Navy EMP Experts Develop New Strategies to Protect Fleet Electronic Systems
DAHLGREN, Va. – U.S. Navy electromagnetic pulse (EMP) experts are currently evaluating Fleet mission critical systems and are developing a multifaceted strategy to mitigate the effects of high altitude EMP – a radiated electromagnetic field associated with a nuclear detonation.
“We have eight scientists and engineers who are providing Navy leadership with information crucial to assessing the fleet’s posture with regard to EMP,” said Alex Solomonik, Navy EMP Program Manager. “Navy Warfare Center EMP experts – with over 80 years combined electromagnetic pulse experience – form an extremely powerful link to past lessons learned.”
The group advises Navy leadership about strategies and safety measures to mitigate EMP damage in the unlikely event a nuclear weapon detonates at an altitude in excess of 40 miles, generating a high altitude electromagnetic pulse.
“The consequences of failing to take appropriate precautions to protect fleet mission critical systems can ultimately prove catastrophic to the Navy’s mission,” said Blaise Corbett, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren EMP Assessment Group Leader.
“The program’s immediate goals include establishing cognizance about current standards for system acquisition as related to EMP survivability,” Corbett and co-author James Partak, a URS Federal Services contractor, wrote in the January to March 2010 edition of CHIPS, the Department of the Navy's Information Technology Magazine.
Moreover, the Navy EMP Assessment Group actively engages other Department of Defense services and entities, sharing resources and information in an effort to develop new standards and methods for assessing future systems that are both effective and affordable. “It is vital that we engage program managers early in the acquisition process to provide guidance and education about the effect these EMP requirements have on their respective programs,” said Solomonik.
In addition to assessing the current posture of mission critical systems relating to EMP survivability, Corbett’s team is reviewing current standards and methods to test and assess survivability of U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps systems.
“The EMP Program is actively assisting program managers with such tasks as developing and reviewing capability design documents and system specifications,” said Partak, a former NSWC engineer.
The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Force Electromagnetic Effects and Spectrum Management Office revived the program – dormant for over a decade – on October 2008 to focus on four core elements: testing, assessment, guidance and surveys/standards.
The U.S. Navy EMP Program supports the functions of the NAVSEA electromagnetic environmental effects technical warrant holder by providing guidance to Navy acquisition programs relative to military standards, requirements and design practices.
The CHIPS magazine article – “The U.S. Navy’s New Electromagnetic Pulse Program – Resurrecting the Capability in a New World” – includes the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear survivability oversight involved and is available at: http://www.chips.navy.mil/archives/10_jan/web_pages/Navy_EMP.html .