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The Full Committee will meet to receive testimony on the Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack.

07-22-2004


Opening Statement of Chairman Hunter

Witness:

Dr. William R. Graham, Chairman, Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack

Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack

Abstract

Several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication.

EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences. EMP will cover the wide geographic region within line of sight to the nuclear weapon. It has the capability to produce significant damage to critical infrastructures and thus to the very fabric of US society, as well as to the ability of the United States and Western nations to project influence and military power.

The common element that can produce such an impact from EMP is primarily electronics, so pervasive in all aspects of our society and military, coupled through critical infrastructures. Our vulnerability is increasing daily as our use of and dependence on electronics continues to grow. The impact of EMP is asymmetric in relation to potential protagonists who are not as dependent on modern electronics.

The current vulnerability of our critical infrastructures can both invite and reward attack if not corrected. Correction is feasible and well within the Nation's means and resources to accomplish.