An opinion piece from the Washington Times about the threat of EMP usage.
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.
Certainly, EMP warfare has some very attractive features to the user…it preserves much of the infrastructure in terms of buildings, bridges, roadways, etc…it cripples response systems and unprotected military systems…and it doesnt leave a nasty fallout footprint. On a very, very small scale you can achieve an EMP pulse without resorting to cracking atoms. I read an article about a guy that made an EMP “gun” that he could cripple a computer across the room with. The military, Im sure, has some small EMP generators to fry various electrical systems. The notion of a big airburst over Kansas would shut out the lights from coast to coast? I dunno…that’s mostly theory, I think. No one has actually done it on a scale that big, as far as I know.
Of course, that’s a misleading scenario to begin with….it would be more likely that multiple events would occur rather than one big single one. Regardless, it’s a technology that be attractive to those who can’t afford a surplus SS-24 or build one on their own.
There’s more than a few books out there that turn EMP into the new boogeyman, the most well-known would be “One Second After”, which was pretty entertaining although quite derivative of Lucifer’s Hammer. It does, though, a good job of illustrating what life in a complete infrastructure failure would be like.
Is it enough to make me go trade in my Motorola radios for a couple of heliographs? Nope.