DIRECT LINK to MP3 of this Episode: https://tinyurl.com/SDP59-MP3
“An early-morning emergency alert mistakenly warning of an incoming ballistic missile attack was dispatched to cellphones across Hawaii on Saturday, setting off widespread panic in a state that was already on edge because of escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea. The alert, sent by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, was revoked 38 minutes after it was issued, prompting confusion over why it was released — and why it took so long to rescind. State officials and residents of a normally tranquil part of the Pacific, as well as tourists swept up in the panic, immediately expressed outrage.” (NYT – January 13, 2018)
HOW ALERTS ARE SUPPOSED TO WORK
To describe the steps in issuing an inbound missile to the United States, Dr. Perrodin extracted upon his personal research of the 9/11 attacks and the change that day in national DEFCON status from a 5 (lowest state of readiness) to 3 (Air Force ready to mobilize in 15 minutes). The DEFense readiness CONdition (DEFCON) is an alert state used by the United States Air Force and is controlled by the President and Secretary of Defense. David argued that his interpretation has always been that the:
(1) North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) would detect the threat through satellites, seismic or other sensors.
(2) US Strategic Command (STRATCOMM) would then verify the threat through various tracking and confirmation measures,
(3) STRATCOMM would inform the President and Secretary of Defense and a decision would be made regarding the US response, which might result in a change of the DEFCON status which then triggers a prescribed sequence of readiness and offensive tactics. It is at this step that the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) would be activated by the President and messages would be delivered via EBS as an expeditious method of communicating with the American public in the event of a war, threat of war, or grave national crisis.
Hence, the Hawaii alert warning should not have been possible as any such warning would have been per directive of the President.
THE STORY ISN’T MAKING SENSE
Jim Malliard pointed out several discrepancies with the missile alert and subsequent actions, including:
- Why wasn’t it possible to immediately send a corrective message from the same system that sent the false alert?
- If this was a drill, why not just send out a message stating that this is a test of the emergency alert system – and only a test – there would be no need to state that it was a missile warning?
- The corrective measures now includes a second verify that the alert should be issued – this seems woefully inadequate relative to the degree of the threat.
- Why is the employee responsible for this not responding to questing and why was he re-assigned? This suggests that the act might have been a prank that got out of hand, but wouldn’t that result in immediate termination? If this was a flaw in the system, then this mistake could have been made by any employee, so why re-assign this person?
- Could this have been a hack? If so, the lack of media coverage certainly supports a narrative of wanting to bury this incident.
- Why hasn’t NORAD or STRATCOMM chimed in on this – perhaps denoting the standard operating procedures, sans guarded information, of how the American public would be warned of an inbound missile?
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Dr. Perrodin’s “Safety Doc Podcast” negotiates school and community safety. To be informed about industrial safety, please contact Appalachian State University Professor Dr. Timothy Ludwig, PhD, at www.safety-doc.com
About this episode’s guest:
Learn more about episode guest Jim Malliard and subscribe to his newsletter at www.malliard.com
Hawaii false missile alert: How it happened, timeline of events. (January 15, 2018). Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved from https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/hawaii-false-missile-alert-how-it-happened-timeline-of-events/
Hawaii Panics After Alert About Incoming Missile is Sent in Error (January 13, 2018). New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/13/us/hawaii-missile.html
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