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WASHINGTON – The United States is vulnerable to a nuclear electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, attack since U.S. missile defenses as described in a congressionally ordered report are threatened by long-range ballistic missiles, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The National Research Council report, requested by Congress from the division of the National Academy of Sciences, which gives the U.S. government scientific advice, was highly critical of President Barack Obama’s missile defense strategy.
The 260-page report said that the Obama administration places an emphasis on shorter-range defenses in Europe against a possible Iranian missile attack. Yet, the U.S. homeland remains vulnerable from either possible North Korean or Iranian missiles, in addition to the strategic intercontinental missiles in the arsenals of Russia and China.
The NRC suggested that Obama instead expand the missile defense system first proposed by former President George W. Bush.
While the report basically calls for rebuilding the U.S. missile defense system, the Pentagon’s Richard Lehner of the Missile Defense Agency which oversees ground-based interceptors, basically dismissed the report as “an old story.”
The report said that U.S. missile strategy should focus more on hitting missiles in midcourse rather than trying to hit any adversary’s missiles just after launch, called the boost-phase.
The U.S. “should not invest any more money or resources in systems for boost-phase missile defense,” the report said.
While a direct missile attack from any adversary for now is less likely, the prospect for a high-altitude detonation above the U.S. with one nuclear device creating a catastrophic EMP effect on America’s electrical grid is more plausible, since no adversary is in a position to launch large numbers of ICBMs at once at the U.S.
One nuclear device launched by a ballistic missile and exploded at a high altitude over the U.S. would have little resistance from the current U.S. missile defense system.
The report says that the present network of 30 ground-based interceptors can offer an “early but fragile” U.S. homeland defense against a potential attack from North Korea’s crude missiles. However, the current system would be vulnerable against more sophisticated missiles and has “shortcomings that limit their effectiveness against even modestly improved threats.”
However, North Korea, like other countries developing more capable long-range missiles such as India, Pakistan and Iran, could threaten the mainland within a few years. At the same time, these missiles could be placed on ocean-going vessels, allowing the use of shorter range missiles, giving the U.S. little, if any notification. That threat is more immediate.
As a consequence, the report said, the U.S. could improve the homeland missile defense system by adding a third interceptor site in the Northeast portion of the U.S. Two already exist in California and Alaska. The East Coast portion, the report said, would need as many as 50 new interceptors.
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