Effects of Electromagnetic Pulses on Communication Infrastructure: An IST Primer
It is important to acknowledge that the blast effects of a nuclear detonation are horrific and, in such a scenario, it is right that emergency response (including communications) go first to support those people who are affected. IST’s Innovation and Catastrophic Risk team is focused on one aspect of crisis prevention and, in the worst case, response: the international prevention and de-escalation of catastrophic nuclear risk through additive communications solutions.
CATALINK is IST’s Innovation and Catastrophic Risk initiative that proposes just such an additive communications solution. This concept presents a framework through which nuclear-armed states can discuss how to mature the current options for intra-state nuclear crisis communications. In order to help advance such discussion, it is important to examine in detail the extensive technical needs of such a communications solution.
As a first step, this primer details the effects of a nuclear detonation on communication devices, infrastructure, and networks to highlight the capabilities needed in an additive technical solution for international crisis communications. As a result, this primer focuses on the electromagnetic interference, specifically electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) and associated radiation, generated by a nuclear detonation.download pdf