Electromagnetic Defense Task Force (EDTF): 2018 Report
US Air Force Air University
-ISBN: 978-1-58566-286-9
Nov 28, 2018
From 20–22 August 2018, Air University brought together leading subject matter experts from government, industry, laboratories, and academia to discuss vulnerabilities and threats, raise awareness, and explore mitigation strategies on an array of national security challenges in the EMS.

The inaugural summit was attended by more than 135 military and civilian personnel representing more than 40 United States Department of Defense organizations, NATO, academia, and the private sector. During the summit, working groups focused on electromagnetic pulse (EMP), geomagnetic disturbance (GMD), lasers and optics, directed energy (DE), high-power microwaves (HPM), and EMS management.

The summit was designed to challenge contemporary thinking and develop original thought about EMS and encourage actions to recover the technological initiative. Another priority was to immediately address the widening EMS threats to the United States and its allies. This report provides a summary of insights, conclusions, and recommendations developed during the inaugural summit.

The summit was designed to challenge contemporary thinking and develop original thought about EMS and encourage actions to recover the technological initiative. Another priority was to immediately address the widening EMS threats to the United States and its allies. This report provides a summary of insights, conclusions, and recommendations developed during the inaugural summit.

Each of the above issues has the capacity to impede the free flow of information in a democratic society, challenge a nation’s economy, infrastructure, population, and military; and cause long-distance non-kinetic fatalities to personnel performing essential functions (i.e., embassy staff, aircrew in flight, or sailors aboard ship).
In countering EMS challenges, some windows of opportunity needed to compete with
our adversaries are closing. Meanwhile, EMS threats that have existed since the 1960s and earlier, such as nuclear-EMP and geomagnetic storms, have regained prominence.

The salience of these threats has returned due to several factors, including
(1) near-universal integration of electromagnetically sensitive silica-based technologies into most modern hardware,
(2) adversaries’ increased understanding of how to exploit critical vulnerabilities,
(3) institutional knowledge atrophy due to retirement or transition of personnel who conducted nuclear and EMP testing, and
(4) the emergence of novel technologies, many of them poorly understood.


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