By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary It did not make much of a splash in the news, but it may change the measure of modern warfare and become a new weapon of choice. On November 22nd, the company Boeing tested a new kind of weapon. In a building full of computers and other electronic equipment, a special bomb was released above it in the atmosphere. Within seconds, all electronic equipment ceased to function. Permanently. The weapon used to destroy all known electronic equipment is being called the Counter-electronics High-powered microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP for short. CHAMP admits what are known as high-power microwaves to burn out all circuitry and electronic memory without doing any harm to people. In other words, if the building had people, they would be unharmed. The electronic equipment, the computers, the electronic generators and the electronic weaponry would be the only things destroyed. This is a military project geared towards rendering the enemy’s military operations system completely inoperative.

CHAMP emits high-power microwaves to accomplish this. This can be of great benefit to the U.S. military because if an enemy’s electronic system is knocked out, then it means that the U.S. military can easily stop an attack against the United States, or take out a military target with minimal loss of life on both sides. I have, however, a sneaking suspicion that other nations are developing something very similar to what Boeing is creating. Interestingly enough, there is a positive application for the use of something like CHAMP in the civilian sector—especially with law enforcement. This can be used to knock out bombs left by criminals or terrorists. Most bombs these days have electronic memory circuits. If they can be knocked out by using high-power microwaves, then bombs can be rendered inoperative and removed safely.

But there is a dark side to this kind of a weapon as well. If others can obtain this type of weapon, then they can use it on the United States. The problem is that since much of America’s civilian electronic infrastructure is not immune to this kind of attack, would-be terrorists or an enemy nation could easily knock out parts or all of America’s electronic infrastructure. Since America is dependent on its computers and fiber-optic cables, all information—short of newspapers and word of mouth—would cease to function. In this, whole sections of the country would be cut off, no food or other vital necessities could be transported, no one could communicate even with their next-door neighbor, and the U.S. economy would grind to a halt. One does not have to have a nuclear device now to do in an entire nation or a part of it. So I warn that any advance in technology can be a double-edged weapon.

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