Iran's military studying EMP attacks via nuclear weapons?

On July 21 at the annual meeting of the Electric Infrastructure Security Summit in Washington, Rep. Trent Franks quoted from an Iranian military textbook, recently translated by the Defense Intelligence Agency’s National Intelligence University. The textbook, ironically titled “Passive Defense” (2010), describes nuclear EMP effects in detail. It advocates in more than 20 passages an EMP attack to defeat decisively an adversary.

The official Iranian military textbook advocates a revolutionary new way of warfare that combines coordinated attacks by nuclear and non-nuclear EMP weapons, physical and cyber-attacks against electric grids to black out and collapse entire nations. Iranian military doctrine makes no distinction between nuclear EMP weapons, non-nuclear radio-frequency weapons and cyber-operations — it regards nuclear EMP attack as the ultimate cyber-weapon. EMP is most effective at blacking-out critical infrastructures, while it also does not directly damage the environment or harm human life, according to Iran’s “Passive Defense”:

“As a result of not having the other destructive effects that nuclear weapons possess, among them the loss of human life, weapons derived from electromagnetic pulses have attracted attention with regard to their use in future wars … . The superficiality of secondary damage sustained, as well as the avoidance of human casualties, serves as a motivation to transform this technology into an advanced and useful weapon in modern warfare.”