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North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests -- in 2006, 2009, and 2013.
It continues to prepare its test site and could conduct another test at any time. In recent years, North
Korea has continued to develop its asymmetric capabilities including several hundred ballistic missiles,
a sizeable long range artillery force, one of the world’s largest chemical weapons stockpiles, a biological
weapons research program, the world’s largest special operations forces, and an active cyber warfare
capability. These capabilities can be employed with minimal warning, and threaten South Korea and
potentially the United States and Japan.
Since assuming power three years ago, Kim Jong-un has taken a number of confrontational steps to
solidify his control over the North Korean people, military, and political apparatus. The regime
conducted a satellite launch in December 2012 and conducted its third nuclear test in February 2013, in
defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), and
2094 (2013). In 2014, North Korea continued to develop its ballistic missile program, conducting nonotice
Scud and No Dong missile tests from several launch locations, all violations of UN Security
These asymmetric capabilities, along with the fourth largest military in the world that is 70-75%
forward deployed within 60 miles of the DMZ, challenges the Alliance to assess potential indications of
a North Korean provocation or attack.
I am also concerned by the recent assessment from Admiral Bill Gortney, the head of NORAD
and Northern Command, that North Korea has an operational, road-mobile missile that could
carry nuclear weapons to the United States. General Scaparrotti, I look forward to hearing your
assessment of this potential breakthrough, and the implications of our national security if the
erratic and unpredictable regime of Kim Jong-Un achieves the ability to carry out a nuclear strike
against our homeland.