North Korea Is Closer to Building a Nuclear-Capable ICBM Than We Thought

Experts thought it would take the Hermit Kingdom until 2020 to develop the technology. A new report from the Pentagon shaves two years off that estimate.

A new, confidential Pentagon report has determined that North Korea will be able to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead by as early as next year, the Washington Post reports.

Up until now, experts figured it would take until at least 2020 for North Korea to accomplish that feat. But according to the new report, prepared by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the nation could begin production on a “reliable, nuclear-capable ICBM” by 2018.

The Hermit Kingdom successfully tested an ICBM that can hit a target 4,000 miles away from its coastline back in July, alarming defense experts around the world. The accomplishment has put Hawaii on high alert, prompting the state to prepare a nuclear readiness plan that outlines a number of concrete steps people should take in the event of an attack on Honolulu.

“The apparent success of the July 4 test is an alarming development as North Korea accelerates its pursuit of being able to hold the United States at risk with nuclear weapons,” chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Texas representative Mac Thornberry, said in a statement Tuesday. “I have grown increasingly alarmed that North Korea is acting with a greater sense of urgency than we are.”

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