The miniaturization myth

Obama and ‘experts’ wrongly measure North Korea’s nuclear intentions


By R. James Woolsey and Peter Vincent Pry

On March 9, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, a paranoid psychopath, displayed a nuclear missile warhead he threatens to launch against the United States and its allies.

The public is being misled by the White House, some so-called “experts” and mainstream media casting doubt on whether the Great Leader’s threat is real. They claim North Korea has not demonstrated sufficient “miniaturization” of a nuclear weapon to be delivered by a missile.

However, defense and intelligence community officials warn North Korea probably already has nuclear armed missiles. The Defense Department’s 2016 report “Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea” warns that, in addition to medium-range missiles, they have six KN-08 mobile nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that can strike the U.S. mainland.

Recently, the Pentagon warned North Korea rolled out a new longer-range ICBM, the KN-14, that can probably deliver a nuclear warhead to Chicago.

So the notion that we don’t have to worry about North Korean nuclear missiles because they cannot “miniaturize” warheads is a myth. Adm. William Gortney, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is correct to presume that is the case and to prepare to defend against that threat, as he said last October.

Technologically, “miniaturizing” a nuclear warhead is much easier than developing an atomic bomb or a multi-stage missile for orbiting satellites — as North Korea has already done. Ever since the USSR orbited Sputnik in 1957, analysts have rightly credited any nation that has tested nuclear weapons and orbited satellites with the capability to make a nuclear missile warhead.

Miniaturization was no huge obstacle to the United States.

According to the “Nuclear Weapon Archive” just a few years after destroying Hiroshima with an A-Bomb weighing 9,700 pounds, the U.S. Army had the T-1, a man-carried atomic landmine weighing 150 pounds.

In 1958, the United States developed its first ICBM warhead, the W49 for the Atlas, in about one year. Development could have been faster without USAF stalling because it preferred bombers, according to Edmund Beard’s book “Developing the ICBM.”

A major problem with warhead miniaturization was the bulky, heavy vacuum tube electronics of the 1950s. Microelectronics resulted in part from programs to miniaturize nuclear weapons.

The microelectronics revolution solved most technological challenges of warhead miniaturization long ago for North Korea and for all nuclear missile aspirants.

A nuclear missile warhead also needs shock absorbers to soften forces of acceleration during launching and deceleration when re-entering the atmosphere. A heat shield to penetrate the atmosphere, in order to blast a city, is also necessary — these are technologically simple and within North Korea’s capability.

Indeed, in 2013, a publicity photo by state media of North Korea’s KSM-3 satellite interior shows a shock absorber cage, allegedly for an earth observation camera but suitable for a small nuclear weapon. North Korea recently conducted another illegal missile test demonstrating a re-entry vehicle and heat shield.

The president and the press is missing, or ignoring, the biggest threat from North Korea — their satellites. On February 7, North Korea orbited a second satellite, the KSM-4, to join their KSM-3 satellite launched in December 2012.

Both satellites now are in south polar orbits, evading many U.S. missile defense radars and flying over the United States from the south, where our defenses are limited. Both satellites — if nuclear armed — could make an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that could blackout the U.S. electric grid for months or years, thereby killing millions.

Technologically, such an EMP attack is easy — since the weapon detonates at high-altitude, in space, no shock absorbers, heat shield, or vehicle for atmospheric re-entry is necessary. Since the radius of the EMP is enormous, thousands of kilometers, accuracy matters little. Almost any nuclear weapon will do.

Moreover, North Korea probably has nuclear weapons specially designed, not to make a big explosion, but to emit lots of gamma rays to generate high-frequency EMP. Senior Russian generals warned EMP Commissioners in 2004 that their EMP nuclear warhead design leaked “accidentally” to North Korea, and unemployed Russian scientists found work in North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

The 2004 EMP Commission report warns: “Certain types of relatively low-yield nuclear weapons can be employed to generate potentially catastrophic EMP effects over wide geographic areas, and designs for variants of such weapons may have been illicitly trafficked for a quarter-century.”

Such an EMP nuclear warhead could resemble an Enhanced Radiation Warhead (ERW, also called a Neutron Bomb), a technology dating to the 1950s, deployed by the U.S. in the 1980s as the W48 ERW artillery shell, weighing less than 100 pounds.

Are EMP warheads on those North Korean satellites?

The immediate focus should be on Senate passage of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act to protect the U.S. electric grid — not on the miniaturization problem myth.


