WASHINGTON – North Korea is preparing to launch a satellite capable of detonating a nuclear weapon more than 100 miles over the United States, creating an electromagnetic pulse that could destroy America’s electrical grid system, a former director of the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative said in a new report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Former Ambassador Henry Cooper – who was President Ronald Reagan’s chief representative in the “Star Wars” initiative negotiations with the Soviet Union and SDI director under President George H.W. Bush – said North Korea is preparing its Sohae satellite complex for a launch on a southern trajectory, which is said to be a test.
Cooper told G2 Bulletin the United States lacks sufficient anti-ballistic missile defenses in the southern part of the U.S., especially if the satellite turns out to be a nuclear device that could orbit above the U.S. and explode at a high altitude, affecting the lives of all Americans.
He said it would be difficult to distinguish a test from an actual attack, and the best way to counter such a threat to the U.S. homeland is to knock out the missile at the time it begins its trajectory over a southern polar route. But he acknowledged such an action would be politically unpalatable.
However, if the North Korean satellite turned out to be a nuclear device and is detonated over 100 miles above the U.S, it could destroy all life-sustaining critical infrastructures that rely on the national grid, potentially leading to the death of most Americans within the following year.
All grid-dependent systems could suffer, including food- and water-supply chains, fuel-supply systems, communications, banking and finance.
“It’s long past time to counter this threat,” Cooper said.
Ignoring the threat
The North Koreans have been continuously upgrading the Sohae launch complex to handle larger, longer-range rockets with heavier payloads, Cooper pointed out.
He disputes the contention of most experts that Pyongyang is still years away from a credible intercontinental ballistic missile capability that could threaten the U.S. mainland.
He said “these experts usually ignore the threat from a nuclear weapon carried on a satellite – a capability demonstrated more than three years ago,” when North Korea first succeeded in launching an ICBM in December 2012.
At that launch, Pyongyang successfully orbited a satellite assessed to be large enough to contain a nuclear weapon.
He said the Japanese Ministry of Defense already has ordered its military to be prepared to destroy any missile fired by North Korea that poses a threat to Japan.
He said U.S. leaders could do the same to protect Americans from an “already demonstrated de facto North Korean Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) first developed by the Soviets during the early days of the Cold War.”
“The resulting attack from the south could create an EMP that would shut down the electric grid indefinitely – potentially leading to the death of most Americans with a year,” Cooper said.
North Korean preparations to conduct an ICBM test come three weeks after Pyongyang announced it had conducted an underground hydrogen bomb test.