North Korean Missile Threat

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Hawaii is one of the places that experts say a North Korean missile could reach. With the strong U.S. military presence in the islands, there are concerns that the state might be a target.

North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un, have been vocal about the extent to which the country is expanding its nuclear missile capabilities, a situation that has escalated tensions between North Korea and the United States as well as other U.S. allies.

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Background

In 2016 and 2017, North Korea embarked on a series of missile tests. Those tests were downplayed by U.S. military strategists until July 2017 when officials concluded that North Korea had indeed successfully developed the capability to launch a missile that could reach Hawaii, Alaska and possibly the continental U.S. It was not clear whether North Korea had developed the capability of arming a missile with a nuclear weapon.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed stringent economic sanctions on North Korea.

In August 2017, as rhetoric between President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un ramped up, North Korea threatened to fire a missile at Guam after Trump declared any aggression by North Korea would be met with “fire and fury.”

Although many experts believed the risk of an imminent on Hawaii was slim, the verbal threats by North Korea became more alarming.

Hawaii is home to the Pacific Command and would likely serve as an important staging area for American forces in the Pacific in the event of greater hostilities breaking out. Hawaii has played that role in every major conflict since the island nation was annexed by the United States in 1898.

Hawaii’s civil defense agency issued guidelines to residents that included: listen for warning sirens, stay away from windows and remain sheltered until they are told it is safe to exit or for 14 days, “whichever comes first,” according to the directive.

False Missile Alert

On Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency inadvertently sent an alert to tens of thousands of Hawaii cellphones that warned of an inbound ballistic missile. The alert caused widespread panic in the islands until the agency was able to issue a second message saying it was a false alarm.

That took 38 minutes and by that time many residents and visitors had run for shelter, some trying to shelter in place in their homes and others seeking refuge in concrete parking structures and commercial  buildings. It turned out an employee hit the wrong button during a routine drill that was intended to be internal only.

Hawaii officials, including Gov. David Ige, were the subject of major criticism. Ige promised a full review and appointed a top military leader to lead an investigation.

 

North Korean Missile Threat
Legislature Convenes Amid Buzz Over False Missile Alert Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Legislature Convenes Amid Buzz Over False Missile Alert

Lawmakers highlight housing and education priorities while addressing public concerns over the Saturday panic.

Missile Scare Motivates Activists Who Fear Military’s Presence Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Missile Scare Motivates Activists Who Fear Military’s Presence

The false alarm occurred four days before the 125th anniversary of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s overthrow.

Denby Fawcett: Pity Hawaii’s False Alarm ‘Button Pusher’ Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Denby Fawcett: Pity Hawaii’s False Alarm ‘Button Pusher’

Sure he started a statewide panic, but it’s too easy to make this guy the pariah.

Hawaii Distributed Phony Image Of Missile Warning Screen Hawaii Emergency Management Agency

Hawaii Distributed Phony Image Of Missile Warning Screen

Gov. David Ige’s office sent out a screenshot of menu options for emergency warnings that it thought was real.

FEMA: Hawaii Didn’t Need Approval To Retract Missile Alert Screen shot

FEMA: Hawaii Didn’t Need Approval To Retract Missile Alert

State officials have said they weren’t clear on whether they could use their system to cancel the first alert.

Chad Blair: Is David Ige’s Political Nene Cooked? Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Chad Blair: Is David Ige’s Political Nene Cooked?

Opponents smell blood as Hawaii’s governor takes heat for the false nuclear missile alert.

General Will Review Why Hawaii Sent Out False Nuke Alarm Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

General Will Review Why Hawaii Sent Out False Nuke Alarm

The initial review ordered by Gov. David Ige is due in 30 days, with a final report due in 60 days.

AP Reporter Recounts Moments After Hawaii Missile Alert AP

AP Reporter Recounts Moments After Hawaii Missile Alert

He joined the impromptu exodus from Honolulu of shaken drivers with one hand on the steering wheel, the other on a cellphone.

False Alarm Fallout: Worker Reassigned And Trump Weighs In Cory Lum/Civil Beat

False Alarm Fallout: Worker Reassigned And Trump Weighs In

Hawaii appears to lack “reasonable” safeguards, says the Federal Communications Commission chairman.

Tad Bartimus: When There’s A Nuke Headed Your Way, ‘Do What You Gotta Do’ Getty Images

Tad Bartimus: When There’s A Nuke Headed Your Way, ‘Do What You Gotta Do’

Saturday’s false alarmed proved we are all wholly unprepared for a nuclear missile strike.

Saturday Morning Panic: Reactions To Hawaii’s False Alarm

Saturday Morning Panic: Reactions To Hawaii’s False Alarm

UPDATED: Everyone seems to have something to say about the monumental mistake that warned of an incoming missile.

False Missile Threat Mistakenly Triggered As Part Of Internal Drill Cory Lum/Civil Beat

False Missile Threat Mistakenly Triggered As Part Of Internal Drill

Hawaii Gov. David Ige and emergency officials say new safeguards should prevent a repeat of the false alert.