The Buzz

Revealed: North Korea's 5 Most Lethal Weapons of War

So how could Pyongyang strike South Korea with maximum impact using such deadly weapons? Well, for starters, a massive folly fired from artillery shells or missiles is always the most thought of approach. However, with a little ingenuity, North Korea could also spread small amounts of chemical weapons in some of the largest cities in the ROK using teams as I laid out above. With a little planning and ingenuity, Pyongyang could use such a plot to create panic and slow the response times of ROK and U.S. forces— a fog of war thickened by deadly chemical agents hanging in the air.

A Nuclear Strike on America?

Yes, we all know North Korea has been testing long range missiles for years. But could North Korea actually plant a nuclear missile on U.S. soil?

Although it cannot at at this point, the possibility cannot be ruled out in the future. General Vincent Brooks, the Commander of U.S. Army forces in the Pacific, sure doesn’t. Indeed, at a recent event here in Washington, Brooks warned that Pyongyang’s capabilities are becoming a physical threat to U.S. territory.

Here is a possible scenario: Pyongyang could have the ability to launch a long-range, nuclear armed or nuclear material tipped weapon at Hawaii or Alaska. They don’t have to be picky about the target if the goal is just to incite fear and panic while launching some combination of the attacks I lay out in this article as part of an invasion.

If one is simply aiming at Anchorage or one of the more densely populated Hawaiian Islands there is the possibility— all be it, an unlikely one at this point— they could get through U.S. missile defenses. Stretch this scenario out 5-10 years, and North Korea could very well have a large and diversified enough missile arsenal to oversaturate U.S. missile defense systems and land a fatal nuclear blow.

An Artillery Strike

This scenario has been around for awhile. Pyongyang launches a massive artillery barrage on Seoul. The chaos that would result would be massive. Imagine millions of people flooding out of one of Asia’s largest cities. If one wanted to induce sheer panic and hence help your invasion strategy, this would be an effective way to do it.

While many point out that U.S. and ROK forces could quickly take out such artillery pieces once they fire their deadly barrage, enough damage would already be done to cause a massive exodus as Seoul residents attempt to make their exit. The mass of people stampeding any and all exits out of the capitol would act as its own weapon— panic and fear always are.


In my humble opinion, this is the great unknown when it comes to North Korea’s military capabilities. Yes, we know Pyongyang has struck out using its army of hackers several times in recent years, but just how good are they?

Could they, for example, take down South Korea’s electricity grid? Could they inject crippling Malware into critical command and control nodes needed to effectively launch a counterattack against Pyongyang?

Does North Korea have cyber agents in other countries ready to strike or armies of computers infected with dormant malware and viruses ready to attack using denial of service methods against targets of importance? Could Kim strike U.S. military facilities with Malware or hard to cure computer viruses?

While there is lots of different expert opinions on this, I think it is safe to say we don’t have as good of an idea as we should— and that fact itself should have you concerned.

Parting Thoughts

North Korea is the pandora’s box no one wants to open. Yet, we must consider the possibility that Kim Jung-un or some other future North Korean dictator just might do that for us if he feels his regime is either about to crumble or some how misinterprets allied intentions and decides to strike first.

Whether part of a massive strike using all of the above five weapons or part of some stand alone attack— all the opening salvo of an invasion— North Korea has potent capabilities to inflict great harm against Seoul and Washington. While no one wishes for such a conflict to occur, one must always prepare for the possibility. The five above weapons and how they could be used were dreamed up in just a few hours; North Korea has had decades to stew on such scenarios. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Editor's Note: This piece is being reposted due to reader interest and was originally posted on March 9, 2015. It has been lightly edited to take into account recent events.