US Pacific Commander: North Korea a Threat to Hawaii

Pushes for More Missile Defense Spending

In comments which centered almost entirely on a push for more funding for missile defense and radar systems, Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris told the House Armed Services Committee today that North Korea poses a direct threat to Hawaii, and that measures for “direct” defense of the islands must be taken.

Harris told Congress North Korea is becoming “more aggressive” in developing missiles, citing 20 missile tests last year, but not mentioning that the tests were overwhelmingly failures. The ability of North Korea to accurately hit something as far away as Hawaii is very much in doubt.

But while Harris conceded the current defensive systems in Hawaii were probably sufficient for now, he insisted they could quickly be “overwhelmed” by enough missiles being fired at them, and that a substantial upgrade should be considered.

In addition to North Korea’s struggles with building functional missiles, also absent from Harris’ comments were serious doubts about the effectiveness of the US anti-missile systems, with experts saying that the Pentagon’s claims are almost certainly overstated.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of