Whom Do You Trust?


"Whether it's 3 months or 6 months or 18 months, it is soon, and we ought to conduct ourselves as it is just a matter of time, and a matter of very short time, before North Korea has that capability . . . "  Marine General Joe Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Bill Gertz included General Dunford's important assessment in his "Inside the Ring" Washington Times' article last week. Click here for Gertz's complete September 27th article, which referred to the growing North Korean ballistic missile threat to the United States.  

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified that a Defense Department on-going eight-week study on our missile defenses efforts called for increased investments - and that's good news, even though there was little specificity on where those investments were most required!  

Importantly, General Dunford mentioned a most welcome interest in using "drone aircraft" flying near North Korea to shoot down ballistic missiles shortly after their launch - so-called boost-phase intercepts.  Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) observed it would be

"a hell of a good thing if we could put a [drone] up over the North Korean peninsula and shoot down any missile as it was taking off. I suggest we look as aggressively as we can at that [possibility].

I could not agree more, and advocate not only developing that boost-phase intercept capability, but also considering an earlier capability - one that we should be able to implement today. We should employ the air-to-air interceptors that are flown today by our Air Force and Navy fighter aircraft (as well as by over 20 of our allies).  See below.  

f16 usaf releases missile

Though AMRAM interceptors were designed to intercept other aircraft; it seems clear that they also could be used, while flying missions over international water, off North Korea's coasts, to shoot down North Korean ballistic missiles in their boost phase, while accelerating upward from their launch pads. I would argue that to bolster its deterrent value we should demonstrate this capability as quickly as possible in an up close and personal way that the North Koreans can see.

Eventually, perhaps we will get around to deploying space-based interceptors like those pioneered by the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) to provide the most cost-effective world-wide, or global, boost phase intercept capabilities.

Gen. Dunford observed, "Based on the current capacity of the North Koreans, the current threat - both the type of threat and the amount of missiles that they possess, we can protect Hawaii today against an ICBM . . . We can protect the United States against an ICBM."

While I personally have great respect for the Chairman, I can't help but urge my readers to be skeptical of this claim, except in a qualified sense.

Click here for my August 28th Newsmax discussion of this important possibility in the context of countering the currently existing threat from an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack by North Korea - an existential threat that is generally ignored by the press and regrettably most of our national security leaders.

The Chairman's reassuring statement is no doubt based on assessments from the Intelligence Community - the same Intelligence Community that has been proven to be so very wrong, several times during the past several weeks.

Click here for my message last week that summarized an updated record demonstrating that North Korea's claims recently have been more accurate that our Intelligence Community.  Just a few:

  • DIA reportedly now acknowledges that North Korea has 60 nuclear weapons, three times the numbers generally widely estimated a few weeks ago. And based on the estimates of the EMP Commission made public in 2004, some of them may be fully tested "Super-EMP" nukes, based on technology "accidentally" passed (as claimed by several Russian Generals) to North Korea over 15 years ago.
  • Earlier last month, I wrote that North Korea's state news agency, KCNA News, for the first time reported that the "explosive power" of the hydrogen bomb was "adjustable from ten kilotons to hundreds kiloton [sic.];" and that the weapon was described as "a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke ... which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP [electromagnetic pulse] attack according to strategic goals." Click here for my full September 5th message, which predated the recent more widely recognized "alarming" events.
  • These subsequent and still unfolding rapid events have burst the bubble of many who have claimed and irresponsibly propagated the myth that North Korea was years away from its now obvious status which has been its goal for decades - and against which our foreign and national security policy leaders have poorly prepared.

Moreover, some deny it still - claiming that North Korea must still show that its now demonstrated H-bomb can be mated to its now demonstrated intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and can be delivered with enough accuracy to be a serious threat to destroy a city by directly attacking it.

Regrettably, Bill Gertz reports that General Dunford also reflected these views in noting that "North Korea still faces some technical challenges, including the fact that its scientists and engineers have not fully tested a reentry vehicle and also have problems stabilizing missile is flight." 

However, the Chairman stipulated that, "But I view all those as engineering solutions that will be developed over time . . . and frankly I think we should assume that North Korea has the capability and has the will to use that capability."

Amen to that bottom line!

And it should be extended to Iran as well!

Click here for a still pertinent February 12, 2016 National Review article, "Underestimating Nuclear Missile Threats from North Korea and Iran," that I co-authored with Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, Former Science Advisor to President Reagan and EMP Commission Chairman Dr. William R. Graham, Former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council Fritz Ermarth and Former CIA analyst and Executive Director of the EMP Commission Dr. Peter Pry.  

