In a blockbuster admission, Admiral Bill Gortney, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) disclosed that the Pentagon now believes North Korea has mastered the ability to miniaturize its nuclear bombs so they can be fitted onto their latest mobile KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which are capable of reaching the continental United States.
At the news conference, Adm. Gortney flatly stated, Pyongyang has “the ability to put a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 and shoot it at the homeland [the continental United States].” He expressed confidence that the US could knock down such a missile if launched by North Korea or its ally, Iran.
He also admitted, however, that it is “very difficult” for the US to counter the threat, because its intelligence is unable to follow the mobile ICBMs and give an efficient warning before they are launched.
The admission was accompanied by the announcement that NORAD is reopening its nuclear-EMP-proof Cheyenne Mountain bunker,
Despite Adm. Gortney’s concerns, he still believes that if a KN-08 was fired at the US homeland, in the Admiral’s words – “Should one get airborne and come at us [the US homeland], I’m confident we would be able to knock it down.”
Even if this is true, it is not clear if the US ballistic defense could knock down an incoming North Korean ICBM in time, if the nuke is intended as an EMP weapon, which explodes soon after re-entering the atmosphere.
Given the degree of cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and North Korea, it is highly likely that any nuclear-EMP-technology mastered by North Korea has already been shared with Iran. Therefore, the EMP-proliferation danger from North Korea to Iran is a catastrophic danger.