Military officials raised concerns over communication after Hawaii's false missile alert: report

Military officials raised concerns over communication after Hawaii's false missile alert: report
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Senior military officials raised red flags about overall communication operations after a false ballistic missile alert was accidentally sent to Hawaii residents last month, according to emails recently obtained by The Washington Post.

While the U.S. military did not play a part in the alert being sent out, senior military officials vowed to use a false ballistic missile alert that was accidentally sent across the state last month as a means to improve communication and operations in similar events, according to a review of internal communications by the publication.

Adm. Harry Harris, the head of U.S. Pacific Command, wrote that the military would work with Hawaii to review lessons to be learned from the mistake, adding that the state had “a lot of explaining" to do.

He added that the organization “should take full advantage” of the false alert in order to improve operations.


An employee sent out an alert on Jan. 13 falsely notifying Hawaii residents of an incoming ballistic missile during what was supposed to be a drill, prompting widespread panic. The state did not correct the message for nearly 40 minutes.

The worker who sent the alert was fired, and another Hawaii Emergency Management Agency employee resigned following an internal investigation.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Harris and other military officials agreed that the state had to address issues in the missile alert system and elsewhere, with one senior official noting there is “lots of work to be done on the communications piece," according to The Washington Post.

Another military intelligence official wrote that the state “has more than the alert system to work on," according to the Post.

A Pacific Command spokesman declined to answer the Post's questions about whether issues raised by the emails have been resolved, instead saying the organization took the incident “as an opportunity to review and improve our communication and coordination.”