Kim on missile alerts: ‘Review the entire system’

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Mayor Harry Kim talks with members of civil defense after a missile threat was confirmed as false on Saturday at Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Mayor Harry Kim says the state needs to reassess everything about its missile warning program, not just what led to last week’s false alarm that caused panic across Hawaii.

“My recommendation is we must review the entire system,” he said, including air-raid warning tests and public education efforts. “The problem is not just the error that was on Saturday.”


He said he wants to see a more detailed plan of what happens after an attack.

“We can’t just leave it vague,” said Kim, who served as Hawaii County Civil Defense chief for 24 years. He said the county’s plan has to be based on the state’s plan to create consistency.

The all-caps alert, which told residents there was an incoming missile and was not a drill, was sent to cellphones at 8:07 a.m. Saturday when a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency employee pressed the wrong button during a shift change. Automatic warnings also were issued on radio and television stations. It took 38 minutes for a correction message to be sent to residents’ and visitors’ phones.

Correction alerts were sent out sooner via social media or through radio by county Civil Defense.

The internal tests that caused the error have been suspended.

Kim said he asked the state to not go ahead with implementing the missile warning system, in response to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, because he didn’t think it was ready.

In the meantime, county Civil Defense isn’t planning to expand its public information efforts, though meetings are still being scheduled with community associations or other groups by request, said Administrator Talmadge Magno.

Larger public meetings to discuss preparation aren’t being planned.

Just last week, a county Civil Defense employee went on Na Leo TV to talk about preparedness for a nuclear attack. Magno said he is encouraging people to watch the video, which can be seen at

If Oahu is hit, fallout, which can be tracked, can still reach this island. He said residents might have to stay indoors for at two days or more as that dissipates. Civil Defense officials recommend having supplies for two weeks for any disaster.

Meanwhile, county Civil Defense officials and a spokesperson for HEMA will update the County Council on Tuesday about the false alarm and steps being taken to address it. That will occur during a 9 a.m. Public Safety and Mass Transit Committee meeting at the West Hawaii Civic Center.

Valerie Poindexter, County Council chairwoman, said she’d like to know what the county can do to get the word out faster if there is another false alert.

Kim said the county initially was told at 8:10 or 8:11 a.m. there was no missile, which it received official confirmation of at 8:15 a.m. Kim said the county began informing police and fire departments right away. The county then released a radio message of Kim informing the public of the false alarm. The Tribune-Herald received that at 8:24 a.m.

Poindexter said she is wondering if the Nixle alert system, used by police to issue cellphone alerts, also could have been used to inform the public.

She said she’d also like to see public meetings to better inform people on what they should do when they get a real alert.

“There’s a lot of things to talk about,” Poindexter said.


HEMA has a nuclear threat page at

Email Tom Callis at

  1. Rusty Da Clown January 19, 2018 6:13 am

    Is Harry now the civil defense guy or the mayor? Why is he always jumping in at civil defense? He has a civil defense guy, let him do his job! Just a has-been wannabe whose last experience with a real disaster was almost three decades ago.

  2. RKimo January 19, 2018 9:34 pm

    This is my take on the missile thing.I was pissed at the complete irresponsibility of our
    lawmakers and policy makers and their deception as to the truth of Kim jun un ability to hit Hawaii.
    I am certain and most of them are too that kim jun wanker CANNOT hit Hawaii with a missile.
    The weapon needs sophisticated and real time sattelite based guidance systems and he Does NOT have them.
    The Chinese or Russians sure as hell will not give them up. Can he go intercontinental?
    Probably, however Hawaii is a thumbnail and there is no way he can hit it.
    Also he is probably not stupid enough to commit suicide. He has not bombed
    So. Korea or Japan for a reason. Mere saber rattling.. So That’s my take on this crap.
    Hwasong-15 is the best Soviet era analog rocket he has
    North Korean analysts were surprised to see more advanced steering of the missile via gimbaling.
    A gimbal as defined. A rigid frame or ring in which an object is supported by pivots.
    Two such rings mounted concentrically on axes at right angles to each other allow an
    object such as a ship’s compass to remain suspended in a horizontal plane between them regardless of any motion of its support.

    This is a nearly impossible feat given the trickier aspects of long-range flight.
    Designs must be able to withstand the stresses and incredible heat produced in missiles by re-entering the atmosphere.
    So far ALL of his missiles disintergrate upon re-entry.

    The challenges will come from improving the warhead and delivery system and coupling the two.
    North Korean scientists will struggle to extend the missiles’ ranges while shrinking their still
    rudimentary nuclear devices so theý are light enough to be carried by the missile to the target.

    North Korea has bragged that its latest batch of missile tests were extremely accurate. Bullshit.
    It is still vague how this accuracy is being assessed given that North Korea does not have
    a network of satellites able to guide distant warheads to their targets, relying on the projectiles’
    much less accurate inertial guidance system. The local government seems do desire Fear over Honesty.
    The population just eats it up and does not research the validity of such directives and assumptions. Harry if you read this please let the population know there is Nothing to worry about. And if there is please SPECIFICALLY state what the threat is.

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