Date: January 8, 2011
Abstract: Speculation of China's continued advancement in their air defense sector has continued to raise more concerns this week. Special focus from the NavyTimes makes multiple mention of the Dong Feng 21D, a land-based anti-ship ballistic missile that officials now say has reached its initial operating capability. Which analysts have said the missile leaves U.S. aircraft carriers vulnerable to attack, and Dorsett seemed to agree, although he did not discuss carriers specifically.
What CoupMedia found most interesting was Vice Adm's statement regarding the use of "non Kenetic" weapons and China's interest in domination of the electro-magnetic spectrum.
Dorsett clearly stated that he is more concerned about China’s work in the “non-kinetic” realms of information warfare and cyberspace. He said China is trying to dominate “in the electro-magnetic spectrum, to conduct counterspace capabilities, and clearly to conduct cyber activities.”
What is most clear, Dorsett said, is that China is no longer shy about providing public glimpses of its weapons development.
Title: North Korea Tests 'Super-EMP' Nuke
Date: June 16, 2011
Abstract: Gary Samore, a top Obama administration national security official, warned of new sanctions if North Korea conducted a third round of nuclear tests on Monday, as reports surfaced that North Korea has miniaturized its nuclear warheads so they can be delivered by ballistic missile.
North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states, says Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, a former CIA nuclear weapons analyst and president of EMPact America, a citizens lobbying group.
Samore, who handles arms control and non-proliferation issues, warned that “additional strong sanctions will be imposed on the North with the support of Russia and China."
North Korea’s nuclear tests have been dismissed as failures by some analysts because of their low explosive yield. But Dr. Pry believes they bore the “signature” of the Russian-designed “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting more gamma radiation than a 25-megaton nuclear weapon.
Pry believes the U.S. intelligence community was expecting North Korea to test a first generation implosion device with an explosive yield of 10 to 20 kilotons, similar to the bomb the U.S. exploded over Nagasaki in 1945. He said, “So when they saw one that put off just three kilotons, they said it failed. That is so implausible."
The technology for producing a first generation implosion weapon has been around since 1945, and is thoroughly described in open source literature.
South Korean defense minister, Kim Kwan-jin, told his country’s parliament on Monday that North Korea had succeeded in miniaturizing its nuclear weapons design, allowing them to place a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile.
His analysis coincided with Congressional testimony in March by Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who stated that North Korea “may now have several plutonium-based warheads that it can deliver by ballistic missiles.”
The Soviet Union conducted an atmospheric test of an EMP weapon in 1962 over Kazakhstan whose pulse wave set on fire a power station 300 kilometers away and destroyed it within 10 seconds.
Such a weapon — equal to a massive solar flare such as the “solar maxima” predicted by NASA to occur in 2012 — poses “substantial risk to equipment and operation of the nation’s power grid and under extreme conditions could result in major long term electrical outages,” said Joseph McClelland of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Senate testimony last month.
Pry said that a group of Russian nuclear weapons scientists approached him in 2004 when he served as staff director of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, to warn the United States that the technology to make that weapon “had leaked” to North Korea, and possibly to Iran.
“They told us that Russian scientists had gone to North Korea to work on building the super-EMP weapon,” Pry told Newsmax. “The North Koreans appear to have tested it in 2006 and again in 2009.”
North Korea’s main partner in its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs is Iran. Dr. William Graham, chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, warned Congress three years ago that Iran had conducted missile launches in an EMP mode, detonating them high in the atmosphere.
Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., has introduced legislation known as the SHIELD Act that would require U.S. utilities to harden large transformers and other key elements of the nation’s power grid to protect them from a devastating EMP attack or a geomagnetic storm.
The House last year passed a similar measure by unanimous consent, but the bill died in the Senate, where Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D, N.M., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee, insisted that the threat from cyberattack was more dangerous than the possibility of an EMP strike or a solar flare.
John Kappenman, the chief science adviser to the EMP commission, believes it would require just $1 billion to harden an estimated 5,000 power transformers around the country to shield them from the impact of an EMP-like event.
“We built this infrastructure without any awareness of this threat,” he told Newsmax. “We have no design code that takes this threat into account. We’ve been doing everything to design the grid to make it greatly more coupled, and therefore more vulnerable, to this threat.”
He compared the national power grid to a series of giant skyscrapers, “and only now we’ve discovered that it’s located on a big fault line.”
