The United States EMP Commission was created by the United States Congress in 2001. The commission is formally known as the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack.
The Commission brought together notable scientists and technologists to compile several reports. In 2008, the EMP Commission released the “Critical National Infrastructures Report”. This report describes the likely consequences of a nuclear EMP on civilian infrastructure. Although this report covered the United States, most of the information can be generalized to other industrialized countries. The 2008 report was a followup to a more generalized report issued by the commission in 2004.
In written testimony delivered to the United States Senate in 2005, an EMP Commission staff member reported:
The EMP Commission sponsored a worldwide survey of foreign scientific and military literature to evaluate the knowledge, and possibly the intentions, of foreign states with respect to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. The survey found that the physics of EMP phenomenon and the military potential of EMP attack are widely understood in the international community, as reflected in official and unofficial writings and statements. The survey of open sources over the past decade finds that knowledge about EMP and EMP attack is evidenced in at least Britain, France, Germany, Israel, Egypt, Taiwan, Sweden, Cuba, India, Pakistan, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Iran, North Korea, China and Russia.
Many foreign analysts – particularly in Iran, North Korea, China, and Russia – view the United States as a potential aggressor that would be willing to use its entire panoply of weapons, including nuclear weapons, in a first strike. They perceive the United States as having contingency plans to make a nuclear EMP attack, and as being willing to execute those plans under a broad range of circumstances.
Russian and Chinese military scientists in open source writings describe the basic principles of nuclear weapons designed specifically to generate an enhanced-EMP effect, that they term “Super-EMP” weapons. “Super-EMP” weapons, according to these foreign open source writings, can destroy even the best protected U.S. military and civilian electronic systems.
The United States EMP Commission determined that long-known protections are almost completely absent in the civilian infrastructure of the United States and that large parts of US military services were less-protected against EMP than during the Cold War. In public statements, the EMP experts on the EMP Commission recommended making electronic equipment and electrical components resistant to EMP – and maintaining spare parts inventories that would enable prompt repairs. The United States EMP Commission did not look at the civilian infrastructures of other nations.