While the UK is gripped by a recession which is largely caused by this government’s austerity measures what keeps defence Secretary Phillip Hammond up at night are the terrors of Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons.
Talking to an insecurity conference in London yesterday, Hammond fears that somehow someone is going to develop an EMP weapon, which produces a surge of electromagnetic radiation and knock out the country’s electronics.
The response to these weapons has to go beyond conventional military means, Hammond warned. We think he means prayer.
He thinks that if EMP is weaponised, the so-called “E-bomb” could generate surges in voltage and current inside electronic equipment, burning out microchips and circuitry.
It would be as bad as a natural disaster such as the 1859 Carrington Event.
He said that one of the challenges the UK faced, particularly at a time of limited resources, is to make the case for spending on defence and security solutions that cannot readily be seen by the public. Nukes of course can be seen by the public we guess.
Avi Schnurr, the chief executive officer of the US Electric Infrastructure and Security Council (EIS) and a White House adviser on the issue, told The Telegraph that the Western Powers were beginning to realise that all its “societal eggs” are in one “fragile electric basket”, and it is not sufficiently protecting itself.
Because there is nothing worse than a good kick in the electric basket. However, neither Schnurr nor Hammond could say who actually would develop such a weapon or would be interested in using it.
The Chinese could cause the West to collapse in a matter of seconds. Russia has other problems and is just as vulnerable as the rest of the world. Terrorists are a long way from making an EMP bomb.
So, on the whole, we would have thought that Hammond would have some better things to worry about.