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Air Force Study on EMP Threat


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U.S. military facilities involved in command and control of forces face a growing risk of disruption by an electromagnetic pulse attack or solar superstorm that could knock out all electronics at the strategic bases, according to a report.

The report by the Air Force Electromagnetic Defense Task Force, made up of civilian and military experts, also warns that EMP or geomagnetic disturbances could cause catastrophic damage and the loss of life in the United States.

“Multiple adversaries are capable of executing a strategic attack that may black out major portions of a state’s grid,” the report said. “An EMP attack affects all devices with solid-state electronics and could render inoperative the main grid and backup power systems, such as on-site generators.”

With heavy reliance on electronics, American society is not prepared to deal with the effects of either a nuclear weapon-caused EMP or a large solar flare that could disrupt critical electric-powered functions for months or years, the report says.

One of the key threats facing the military outlined in the report involves potential EMP attacks on command and control systems used to communicate with and direct military forces.:snip:

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Electromagnetic Pulse Would Devastate Our Power Grid. Here Are 3 Steps We Must Take Now.

The Air Force released its 2018 Electromagnetic Defense Task Force report last week, which concluded that an electromagnetic pulse—generated either by a nuclear weapon or solar flare—could cripple systems that rely on the electromagnetic spectrum.

The report echoes a recent Heritage Foundation assessment that warns the United States is ill-prepared for such an event.

Solar flares are eruptions of intense high-energy radiation that take place every day on the surface of the sun. Lower-intensity flares regularly hit the earth, affecting radio communications and power line transmissions—but the magnitude, intensity, and duration of some solar flares (storms) can be devastating. In 1859, one such event literally set telegraph machines ablaze and knocked their operators unconscious.

Over time, telegraphs gave way to radios built around vacuum tubes, and the associated technology began to improve and become inseparable from every aspect of American society. In the early 1900s, radio receivers were common in many households and two-way radio communications became a military necessity.:snip:



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