Defense analysts said Hawaii could be targeted by North Korea, which continues to develop its nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities, Military.com reported on May 13.
Hawaii is seen as a desirable target as it is headquarters for U.S. Pacific Command and has 11 military bases, including Pearl Harbor, said Dean Cheng, senior research fellow with the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation.
A nuclear explosion that is executed high enough in the atmosphere could be hundreds of miles from Hawaii and still damage its operations and communications, the report said.
“This is not theoretical. It has already happened,” said Toby Clairmont, deputy administrator for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
On July 9, 1962, Hawaii was hit by a massive EMP attack after the U.S. government set off a 1.4-megaton nuclear warhead at a height of 248 miles above Johnston Atoll. The blast, which resulted from the “Starfish Prime” nuclear test, shut down the state’s communications systems and traffic lights.
The test caused radio disruptions in Hawaii, California, and Alaska, and knocked out six satellites above the Pacific.
“No one expected the test to impact Hawaii, because it was 850 miles away,” said Clairmont. “This kind of blast does not hurt people, but as we’ve seen, it shuts down power and phones and goes after infrastructure and could cause problems at medical facilities.”
Full article: Report: North Korean EMP attack would devastate Hawaii (World Tribune)