Strategic Weapons: February 4, 2002


The unclassified version of the latest National Intelligence Estimate notes that North Korea and Iran (and possibly Iraq if UN sanctions are lifted soon) will be able to hit the US with a nuclear missile by 2015. At least part of the US intelligence committee thinks that Iran is likely to delay the demonstration of such a missile to 2020, perhaps to avoid a confrontation or perhaps because it is having trouble designing such a missile. While most of the US intelligence community believes that North Korea designed its own missiles (setting a timeline for other nations to follow) others believe that Russian scientists designed the North Korean missiles, providing help that might or might not be available to Iran and Iraq. While North Korea has stopped testing its missiles, it has sold them to Pakistan and Iran, and the Iranians are now offering missile technology based on Russian and North Korean designs for sale to others. China is expected to have 75-100 nuclear warheads on missiles that could hit the US by 2015, assuming its programs continue at their current pace (which is near the maximum possible). The road-mobile DF31 is expected to start deployment in 2004 and the longer-range DF41 (and submarine launched JL2) are expected to go on alert in 2007-2009. India, Libya, Pakistan, and Syria are known to have theater missile systems but are judged unlikely to be interested in developing a missile that could hit the US. The NIE notes that terrorists are more likely to deliver a nuclear weapon to the US than a missile.--Stephen V Cole


Article Archive

Strategic Weapons: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close