There' a good article in the Wall Street Journal by Brian T. Kennedy of the Claremont Institute. It details the catastrophic consequences of EMP, from an attack by even a single nuclear weapon. Kennedy makes a strong case for missile defense. As he points out, our current capability consists of:
This has been something I've thought was crazy for decades, since I first became aware of the strategic situation during the Cold War. There has long been only one threat, against which we had no defense, with the potential to completely destroy the United States: nuclear ballistic missiles. During the Cold War we deliberately chose to leave ourselves defenseless, as part of the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine. Because of the calculus of MAD, we wasted 30 plus years when we could have been developing and testing countermeasures. Now, even with MAD & the Cold War behind us, we still have plenty of people -- mostly on the left of course -- who think missile defense is a waste of money, or somehow provocative. Given Obama's attitude toward missile defense, it's likely the limited progress we've made will be halted under the new administration, and we will continue to remain virtually defenseless to nuclear ballistic missiles. We were very lucky to get through the Cold War without a nuclear clash, and we'll have to trust to luck for the next four to eight years as well.
only a rudimentary system designed to stop a handful of North Korean missiles launched at our West Coast. Barack Obama will become commander in chief of a country essentially undefended against Russian, Chinese, Iranian or ship-launched terrorist missiles.