Electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) are associated with intentional attacks that use high-altitude nuclear detonations, specialized conventional munitions, or directed non-nuclear energy devices. The effects of these attacks can range from local to regional and continental, depending on the weapon and the method of attack. The main obstacle to a high-altitude electromagnetic attack is the same as a nuclear attack: the threat of retaliation. While the threat of EMPs is often exaggerated, it cannot be completely ruled out, especially considering North Korea's adoption of high-power nuclear weapons.
An EMP attack launched from a ship, given that Scuds are commonplace and a warhead detonated in outer space would not leave any remnants of bombs for forensic analysis, could allow rogue states or terrorists to destroy U. S. infrastructure without fear of retaliation. According to a group of scientists, the threat of an EMP attack at high altitude can range from an overrated fever dream to an almost existential threat to the United States that is seriously overlooked.
Most local and national government agencies in the U. are not prepared for an EMP attack. Another myth is that rebel states or terrorists need a sophisticated intercontinental ballistic missile to carry out an EMP attack. In fact, Iran has carried out EMP attacks launched from ships carrying Scud missiles, which are in the possession of dozens of countries and even terrorist groups.
This is because a high-altitude EMP attack does not require sophisticated re-entry or guidance technologies. Any missile, including short-range missiles that can launch a nuclear warhead at an altitude of 30 kilometers or more, can launch a catastrophic EMP attack against the United States, launching it from a ship or a freighter. The U. must take steps to protect itself from an EMP attack by preparing for the worst-case scenario and investing in research and development to create countermeasures against such attacks.
This includes developing technologies that can detect and mitigate the effects of an EMP attack, as well as developing strategies for responding to such attacks in order to minimize their impact on critical infrastructure and services. It is essential for the US government to take proactive steps to protect its citizens from this potentially devastating form of attack.