AMU Asia Homeland Security Intelligence Opinion

North Korea Working on Mobile ICBM

By William Tucker

New intelligence, recently released into the open source, suggests that North Korea has been working on an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the U.S. North Korea’s larger missiles – namely the Taepodong 1 and 2 – require a fixed launch facility. The benefits of a mobile ICBM, such as hiding in the many tunnels Pyongyang has dung into its mountainous territory, are readily apparent. North Korea understands that should hostilities breakout the U.S. could bring a substantial amount of airpower to bear. The addition of a mobile ICBM supports North Korea’s asymmetric warfighting doctrine. Pyongyang knows full well that its fuel supplies, and its entire country for that matter, could be cutoff in the event of a conflict. This means that the North must use a unique mix of conventional and asymmetric tactics to force a cease fire as quickly as possible. The ability to threaten the U.S., not to mention Seoul and Tokyo, is but one part of this approach. On December 9, 2011, I will be presenting a webcast for AMU on North Korea that will discuss this in greater detail. You can register here.

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