EMP THREAT FROM NORTH KOREA
Largely overlooked by both government and private missile analysts concerning the new North Korean longrange missile is the danger that Pyongyang will use the system to conduct a devastating electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, attack rather than a missile-delivered nuclear ground burst.
Peter Pry, a former congressional staff member who helped lead a commission on EMP, believes initial assessments of the new North Korean missile’s range are incorrect. Current estimates are the Hwasong-14 has the range to reach all of Alaska.
The Pentagon announced that the new ICBM initially was assessed as an intermediate-range missile with a range of between 1,800 and 3,400 miles. Later analysis, however, revealed the missile has a range of greater than 3,400 miles — considered intercontinental range.
“Perhaps, most importantly, none of the analysis of the threat posed by North Korea’s ICBM considers the possibility it could be used to make an EMP attack,” Mr. Pry told Inside the Ring.
“Most analysts are still predicting a North Korean ICBM threat to the U.S. heartland is still several years away because, supposedly, the North still has to develop a re-entry vehicle and accurate guidance system to hit U.S. cities,” he noted.
However, an EMP attack involves setting off a warhead at high altitude, some 20 miles to 250 miles in space, and does not require a re-entry vehicle.
Accuracy also is not required as an EMP strike can affect all electronics over an area stretching hundreds of square miles.
“Indeed, a North Korean missile would not even have to reach the continental United States to make an EMP attack that could black out the electric grid for months or years, endangering millions of Americans,” he said.
“A weapon detonated at high altitude over the Pacific or over Canada could be hundreds of kilometers distant from the U.S. mainland and still project an EMP field deep into the United States. EMP is the threat here and now that everyone ignores.”