(Editor’s Note; We encourage our readers to send us pieces to be considered for publication. This comes from Cris Gettel, a veteran of both the regular Army and National Guard. He is a graduate student currently, studying international relations in the Washington DC area)

On October 9th, 2006, North Korea detonated its first nuclear weapon.  With a yield of less than one kiloton, it was about 1/15th the size of the early atomic weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.  However, since then North Korea has gone on to detonate five more nuclear weapons in underground testing facilities, with the most recent in September 2017.  North Korea has steadily increased its yield and the size of its arsenal, with modern estimates listing the 2017 detonation at 50 kilotons and its arsenal between 30 and 40 similarly sized warheads, with the capacity to construct roughly seven more a year.

Despite its progress in producing warheads, North Korea has no confirmed delivery systems.  This is likely due to North Koreas inability to miniaturize the warheads in order to fit them into the nosecones of its ballistic missiles.  North Korea has developed the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile, which has a range of 8,000 miles, enough to reach the mainland United States.  The accuracy and reliability of this missile are unknown, but this is a major step in North Korea’s nuclear program.  Since a nuclear warhead cannot be attached to this missile, North Korea cannot launch nuclear weapons.