With the end of the Cold War, the threat of a massive bipolar nuclear exchange has, thankfully, abated. However, one of the most frightening consequences of nuclear proliferation among rogue states and, potentially, terrorist organizations, is these bad actors’ ability to create unimaginable devastation without massive stockpiles of warheads or ICBMs.
One of the most terrifying of these is an EMP attack. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is generated when a conventional nuclear weapon is detonated high in the earth’s atmosphere over a desired target; the pusle radiates a powerful current that disables and ‘fries’ all electrical equipment for thousands of miles. This kind of assault would, in effect, reduce our technology-based society to pre-industrial modes of communication and subsistence—and leave hundreds of millions without food, money, or transportation.
In his book, War Footing, Frank Gaffney outlined the threat of an EMP attack—and what the United States needs to do to protect itself.