will be needed to bolster Department of Homeland Security efforts in a regionally widespread disaster area. Policies and legislation to address U.S. electrical grid vulnerabilities can take several years between milestones. Recommendations will address both governmental and private sector approaches to EMP damage mitigation and consequence management."

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