North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program and the possibility of a nuclear strike are listed among long-term threats posed to the U.S. by a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released on Thursday.
The report will be given to congressional committees and is entitled “National Security, Long-Range Emerging Threats Facing the United States As Identified by Federal Agencies.”
The document lists the DPRK’s military developments and weapons research as two areas that constitute a threat to the U.S., as identified by the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
North Korea is listed alongside China, Russia, and Iran as part of a group of threats posed by “adversaries’ political and military advancements.”
“North Korea is developing capabilities to strike North America and its allies with long-range missiles and may produce significant numbers of intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the report reads.
The report adds “nuclear strike against the continental United States” and “numerical overmatch of ballistic missile systems,” as possible examples of the threat that North Korea’s continued weapons development poses.
The GAO report’s findings are in tension with previous comments from U.S. President Donald Trump, who declared the threat from the DPRK’s nuclear program to be over after returning from a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June.
North Korea is also listed as developing other “inherently threatening military devices that may be used by our adversaries to inflict harm upon the United States or its national security interests.”
The DPRK is again highlighted alongside China, Iran, and Russia for developing Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) Platforms.
“Future advances in artificial intelligence, sensors, data analytics, and space-based platforms could create an environment of ‘ubiquitous ISR’, where people and equipment could be tracked throughout the world in near-real time. China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are developing multiple ISR platforms,” the report adds.
The GAO’s assessment follows earlier reports which highlighted North Korea’s continued work on missile bases around the country.
Researchers from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies earlier in December examined satellite imagery and noted expansion at the DPRK’s Yeongjeo-dong missile base near China.
Although North Korea did commit “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” during the Singapore Summit in June, the agreement did not include any concrete steps towards or a timeline for disarmament.
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Featured Image: Washington, DC - Capitol Building by DHuiz on 2014-05-16 18:41:04