Hawaii is not prepared to respond in the event a nuclear ballistic missile attack.
That’s according to a comprehensive state report that looked at the false missile alert sent to all Hawaii phones on Jan. 13 and sought recommendations for preventing another false alarm — and bolstering preparedness for a threat that the state has stressed is unlikely but not impossible.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige and other officials presented the 31-page report at a news conference Tuesday, saying its 44 short- and long-term recommendations provide a road map for moving forward.
“We are identifying gaps and vulnerabilities for handling all hazards so the residents in our state can be prepared,” Ige said. “As we take these action steps described in the report we will become a stronger and more resilient community.”
The report stresses that better training, more robust plans and greater coordination between the state and federal government is needed to prepare for an attack — and make sure the state doesn’t send out another false alarm.
It also urges the state to keep its ballistic missile preparedness campaign on hold (except for monthly siren tests) until a plan can be put in place to analyze chemical, biological, radiogical and nuclear threats to Hawaii — and until the majority of residents know “what to do, where to go and when to do it” in the event of an attack.
That means the campaign could be offline for months.
“It is important to note that HI-EMA (Hawaii Emergency Management Agency) is prepared for and stands ready to immediately respond to and provide support to the counties of Hawaii ensuring rapid recovery from natural and man-made disasters — with the exception of nuclear capable ballistic missile attack,” the report said.
Brig. Gen. Kenneth S. Hara, the state’s deputy adjutant general, wrote the report with a team of advisers — and they finished it earlier than the 60 days the governor gave them.