Since March 4, Pyongyang has been trying to disrupt GPS receivers critical to South Korean military communications apparently in protest of the ongoing joint military training exercises between South Korean and U.S. forces. Strong jamming signals were sent intermittently every five to 10 minutes.
The scope of the damage has been minimal, putting some mobile phones and certain military equipment that use GPS signals on the fritz.
Large metropolitan areas including parts of Seoul, Incheon and Paju have been affected by the jamming, but “the situation is getting wrapped up, no severe damage has been reported for the last two days,” Kyoungwoo Lee, deputy director of Korea Communications Commission, said.
The jamming, however, has raised questions about whether the Korean peninsula is bracing for new electronic warfare.
The North is believed to be nearing completion of an electromagnetic pulse bomb that, if exploded 25 miles above ground would cause irreversible damage to electrical and electronic devices such as mobile phones, computers, radio and radar, experts say.
“We assume they are at a considerably substantial level of development,” Park Chang-kyu of the Agency for Defense Development said at a briefing to the parliament Monday.
Thankfully, as far as American interests stateside are concerned, development is one thing while deployment is another. Don’t get me wrong — a properly-deployed EMP device could be even more deadly and damaging than a dirty bomb, but it is infinitely more difficult for an EMP to be detonated at 132,000 feet than it is for a dirty bomb to be carried into a major metropolitan area and set off.
Before I stopped my life in its tracks to study for the Bar Exam and do my best to help out a pregnant wife on bedrest, I was reading George W. Bush’s memoir, Decision Points. While I cannot say that I agree with every decision the man made, and while I cannot say that this nation was not irreversibly damaged economically by some of the actions undertaken by his administration, in recent weeks and in light of this ABC News piece I find that I miss the previous administration more and more. Something tells me that George W. Bush would not have been able to stand idly by as Moammar Gaddafi bombed his own cities and murdered his own people. Likewise, something tells me that North Korea would not be allowed to reach a “considerably substantial level of development” of an EMP device on his watch.
We need a leader with resolve in these dangerous times. Right now, we have anything but.