Real Clear Defense

The Air Force Should Assure Defenses Against Nuclear EMP Threats As It Seeks Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority

By Norman M. Haller & Peter Pry

Air Force Chief General Charles Brown tweeted on January 27, 2021, “Let me be clear, the U.S. Air Force is committed to providing Electromagnetic Spectrum [EMS] superior Air Forces to achieve victory in all domain competitions and conflict.” That same day he acknowledged that the Air Force has been “asleep at the wheel” for the last 25 – 30 years when it comes to operations in the EMS. [1]

One Air Force element not asleep was the Air University, which formed an Electromagnetic Defense Task Force (EDTF … note “Defense”) that published an action-oriented report in 2018, including exhortations like “IT’S TIME FOR BOLD ACTION” and “In countering EMS challenges, some windows of opportunity needed to compete with our adversaries are closing. Meanwhile, EMS threats that have existed since the 1960s and earlier, such as nuclear-EMP [electromagnetic pulse] and geomagnetic storms, have regained prominence.” [2]

This paper (1) summarizes some key aspects of the EDTF’s 2018 report and a follow-on 2019 report, and (2) focuses on nuclear-EMP superiority through assured defensive measures.
EDTF Reports

Among the 2018 EDTF’s major issue areas were a range of military-related concerns. For example,

... military installations represent the vulnerable underbelly of the defense enterprise.

… even organizations like USSTRATCOM that have kept up with hardening requirements since the end of the Cold War might not meet mission challenges due to structural and system dependencies which rely on unhardened sources of electricity.

… an EMP would cause instantaneous and simultaneous loss of many technologies reliant on electrical power and computer circuit boards, such as cell phones and GPS devices.

Full story https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2021/02/04/the_air_force_should_assure_defenses_against_nuclear_emp_threats_as_it_seeks_electromagnetic_spectrum_superiority_659137.html