North Korea launched its longest-range, most capable missile ever on the morning of July 28, and experts say that all of the U.S., besides Florida, now lies within range of a nuclear attack from Kim Jong Un.
Fortunately, unlike an attack from a nuclear peer state like Russia, North Korea’s less-advanced missiles would only be expected to hit a few key targets in the U.S. And even that limited attack would still take North Korea years to prepare for, since it still needs to perfect its missiles engines with more tests, in addition to guidance systems. It also needs to build and deploy enough of them to survive U.S. missile defenses.
But a North Korean propaganda photo from 2013 showing Kim Jong Un reviewing documents before a missile launch (pictured to the right) may have inadvertently leaked the planned targets for a nuclear attack on the U.S. On the wall beside Kim and his men, there’s a map with lines pointing towards some militarily significant locations.
In Hawaii, one of the closest targets to North Korea, the U.S. military bases Pacific Command, which is in charge of all U.S. military units in the region. San Diego is PACOM’s home port, where many of the U.S. Navy ships that would respond to a North Korean attack base when not deployed.
Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana holds the U.S. Air Force’s Global Strike Command, the entity that would be responsible for firing back with the US’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Washington D.C., of course, is the home of the U.S.’s commander-in-chief, who must approve of nuclear orders.
All in all, the targets selected by North Korea demonstrate a knowledge of the U.S.’s nuclear command and control, but as they come from a propaganda image, they should be taken with a grain of salt.
North Korea has developed nuclear weapons as a means of regime security, according to more than a dozen experts interviewed by Business Insider. If Kim ever shot a nuclear-armed missile the U.S.’s way, before the missiles even landed, U.S. satellites in space would spot the attack and the president would order a return fire likely before the first shots even landed.
As unique as Kim is among world leaders, he must know a swift deposal awaits him if he ever engages in a nuclear confrontation.
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