Here's a brief recap of what we know so far, concerning yesterday's missile launches by North Korea. Definitive analysis will take longer, as we sort through data collected by various sensors.
--So far, Pyongyang has fired a total of seven missiles, a mixture of short-range SCUD Cs, medium-range NO DONGs and of course, the long-range TAEPODONG-2. Initial analysis suggests that North Korea may have launched up to four NO DONGs and two SCUDS, in addition to the TD-2. The long-range missile, which failed less than a minute into its flight, was the third missile fired in a four-hour window by the DPRK.
--The TD-2 launch was surprising in at least one sense: it took place in the pre-dawn hours of 5 July (Korean time). Analysts had assumed that the TD-2 test would occur during daylight hours, when visual observation and optical tracking conditions would be optimum.
--The number of NO DONG and SCUD launches was also a bit unusual, although some experts believed that the TD-2 event might be part of a larger "firepower" demonstration. While at least two of the launches were near-simultaneous, the rest were staggered through the pre-dawn and early morning hours of 5 July. The launches were easily tracked and identified by U.S. intelligence.
--There were no apparent efforts to engage the TD-2, which failed in the early stages of its flight. Cause of the failure remains unknown.
--It is unclear if any foreign VIPs or observers were in North Korea for yesterday's event. If foreigners were present, the TD-2 failure would prove especially embarassing, particularly if Pyongyang was trying to market the missile to other nations.
--North Korea probably has the ability to mount another TD-2 test over the short term; however, in light of yesterday's failure, such an effort is considered unlikely. The setback for the TD-2 program is probably measured in years; there was an eight-year gap between the failed 1998 TD-1 test and yesterday's event; it may be even longer before NK attempts another long-range missile test.
--Perhaps the "real" story from Tuesday's event is not the TD-2 failure, but rather, NK's ability to marshal, conceal and launch a significant number of short and medium-range missiles, with minimal intelligence warning. That possibility underscores the difficulties associated with tracking (and potentially targeting) mobile missiles.
there was an eight-year gap between the failed 1998 TD-1 test and yesterday's event; it may be even longer before NK attempts another long-range missile test.
Good, maybe that midget will have died in the meantime and cooler heads will prevail.
Seeing as we were discussing the media and National Security these last few weeks, shouldn't we be less forthcoming about all the details we know about North Korea's missile program? I'm sure spook's using open sources, but isn't there just too much information out there about these launches? If the US were launching missiles, I don't there would be as much publically available knowledge.
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