President Obama’s science adviser, John Holdren, warned in a March 10, 2011 Op-Ed co-authored with his British counterpart of the potentially catastrophic impact of a solar maxima event in the next 12 to 18 months.
“Space weather can affect human safety and economies anywhere on our vast wired planet, and blasts of electrically-charged gas traveling from the Sun at up to 5 million miles an hour can strike with little warning,” Holdren wrote. “Their impact could be big — on the order of $2 trillion during the first year in the United States alone, with a recovery period of 4 to 10 years.”
Rep. Trent Franks, who authored the SHIELD Act, warned of “catastrophic consequences” should Congress fail to act.
“The U.S. society and economy are so critically dependent upon the availability of electricity that a significant collapse of the grid, precipitated by a major natural or man-made EMP event, could result in catastrophic civilian casualties,” he said. “This vulnerability, if left unaddressed, could have grave, societal altering consequences” (Newsmax, 2011).
North Korea Builds EMP Munition
Date: July 20, 2012
Abstract: North Korea is developing an electromagnetic pulse munition to jam South Korean and U.S. military electronics, according to a Communist Party-controlled journal citing GPS disruptions observed by South Korean aircraft flying near the demilitarized zone separating South and North Korea.
An EMP munition can jam electronic-based weapon systems ranging from fighter jets to hand held GPS units carried by soldiers. An EMP blast occurs when a nuclear weapon is detonated and spews electromagnetic radiation frying electronic systems in the area.
Military Analyst Li Daguang wrote the article for the monthly Bauhinia journal saying the North Korean are specifically targeting the South Korean’s military equipment.
“North Korea has always planned to develop small-scale nuclear warheads. On this foundation, they could develop electromagnetic pulse bombs in order to paralyze the weapons systems of the South Korean military — most of which involve electronic equipment — when necessary,” Daguang wrote.
Militaries can create an EMP blast by detonating a nuclear warhead in the Earth’s atmosphere. However, this is not the only method to cause an electronic blackout. North Korea has completed two nuclear tests. The Communist government has failed to produce a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead with any sort of accuracy.
Daguang suggests the North Koreans could use the EMP blast to knock out power in South Korea ahead of an invasion of North Korea’s special forces.
“Once North Korea
achieves the actual war deployment of EMP weapons, the power of its special
forces would doubtlessly be redoubled,” Daguang writes (DefenseTech, 2012).
Report: China Developing EMP Weapons
Date: July 22, 2011
Abstract: China is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons Beijing could use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict over Taiwan, a U.S. report says.
The EMPs are part of China's so-called "assassin's mace" arsenal to allow a technologically inferior China to defeat U.S. military forces, the report by the National Ground Intelligence Center said.
The declassified 2005 intelligence report provides details on China's EMPs and plans for their use, The Washington Times reported Friday.
EMPs mimic a gamma-ray pulse caused by a nuclear blast and can disable all electronics, including computers and automobiles, over wide areas.
"For use against Taiwan, China could detonate at a much lower altitude (30 to 40 kilometers) ... to confine the EMP effects to Taiwan and its immediate vicinity and minimize damage to electronics on the mainland," the report said.Chinese military writings have discussed building low-yield EMP warheads but "it is not known whether [the Chinese] have actually done so," the report concluded (UPI, 2011).
North Korea Making EMP Weapons?
Date: July 20, 2012
Source: Live Science
Abstract: North Korea may be developing electromagnetic pulse weapons or bombs that could take out power grids — not to mention military and civilian electronics.
Such speculation comes from a Chinese military analyst's article in the journal Bauhinia, according to the Washington Times. The Chinese military pointed out that North Korea has always planned to develop small nuclear weapons capable of creating such electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) — likely targeted at South Korean and U.S. military forces based in the southern half of the Korean peninsula.
The possibility of using EMPs as a weapon arose during early days of U.S. and Soviet nuclear testing during the Cold War. Nuclear blasts from those tests created EMPs as a secondary effect that led to some unexpected damage for civilian power grids and facilities.
Several countries, such as the U.S., have also investigated the possibility of making EMP weapons that don't require nuclear blasts. But North Korea's weapon-making efforts have recently focused upon expanding its nuclear arsenal.
The Chinese military
article also draws a somewhat baffling connection between North Korea's
theoretical EMP weapons and GPS-jamming technology. South Korea accused North
Korea of sending GPS jamming signals that affected hundreds of airline flights
as well as civilian technologies on the ground in March — but such GPS jamming
does not necessarily suggest any EMP weapon capabilities (Live Science, 2012).