Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

How not to be a good neighbor: North Korean military screwing with GPS

'Since 2010, the North Korean military has disrupted civilian air traffic and military exercises through the Korean peninsula by repeatedly disrupting the Global Positioning System (GPS) along the Demilitarized Zone.'

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I was surprised to read this in the January issue of Marine Corps Gazette: “Since 2010, the North Korean military has disrupted civilian air traffic and military exercises through the Korean peninsula by repeatedly disrupting the Global Positioning System (GPS) along the Demilitarized Zone.”

Apparently it has been going on for years. I don’t know how I missed it until now. It is a serious enough problem that the FAA has warned American carriers flying into Seoul to be careful about it.

It can be worse than just GPS. I remember interviewing  a drug smuggling pilot in about 1984 in Fort Lauderdale who told me that when he flew over part of Cuba by mistake, all his electronics went nuts. He wound up navigating by the stars, he said. Then a fighter jet came up, got in front of him, and got so close that his windshield “flexed” from the jet’s engines.

I was surprised to read this in the January issue of Marine Corps Gazette: “Since 2010, the North Korean military has disrupted civilian air traffic and military exercises through the Korean peninsula by repeatedly disrupting the Global Positioning System (GPS) along the Demilitarized Zone.”

Apparently it has been going on for years. I don’t know how I missed it until now. It is a serious enough problem that the FAA has warned American carriers flying into Seoul to be careful about it.

It can be worse than just GPS. I remember interviewing  a drug smuggling pilot in about 1984 in Fort Lauderdale who told me that when he flew over part of Cuba by mistake, all his electronics went nuts. He wound up navigating by the stars, he said. Then a fighter jet came up, got in front of him, and got so close that his windshield “flexed” from the jet’s engines.

In other news from NoKo, one of L’il Kim’s top aides died in a car crash. I guess it beats being perforated by an anti-aircraft gun. And no. 2 back, thoroughly re-educated. They also blew off some sort of big bomb yesterday.

I would not be surprised if one of President Obama’s last acts in office were to launch a pre-emptive strike to degrade North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. Hard to get the bombs, but easier to get launch mechanisms and the reprocessing facilities. The Pentagon plan back in 1994 was to use cruise missiles. I think we have better tools now.

Photo credit: Ginny/Flickr

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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