If you needed something else to keep you up at night, here it is:
You know that crazy little dictator, Kim Jong-un, the maniac in charge of the highly oppressed country of North Korea?
It turns out that he really does have nuclear launch capabilities. Let that sink in.
US Intelligence admits that North Korea has nuclear capability.
The Washington Times reported that US intelligence services believe that North Korea does indeed have the ability to launch a missile with a miniature nuclear warhead. Mercifully, it is suspected that they can’t yet target a specific site.
“It is the threat that keeps me awake at night,” the senior military official said. “And that’s why they continue to test their systems out there.” (source)
Tensions in the region, especially among North Korea and South Korea, have increased recently. Portly dictator and narcissist extraordinaire Kim Jong-un decided to invite Japan to the party when he the oversaw the firing of three missiles towards the country back in September.
The relationship between China, South Korea, and the United States also deteriorated when the decision was taken to station an American THADD defense missile system on South Korean soil.
THADD stands for Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, and the deployment of the system would counter missile and nuclear attacks from North Korea.
China is concerned that the radar system used in THADD will be able to track movements of its troops and artillery. They regard it as a remote control spy that will feed back information about its military capabilities. North Korea had also threatened a ‘physical response’ against the decision to base the system in South Korea:
North Korea has also spoken out against its deployment, threatening to nuke its neighbor and the US base in Guam, in protest at the South’s decision to deploy THAAD anti-missile systems.
In response, North Korea has continued to conduct new military technology tests, including a fourth nuclear test in January, in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions that were tightened in March. (source)
A tin-pot dictator having the ability to fire a nuclear-enabled missile is more than a little worrisome, and the question is, how big does a target have to be before he can hit it? We are relying on THADD and a few navy ships to protect us. But will that be enough? According to The Washington Times:
The U.S. military has started to field missile defense systems in South Korea and aboard U.S. Navy ships in the Pacific. American allies in the region are also threatened such as Japan, Australia, and the Philippines. Missile defense is America’s ace in the hole and is especially effective against rogue regimes like North Korea that do not have the ability to defeat such systems, as Russia may have.
What if the particular target Kim Jong-un is after isn’t important to him as long as the missile lands somewhere in the US? What if it detonates above the US and we find ourselves in an EMP situation? From Underground Medic:
An electromagnetic pulse (EMP), also sometimes called a transient electromagnetic disturbance, is a short burst of electromagnetic energy. Such a pulse’s origination may be a natural occurrence or man-made and can occur as a radiated, electric or magnetic field or a conducted electric current, depending on the source.
A nuclear device detonated up to 500 miles above the earth’s surface could generate an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) with a “devastating” effect on power supplies, telecommunications and other vital systems.
However, an official EMP commission in the United States found “rogue states” such as Iran and nuclear-armed North Korea were well aware of the potential for such an attack. The Iranians in particular were reported to have conducted missile tests which appeared to simulate the effects of an EMP nuclear strike.
The EMP Commission was set up in the United States to assess the threat posed by EMP weapons. The main points they are tasked to consider are:
The threat from potential hostile states who have or may acquire nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles required to deliver an EMP attack over the United States.
How vulnerable is the United States to an EMP attack? Emergency preparedness relating to civilian and military infrastructure.
Should an EMP attack occur how long would the recovery period be and does the United States have the capability to recover from such an attack?
The cost and feasibility of hardening certain civilian and military systems from an EMP attack.
The Commission produced a report in 2008: Critical National Infrastructure that covers all aspects on an EMP attack on the United States. Chapter one page one states:
…it is important to realize that the vulnerability of the whole — of all the highly interlocked critical infrastructures — may be greater than the sum of the vulnerability of its parts. The whole is a highly complex system of systems whose exceedingly dynamic and coordinated activity is enabled by the growth of technology and where failure within one individual infrastructure may not remain isolated but, instead, induce cascading failures into other infrastructures.
We had better hope that the engineers in North Korea aren’t as advanced with nuclear-tipped missiles as our intelligence services seem to think they are.
What an inauguration gift for President-Elect Trump that would be.