US warns of electronic-attack danger

War experts find that a small electromagnetic pulse could bring advanced civilisations to their knees.

A small nuclear explosion in the Earth's upper atmosphere could generate an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) sufficient to paralyse a nation's electronic and computer infrastructure, according to the US Defence Department's war experts.

Curt Weldon, chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee's Research and Development Subcommittee, made the dramatic announcement to the committee last week.

Weldon also reportedly criticised the extent to which modern society depends upon electronic and computer technology saying: "Our modern way of life, and life itself, depends upon the functioning of our electronic society. Some have argued that an EMP event could be like putting the United States in a giant time machine and, in the blink of an eye, transforming our high-tech society into a primitive, pre-industrial one."