US looked at hacking North Korean missiles on the launch pad
The Pentagon has embraced a controversial policy of destroying enemy nuclear missiles before they launch, an internal policy document from May 2017 shows. It’s an effort that appears to include executing cyberattacks against missile control systems or components.The system makes some sense and would be an integral part of a defense in depth approach to dealing with enemy nuclear attacks. It would be a pre-launch phase missile defense system. I would still like to see a launch phase system that would effective against adversaries like North Korea and Iran.
The Pentagon document does not name adversaries. But experts who reviewed it for The Daily Beast considered it aimed at North Korea—and may represent a fallback option for the Trump administration should its June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un fail to result in the denuclearization President Trump desires.
Former State Department nonproliferation official Alexandra Bell called the Pentagon plan an “exercise to legally justify a potential attack on a North Korean missile on the launchpad.”
Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association added, “Like the overall U.S. missile defense effort, the intended role and purpose is North Korea, and possibly Iran, too.”
For about four years, senior U.S. military officers have feared that the financial costs of developing interceptors to destroy incoming ballistic missiles could jeopardize a domestic missile shield. They’ve sought what’s called “left of launch” options to disable adversary missiles before they leave the launchpad. And they’ve intimated that a more cost-effective approach is to develop digital weapons to corrupt or disable launch controls, guidance systems or aspects of the missile supply chain.