The Threat of High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse to Force XXI

Published in: National Security Studies Quarterly, v. III, no. 4, Autumn 1997, p. 61-80

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1997

by Sean J. A. Edwards

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The author gives a layman's overview of an important policy issue for U.S. national security. One of the only effective ways to counter U.S. conventional superiority is to employ asymmetric strategies which avoid U.S. strengths and exploit U.S. weaknesses. Potential adversaries will face greater incentives to detonate one or more nuclear weapons high in the atmosphere to generate a high altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) in order to damage the communication and information backbone of future U.S. Force XXI units.

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