North Korea continues to develop its intercontinental ballistic
missile (ICBM) and nuclear weapons capabilities in the face of UN
sanctions, Hawaiian officials and defense experts are concerned that
Pyongyang could launch an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that
would devastate communications both inside and outside the state.
July 1962, just about everything in Hawaii that used
electricity was disrupted by a massive EMP caused by the US
launching a 1.4-megaton nuclear warhead. The "Starfish Prime"
high-altitude nuclear test disabled six satellites above the
Pacific and disrupted radio signals in Alaska, Hawaii and
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) said that the danger posed by an EMP
attack on Hawaii "is real and must be taken
seriously," telling Fox News, "Almost every aspect of our
lives is reliant on electricity, much more so than in
1962 — everything from banking to health care
to communications to automobiles — so you can
imagine the devastating impact such an attack could have."
an attack occurred on the mainland and the electric grid were
shut down on the West Coast, it would create a crisis in Hawaii
through the total disruption of our food and energy supply
chain," she added.
experts feel that housing 11 US military bases and US Pacific Command
(USPACOM) could make Hawaii a prime target.
spokesman Dave Benham told Fox News, "The No. 1 threat in the
region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless,
irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and
pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability." He added that the
command is prepared to counter any such threat.
2004 experts warned a Congressional commission of the effects an
EMP attack could have on important networks and institutions.
on the specific characteristics of the attacks,
unprecedented cascading failures of our major infrastructures
could result," the commission wrote in a statement. "In
that event, a regional or national recovery would be long and
difficult and would seriously degrade the safety and overall
viability of our Nation."
findings were confirmed in 2008 by a subsequent report
by the Congressional Research Service.
EMP attack isn’t the only potential threat to the Aloha state
coming from North Korea. On Sunday Pyongyang conducted a
successful missile test, with China estimating the projectile
travelling nearly 500 miles and reaching a height of roughly
1,240 miles. Analysts say that if the missile had been fired from a
straight angle, it could’ve traveled much farther and could have
potentially had both Hawaii and Alaska in it’s strike zone.
military commentator Lee Ilwoo called the test a "very
uncomfortable development for the United States."
ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley took to Twitter
following the test, warning China and Russia. "There are no
excuses that justify N. Korea's actions," she tweeted. "This
was close to home for Russia. China can’t expect
dialogue. This threat is real."
White House released a statement saying that the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been a "flagrant menace
for far too long," and reiterated Washington’s "ironclad
commitment" to its allies against Pyongyang’s