North Korea Nuclear Threat

Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 20 April 2017, 22:45 hrs, UTC, Post #177.


Accessed on 20 April 2017, 22:45 hrs, UTC.

Reporter;  The Guardian, UK.

Please click link to read the full article.


A sobering, fact-based assessment of the North Korean ballistic missile threat to Alaska, Hawaii, and the west coast of the United States from the UK newspaper, “The Guardian.”

The tempo of rhetoric, threats, and propaganda has increased since the last ballistic missile launch failure from North Korea.  U.S. President Donald Trump has sent a U.S. naval task force near Korean waters to monitor any further North Korea nuclear or missile tests, with the implied threat that cruise missiles or other weapons will be used to destroy launch sites.  Chinese and Russian forces in the region are on full alert, waiting for what the U.S. naval task force will do if North Korea launches another ballistic missile.

Amidst all the rhetoric from both sides, does anyone really know how successful the overall ballistic missile program is in North Korea?  Much of that nation’s advanced weapons research is conducted far under ground where airborne and satellite monitoring systems can’t penetrate.

Although many military and scientific experts believe North Korea will eventually possess such weapons, no one knows for sure when that will be.

According to “The Guardian”, everything about the missile program is subject to speculation:

“After five nuclear tests in a decade, North Korea has already shown that it poses a nuclear threat to South Korea and Japan, roughly 80,000 American soldiers stationed in those countries, and to China, its nominal ally. But although Kim Jong-un has dramatically increased missile testing since he took power in 2011, North Korea has yet to test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could cross nearly 5,500 miles of the Pacific.”

“North Korea would need to overcome two feats of engineering to threaten the American mainland: a working ICBM system and a warhead for one of those missiles. Unlike shorter-range missiles, long-range missiles have multiple engines and flight stages, meaning North Korean engineers have to make rockets – and bombs – that can survive the violent vibrations of launch, the wrenching g-forces of flight, and the temperature changes of takeoff and re-entry from space.”

“Producing a warhead that can handle all that is a challenge,” said Joseph Bermudez, an analyst for 38 North, a thinktank affiliated with the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Although Kim has said he wants to test an ICBM later this year, Bermudez doubted the test would be a success.

“In February, North Korea fired a medium-range missile into the Sea of Japan, travelling about 300 miles. North Korea has also developed a missile with an estimated range of 2,200 miles, almost halfway to Hawaii, but so far struggled to launch it.”


It would be prudent to update nuclear attack plans and emergency procedures just in case the North Koreans pull off a successful launch of a long-range missile.  There are just too many unanswered questions to think otherwise.

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Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

Until next time,

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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