Bottom line: Eighteen months ago, we reviewed the threat from both North Korea and Iran and concluded then that we should assume both already posed an existential threat to America with EMP attack.

Meanwhile, today, a number of so-called experts are seemingly oblivious to another North Korean existing and largely ignored existential threat, recently made public by officially sanctioned North Korean announcements that, as noted above, a "high altitude super powerful" EMP attack is a "strategic goal." 

Moreover, North Korea demonstrated in 2012 and 2016 that it could launch a satellite to approach us from our mostly undefended south - and now, such satellites can carry a demonstrated nuke - to produce that strategic goal, as we have repeatedly informed our readers for the past several years. 

Perhaps "better late than never" that General Dunford implicitly acknowledged these shortcomings in noting that "Certainly, over the last 18 months, we have increased our collection against North Korea."

I hope that the future appreciation of the growing and now apparent threat will be improved over the past, but the past record certainly urges caution and skepticism in accepting such an appraisal.

In particular, consider General Dunford's qualified observation - "Although I'm not sure we've seen any transfer of nuclear technology, but we certainly have seen missile technology and a wide range of other weapon systems, or expertise that they have exported outside of North Korea." 

As just one important counter point, Iranian "observers" have been reported to have attended North Korean underground nuclear tests, as well as North Korea's ballistic missile tests. 

It's hard to imagine that such North Korean technology and "know how" has not been transferred to Iran. And the Obama administration's terrible Iran deal, again being considered for reaffirmation in a couple of weeks, has made available to Iran billions of dollars to buy from a money-strapped North Korea whatever the Mullahs wish to buy to supplement their own independently development programs.  

Moreover, Gertz reported that "The Pentagon also is worried that North Korea will sell some of its nuclear arms to other nations or terrorist groups." So . . .

I expect this observation applies for General Dunford! 

And we should not forget the "loose nukes" specter of terrorist groups - perhaps Iranian surrogates - somehow getting their hands on nuclear weapons and smuggling them into the United States to detonate them in key cities.

I do not mean to overstate my criticism of General Dunford's reported testimony. I do very much appreciate his candor - particularly since it undoubtedly reflects the official views/assessments of the Intelligence Community.

But that fact is particularly alarming.  He - and we - have a right to expect better intelligence community assessments than those that again and again have been demonstrated to be false.

And I certainly welcome his testimony of the Trump administration's new emphasis on building more effective ballistic missile defenses as quickly as possible - along with a similar congressional interest and emphasis as reflected by increased funding.

Click here and for a more up to date summary of many of my overarching views in The Washington Times and click here for an important National Review discussion of existing and the potential capabilities of our Aegis BMD missile defense. 

So, whom do you trust?

Bottom Lines.        

I trust that Marine General Joe Dunford, our JCS Chairman, is also skeptical of the Intelligence Community assessments, given its recent (and previous) failures.   

I remain very concerned that it - and apparently the political/policy elite - are ignoring the existential threat that a single nuclear explosion over the United States could produce.

Our leaders have for years ignored the near-term existential threat from North Korea (and Iran) posed by nuclear weapons detonated in space over the United States. This threat has long existed from North Korea - and finally is being recognized by even the dumbest among us, even as "Rocket Man" Kim Jong Un is making it abundantly clear.

So will the Washington "powers that be" continue to ignore this existential threat reality? Or deal effectively with it?

The key question is: "Do we have the will and time to do so?"

The clearest pending indication of the current political status will be the outcome of the NDAA 2018 Senate House Conference and its consideration of the EMP Commission.

Stay tuned!!!!

What can you do?

Join us in praying for our nation, and for a rebirth of the freedom sought, achieved and passed to us by those who came before us.

Help us to spread our message to the grass roots and to encourage all "powers that be" to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do.

Begin by passing this message to your friends and suggest they visit our webpage www.highfrontier.org, for more information. Also, please encourage your sphere of influence to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.

Ambassador Henry F. Cooper is Chairman of High Frontier and a former Acquisition Executive for all U.S. ballistic missile defenses.  He also served in several other senior USG acquisition and policy positions, including as President Reagan's Chief Negotiator at the Geneva Defense and Space Talks with the Soviet Union. He is currently focused on helping local, state and federal authorities protect against the natural and manmade EMP threat by building effective ballistic missile defenses and hardening the electric grid. Otherwise, loss of the electric grid would freeze America's "just in time" economy, leaving most Americans without means for survival.


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