From aerial drones to virtual fences, the Department of Homeland Security employs a wide range of tools to protect the nation's borders. But a pair of Texas lawmakers now want a decidedly more futuristic approach: electromagnetic pulses.
Republican Michael McCaul and Democrat Henry Cuellar want the border patrol to use portable EMP emitters to disable cars, boats or a host of other electronic items.
By Lana BirbrairPosted 03.22.2010 at 10:02 am 18 Comments
It depends on the source of the pulse. Electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) large enough to cause you trouble come in two varieties: those produced by the sun, and those created by a nuclear bomb or another military-grade emitter device. With the sun-related variety, specifically coronal mass ejections (CMEs), your gear will probably be fine. But a really large CME could take down the power grid, says Bill Murtagh, the program coordinator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center.
Stopping a speeding car without killing its driver and passengers with traditional means--bullets--can prove tricky, even if skilled snipers can put a disabling shot in a car's engine block. But a Canadian company could soon demo an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) cannon capable of effectively scrambling a car's chips and other electronics, according to Flight International. The U.S. Marines have lined up as possible, if skeptical, customers.