Time is the Enemy in Halting North Korea Nuke Ambitions

By Philip E. Coyle

Philip E. Coyle is the senior science fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. He is a renowned expert on nuclear weapons, missile defense, national security, and defense spending. He is a former assistant secretary of defense and director of Operational Test & Evaluation at the Pentagon.  Coyle is the co-author of the book, The Challenges of Nuclear Non-Proliferation.

North Korea’s July intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests have crossed a new capability threshold, allowing Pyongyang to potentially reach the continental United States. Further, U.S. intelligence estimates predict that North Korea now possesses the technology to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and place it on an ICBM. As tensions remain high between the Kim regime and the Trump Administration, North Korea’s new capabilities could raise the stakes. The Cipher Brief’s Will Edwards spoke to Philip Coyle, a senior science fellow at the Center for Arms Control and a former assistant secretary of defense, about the progress of North Korea’s missile development and why finding a new agreement to halt North Korea’s program is more important than ever.

The Cipher Brief: The Pentagon recently completed a report saying North Korea could successfully miniaturize a nuclear warhead and place it on a missile. North Korea has claimed this capability for some time and previous reports suggested they had achieved this capability. What is new about this report?

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