The North Korea Threat

By Rick Ferran

Getting going on the North Korea threat – We all know the North Korea threat is very real so let’s get some knowledge on that topic.


By 2020, North Korea could have as many as 100 nuclear-tipped missiles, according to one report. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) of Alaska is pushing for a more robust defensive missile deployment.

For decades, US presidents have used diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions to try and convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. While doing so they have also been working at home on a Plan B: defense.

According to the CS monitor,

The Pentagon has been developing a nationwide antimissile program since the early 1990s.

The aim is to protect American territory – not from established nuclear powers Russia or China, but any smaller Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) arsenals produced by North Korea, or (possibly) Iran.

Now that nascent missile defense faces an important inflection point, as does the overall effort to block Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. Increasingly it seems a matter of when, not if, North Korea will develop the means to target the continental US with a nuclear-tipped ICBM.

That moment might be reached in three to five years, according to current and former US defense officials. And by 2020, North Korea could have as many as 100 nuclear warheads, according to a 2015 Johns Hopkins University report.

Rogue State

On the list of today’s “rogue states,” North Korea sits at No. 1. The US intelligence community assesses that North Korea is currently in the process of fielding an ICBM capability to strike the American homeland with a nuclear warhead. Such a system hasn’t been tested, nor is it clear whether any North Korean ballistic missiles of shorter range have yet been tipped with nuclear warheads.

“After all, this is rocket science, meaning very difficult – as Pyongyang’s many failed missile tests show.”
“The first line of US ballistic missile defense is a global network of sea-, land-, and space-based sensors to detect and track any launch against American targets is located in HAWAII.”

These range from an ocean-going X-Band radar at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, to early-warning radars strung across Alaska, Greenland, Britain, and other northern spots, and SPY-1 radars on Navy Aegis missile defense ships at sea. Data is fed to a central fire control system at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

Since 2004, the US has deployed rocket interceptors at Ft. Greeley, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Currently there are 36; that number is scheduled to rise to 44 by the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, North Korea grinds ahead with its military programs. That is the military and political reality facing the US, note defense proponents. Holding a nuclear threat over the United States seems a core goal of Kim Jung-Un’s worldview. Is that a situation the US can endure?

“Each of the last four administrations has looked at the North Korean threat and said this is not the sort of thing in which we can live, in a state of vulnerability,” says Dr. Karako of CSIS, a principal author of a new “Missile Defense 2020” report that urges devoting more money and effort to outpacing the ballistic missile threat.

Among other recommendations, the CSIS study urges fielding upward of 80 ground-based interceptors by 2020, and completing readiness efforts studying a possible East Coast deployment site.

Alaskan senator pushes for more robust missile defense

Some lawmakers are already on board. Alaska, closer to North Korea than the lower 48 states, could be an early target for attack. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) of Alaska says that in his view the US needs to significantly step up its missile defense system. But “nobody’s talking about that,” he said in a Monitor interview last week.

The senator, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says he hopes to soon introduce a bipartisan bill to significantly boost America’s ability to shoot down rogue missiles from North Korea or Iran.

Senator Sullivan proposes 28 more interceptors, as well as requiring the military to study having up to 100 interceptors distributed across the country. Should North Korea successfully develop a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile, “the pressure on the president will be enormous to do something ‘militarily,’ ” says Sullivan.

But if the US has a system that can, with 99.9 percent certainty, shoot down rogue missiles, with the expectation of “massive” US retaliation, then Kim Jong-un will have to “think really hard” about that, the senator says.

“I think that having a missile defense will give the president more options and breathing room.” Sen Sullivan

But what do you think the US Government should do about this threat?
Do you think that it’s a good idea to beef up our ICBM Defenses?
What about North Korea’s cyberwarfare should we be worried about that as well?


Defense Department

The Guardian

New English Review