Sen. Schatz: Scrap missile alert system and build a new one from scratch

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While federal agencies investigate, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz tells us he wants Hawaii’s missile alert system scrapped so a new one can be put in its place.

Schatz says that even though the state has already made improvements to prevent a similar incident, we’re better off starting from scratch.

State officials emphasized that there would now be two people in charge of issuing a missile alert notification and a cancellation notice is now on standby.

“Is that enough or is that even close to enough?” KHON2 asked.

“This idea of having two people at the button is fine, but it assumes that the rest of the system is a smart system and I just don’t know that. I think we have to scrap this thing start all over and justify every piece from the beginning,” Schatz replied.

As a ranking member of the Congressional subcommittee on telecommunications, Schatz is calling on the FCC to not only find out what went wrong, but also recommend a better system. He tells KHON2 that we already have a reliable way of notifying the public about natural disasters, so that will provide a good base for a missile alert scenario.

“Obviously in the case of a military attack it has to be slightly different, but we should use all of the infrastructure that we already have to notify the public,” Schatz said.

Schatz says other federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and Pacific Command will need to provide some input. He adds that there is no urgency to get it done right away.

“The truth is as much as anybody is concerned about North Korea, we’re not facing anything imminent we have time to get our system right,” Schatz said.

And if a missile is actually launched toward Hawaii, which is highly unlikely, he added that our military defense system is very capable of intercepting it.

“So obviously it behooves everybody to stay prepared, but there is no reason to worry about this every morning,” he said.

KHON2 also checked with the military on the sirens that went off on Saturday morning. A spokeswoman from Hickam says the sirens on base were activated, but they were state sirens so someone from the state had to have turned them on. We’ll be following up to find out how that happened.

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