This makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Obama fiddles while North Korea builds its ICBM fleet… with nuclear warheads.
US military views North Korean ICBM as ‘operational’
Daniel Wasserbly, Washington, DC – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
08 April 2015
The KN-08 is shown here on parade in North Korea# Source: China Central Television
NORAD’s chief said his command views North Korean ICBMs as “operational today”
The long-range KN-08 missile is not known to have been tested and likely faces significant reliability issues
The US military is operating under the assumption that North Korea is able to miniaturise a nuclear weapon for long-range strike; however, experts believe this is more of a remote and long-term possibility.
“Our assessment is that they have the ability to put a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 and shoot it at the [US] homeland,” Admiral William Gortney, head of North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command, told reporters at the Pentagon on 7 April. “We assess that it’s operational today,” he said.
Not much is certain about the Hwasong-13 (US designation KN-08) road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It has been shown at least twice during public parades but the six missiles displayed in April 2012 may have been replicas.
“We haven’t seen them test the KN-08 yet and we’re waiting [for them] to do that,” Adm Gortney said. “That’s the way we think, that’s our assessment of the process.”
Adm Gortney said he believed it is “prudent” to take such a risk-adverse approach to judging North Korean capabilities.
Elaine Bunn, deputy assistant US secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, took a similar position but judged that “the reliability of an untested KN-08 is likely to be very low”. She spoke the same day during an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Bunn noted that while North Korea has paraded but not tested the KN-08, it has experimented with enough satellite launch vehicle (SLV) technology that it could conceivably develop an ICBM. A recent example is the Unha-3 SLV, which was succesfully test launched in December 2012.
Although any such ICBM is likely to be unreliable, she said the issue is how much risk the United States could accept, gi