Jeffrey LewisNorth Korean Nuclear Weapons Estimate

Long Island’s Newsday reports on the contents of a recent intelligence community-wide assessment of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

The estimates run from the CIA (2-3 bombs) to DIA (12-15 bombs, “tops”), with DOE in between.

Newsday reports that discrepancies “reflect uncertainties about the size of the bombs and whether North Korea has begun producing some from highly enriched uranium, a process the country is believed to have acquired in 2002.”

The previous NIE (correction) reportedly raised the estimate of North Korean nuclear weapons to “at least eight,” over it’s predecessor which placed the size of North Korea’s arsenal to “possibly two.”

Paul adds:

This CRS report has a pretty detailed discussion about the methodologies underpinning differing estimates of the possible North Korean nuclear arsenal. Worth a look.


  1. EARL (History)

    So what are the Koreans most likely to have, in terms of yield and delivery type? Bomb is easiest is it not? What kind of warhead designs was Kahn peddling around? Were they better for bomb or missile, or does it matter much? What kind of weight and reliability is involved here?????

    damn that ole inquiring mind……