Originally published on The Washington Times, Sunday April 24th, 2016

37 thoughts on “The miniaturization myth

  1. Great tips, Lisa. I always ask for a deposit for larger projects and I even consider doing so for smaller projects as well. Joan Macioce

  2. Hi Dr. Peter Pry; I’m a former reporter with the Wall Street Journal. I covered the Pentagon for several years and worked with Jim Woolsey on arms control matters. I’m writing a piece for Energy and Environment Publications, which publishes several Internet newsletters in Washington, D.C., on the electric grid an its vulnerabilities to GMD and EMP. I would like to talk to you about the impact of the Congressional EMP Commission. Although it ended in 2008, Its influence seems to be still with us. It did some interesting EMP experiments and had talks with Russian experts that gave us a better sense of the threat.

    If you’re up for a chat about this, let me know when and how to contact you.

  3. Mr. Albert W.L. Moore Jr.

    You are WHAT?

    Director Woolsey I know; Dr. Peter Vincent Pry I know…But!? YOU??? WHAT are you again?…It seems Your MARVELOUS CREDENTIALS have slipped by me.

    Now, the reason that I’m concerned is that:

    You make the types of insinuations, and innuendos, (not to mention outright accusations), that are HIGHLY REMINISCENT of a particular Psychopathic, chronic liar, that just tried to slip their way into the Oval Office…again.

    Possibly you have credentials that give you profound enough credibility to make such blatantly damning accusations; but, since I see no evidence that you DO HOLD such credibility; I’d suggest that you FIRST put forth your PROVEN ABILITIES in SPY CRAFT before you launch a full frontal attack on an CLEARLY & PROPERLY elected, (by “WE the People…”), President. (who could WALK to the podium without stumbling).

    AND! While you’re deriving your “C.I.A.ish” SPY CREDENTIALS., maybe you could also take the time to explain just WHERE you get the RIGHT, (or authority), to so denigrate a NEWLY ELECTED President.

    Until you do sir, I STRONGLY SUGGEST that you cease & desist your diatribe & rumor mongering. It’s HIGHLY UNBECOMING of an intelligent conversation.

  4. Mr. Moore,

    If you should happen to revisit your comment on this particular article, what are your thoughts now that Donald Trump is the POTUS ELECT(SELECT?)? Is he an enemy of the forces trying to subvert the USA from within and with out, a collaborator, or a useful idiot and well meaning stooge who will be manipulated to fulfill their agenda? I personally want to believe the first possibility, but tend to think the latter two are more likely. I’d be interested to see your opinion on this, sir.

  5. What the authors miss is that the pretender is a Quisling who has played a key role in the Comintern plot to inflict an electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States, which will cause the deaths of 90% of the American populace within the ensuing year, about 250,000 in the first hour as civilian aviation augurs in.

    Dr. Pry, at least, can’t say he hasn’t been told at least twice. On 26 April 2014 I sent him the following email:

    My Dear Dr. Pry,
    Heard you on Coast to Coast 25 April 2014.
    Glad you got past wishful thinking on PRK capability.
    But you and others make fatal mistake of failing to perceive pretender is enemy agent.
    RINO failure to investigate in 2011, and continued stupidity since then, makes the flash all but inevitable. The pretender will let the sheeple believe the flash was a solar flare, a CME, and pass off invaders and oppressors as relief and rescue workers.
    [elaboration deleted]
    On 23 August 2014 I sent the following email to Dr. Pry:
    I awoke in the early morning of 22 August 2014 and turned on Coast to Coast AM. You were talking about the effects of EMP attacks and solar flares and mass ejections that hit the earth.
    A caller asked about the possibility that members of the American elite actually want to cause these effects.
    You replied that you “hate to believe” that anybody in America would want to hurt it.
    Your subjective aversion to believing a proposition does not make it any the less true.

    As I explained in my email and attachments to you of 26 April 2014, the pretender to the Office of President is an enemy agent, a member of the international communist movement (the Comintern), who has been and is conspiring with the Comintern rulers of Russia, China and the People’s Republic of Korea to trigger an EMP attack on the United States that would take out substantially all of America’s electric and electronic infrastructure. This would, as you know, cause the deaths of 90% of the American populace.
    America will be subjugated, due largely to the duplicity and stupidity of its own people, who will not recognize or deal with their own internal enemies. I hate to believe it, but so it seems.
    The full text of the 23 August 2014 email is set out in “American Holocaust: Communist Subjugation of America”

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