North Korea has developed advanced nuclear weapons that can be delivered with its ballistic missile forces, a startling fact that the White House has worked to downplay, according to a report from former Pentagon strategic analyst Mark Schneider.
The report, which was published in the journal Comparative Strategy, said that the nuclear warheads could be used to strike Hawaii, Alaska and parts of the West Coast.
The Defense Intelligence Agency confirmed in a separate assessment in 2013 that the “North [Korean government] currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles,” according to Schneider’s 16-page report.
“This is disturbing news,” Schneider wrote. “The North Korean regime is one of the most fanatic, paranoid, and militaristic dictatorships on the planet. … While North Korea has long made occasional nuclear attack threats, the scope, magnitude, and frequency of these threats have vastly increased in 2013.”
The details of Schneider’s report, titled “The North Korean Nuclear Threat to the United States,” come at a time when North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, has issued various statements threatening to attack the United States.
Schneider reported that the Obama administration has worked to downplay the details of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities because it undermines the White House’s diplomatic efforts to block the country from obtaining such weapons.
Part of the White House’s effort to conceal the details of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities has been to assure the public that the North’s warheads are either extremely limited in their range or untested, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
However, according to Schneider, the North’s capabilities have advanced greatly with the help Chinese-provided technology and could be used to strike almost anywhere in the U.S.
“The argument that there is no current nuclear missile threat to the U.S. from North Korea is based upon the dubious assertion that North Korean nuclear weapons are too heavy to be delivered by the North Korea [intercontinental ballistic missile] that successfully orbited a satellite,” the report said. “This position is frequently taken by opponents of U.S. missile defense and nuclear deterrence both in the U.S. and abroad.”
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has repeatedly stated that both Iran and North Korea are incapable of launching a nuclear attack on the U.S., sentiments that have been echoed by James Clapper, director of national intelligence.
But despite these assurances, the Defense Intelligence Agency stands by its assessment that the threat from North Korea is real.
Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti confirmed in a congressional hearing on April 2 that North Korea “remains a significant threat to United States’ interests.”
“North Korea continues to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in violation of multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions,” he said.
Schneider concludes his report by stating that the Obama White House “is not well suited to handle” the nuclear threat from North Korea.
“The Obama administration’s current position on the North Korean nuclear threat may very well be linked with its plans to radically reduce U.S. military capabilities in both the nuclear and the conventional arena in the near future, starting with sequestration,” the report said. “From its first days in office the Obama administration downgraded the importance of nuclear deterrence and cut missile defense.”
“The Obama administration’s ‘nuclear zero’ ideology does not impress North Korea,” the report added. “Indeed, it may have precipitated the unprecedented nuclear attack threats from North Korea.”
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