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Addressing the Possibility of National Scale Disruption of Critical Infrastructure

Date: Thursday, November 8, 2007, 7:00 PM

Speaker: George H. Baker III, Institute for Infrastructure and Information Assurance — James Madison University , Harrisonburg, VA - Click Here for the speaker's bio.

View the Presentation: Addressing the Possibility of National Scale Infrastructure Disruption - 1.2 MB PDF


Since the nuclear weapon atmospheric test days of the 1950s, it has been known that a single nuclear weapon detonated at altitudes between 30 and 500 kilometers generates a strong electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that can disrupt electronic systems on the ground at large distances from the burst. Our vulnerability continues to increase due to our growing dependence upon electronics.

Because a national-scale disruption may result from the detonation of a single weapon, EMP is arguably the most serious threat to US .infrastructure. Recognizing our crucial dependence on advanced electronic systems, Congress has established a special Commission to examine the threat from such an explosion.

The Commission recognizes EMP as one of a very small number of threats that can hold the entire nation at risk in terms of significant damage to critical infrastructures. This presentation will describe the effects of EMP and discuss some key issues associated with national preparedness.

Biographical Information:

Dr. Baker is a member of the faculty at James Madison University and involved in consulting with industry and government in the areas of critical infrastructure assurance, high power electromagnetics, and nuclear and directed energy weapon effects.

He is the former director (1996-99) of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Springfield Research Facility involved in assessing, protecting and targeting critical underground, infrastructure and mobile systems.  He was instrumental in organizing the initial JCS force protection program and assessment teams. Much of his career was spent at the Defense Nuclear Agency directing RDT&E related to hardening systems to nuclear effects. He is the recipient of the Defense Nuclear Agency’s Legacy and Technical Achievement awards. 

He is presently a member of the Congressional EMP Commission staff and a member of the National Defense Industrial Association Homeland Security Executive Board.  He is a founding member of the Virginia Alliance for Secure Computing and Networking and the Directed Energy Professional Society.  He is past chair of the Nonproliferation and Arms Control Technology Working Group (NPAC) focus group on buried facilities, the Underground Site Infrastructure Applications Working Group, and the International Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) EMP Group.  He is an EMP Fellow and senior member of the IEEE.

View George Baker's articles, books, and presentations.

For more information about JMU's Institute for Infrastructure and Information Assurance, please visit their web site.

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