An Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), also known as a Transient Electromagnetic Disturbance (TED), is a short burst of electromagnetic energy. It can be generated by either natural or artificial sources, and can take the form of an electromagnetic field, electric field, magnetic field, or conducted electrical current. EMPs can cause serious damage to modern electronic devices, and can even lead to their complete destruction if they are not designed to withstand extra electrical current. In addition, EMPs can disrupt communications and physically damage objects such as buildings and aircraft. The scientific community began to recognize the significance of EMPs when William J.
published a series of three articles on nuclear EMP in 1981. The United States EMP Commission determined that long-known safeguards were virtually absent in U. S. civilian infrastructure, and that much of the U. military services were less protected against EMPs than during the Cold War.
The Commission also sponsored a global survey of foreign scientific and military literature to assess the knowledge and intentions of foreign states regarding EMP attacks. Some types of EMP events can leave an optical trace, such as lightning and sparks, but these are side effects of current flow through the air and are not part of the EMP itself. However, the government is clearly concerned about the potential harm that an EMP can cause, since it has released a congressional report on the devastating effects of an EMP on the population. Since EMP attacks can cause nuclear detonations in the atmosphere, it is essential to protect yourself from widespread radiation contamination.