A high-altitude, nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse is one of a small number of threats that has the potential to cripple our critical infrastructure.
The electromagnetic fields produced by weapons that are designed and deployed with the intent to produce an EMP have a high likelihood of damaging electrical power systems, electronics, and information systems upon which our society depends. Their effects on dependent systems and infrastructures would be catastrophic to this nation.
Depending on the specific characteristics of the attacks, unprecedented, cascading failures of our major infrastructures could result. If this were to occur, a regional or national recovery would be long and difficult, and it would seriously degrade the safety and overall viability of our nation. If our critical infrastructures fail, the impact on life as we know it would be devastating. Our financial systems, means of getting food, water, and medical care to the citizenry, trade, and production of goods and services would be deeply affected. The recovery of any one of our key national infrastructures is dependent on the recovery of others. The longer the outage, the more problematic and uncertain the recovery will be. It is possible for the functional outages to become mutually reinforcing until at some point the degradation of infrastructure could have irreversible effects on the country’s ability to support its population.