Could the US take out North Korea’s missiles before launch?

April 18, 2017


A failed missile launch in North Korea Sunday has brought renewed attention to reports that the United States is trying to degrade North Korea’s missile capabilities via hacking.

It’s unclear if the US interfered with this specific test, but the tactic is actively being pursued by the US military, according to public statements and Congressional testimony by current and former members of the armed forces.

“There is a very strong belief that the US — through cyber methods — has been successful on several occasions in interrupting these sorts of tests and making them fail,” former British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind told the BBC.

Rifkind’s comments come on the heels of a report in The New York Times last month saying US President Donald Trump inherited a cyberwar on North Korea in the hope of sabotaging its missile tests.

“It’s clear United States policy to develop the cyber capability to disable enemy ballistic missiles,” said Greg Austin, a professor at the Australian Centre for Cyber Security at the University of New South Wales.

It’s been touted as a cost-saving measure that could be used in conjunction with the traditional ballistic missile defense systems, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Retired Adm. Archer Macy said at a 2015 talk on missile defense the Defense Department was trying to develop technologies to prevent missiles from launching, mess with their flight paths or navigation systems and even destroy their warheads.

“We cannot afford to build enough interceptors to engage the quantity of threat missiles which can be presented to us. And even if we could, we can never expect a 100% probability of defeating all of them regardless of the techniques used,” Macy said…

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