WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday, Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, confirmed the threat of North Korea to Hawaii.
The admiral detailed potential vulnerabilities that exist within current U.S. missile defense capabilities that could put Hawaii at risk, according to a press release from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office.
Asked by Gabbard about the threat of North Korea to Hawaii specifically, Admiral Harris stated, “Kim Jong-un is clearly in a position to threaten Hawaii today. … Our ballistic missile architecture is sufficient to protect Hawaii today, but it can be overwhelmed. If Kim Jong-un or someone else launched ballistic missiles — ICBMs — against the United States, we would have to make the decision on which ones to take out or not.”
Gabbard said Hawaii is home to the largest concentration of U.S. military strategic assets for well over 3,000 miles, making it a prime target for North Korea’s aggression.
“As I traveled across Hawaii during my recent statewide town hall tour, I heard from my constituents on every island their concern about the threat posed by North Korea’s increased nuclear and ballistic missile activity and capabilities that place Hawaii squarely within North Korea’s crosshairs,” she said. “It is the people of Hawaii and our way of life that are at risk if North Korea’s missiles turn towards our shores.”
She said Harris’s testimony affirmed the seriousness of the threat and highlighted the need to strengthen the country’s current missile defense infrastructure to ensure the defense of Hawaii.
“I’m continuing this urgent push to strengthen the protection of Hawaii against the threat that exists today, and the complex threat we know will emerge in the future,” she said. “I urge my colleagues to take this threat seriously and provide the resources and tools necessary to defend Hawaii against this threat.”