PACOM: We made mistakes too after false missile alert was triggered

PACOM: We made mistakes too after false missile alert was triggered

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - U.S. Pacific Command acknowledged it, too, made mistakes on the day of the false missile alert.

In testimony Thursday at a hearing convened by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, Rear Admiral Patrick Piercey testified that on Jan. 13, the command duty officer saw the mistaken text alert and then activated military warning sirens without confirmation at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam and its Wahiawa complex.

"In this particular case, the particular command duty officer did not do the normal process to validate with another command duty officer that this was indeed an alert," Piercey said.

The testimony was delivered at a U.S. Senate hearing on the false missile alert at the East-West Center.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said the military's decision to trigger alarms wasn't trivial.

"It was sort of alarming that the alarms went off at Joint Base Pearl Harbor and that you had a person there that did not follow the appropriate protocols," Hirono said.

In a real attack, the military would notify the federal government and Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. It's the state's job to warn the public, but now members of Hawaii's congressional delegation wonder why the military doesn't take over that role.

"A ballistic missile into Hawaii is an act of war. I don't think you should be delaying notification by doing a parallel path or whatever else," said U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii.

"Why shouldn't the DOD be responsible for sending out the notification?" asked U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Piercey replied, ""I would offer again that there are existing agencies that have the authority and responsibility."

To that, Gabbard said, "I think that's the reason why we are gathering is that there's a problem with the existing process."

Also at the hearing, the Federal Communications Commission said that the state's emergency alert system plan hasn't been changed in 10 years.

Members of Congress also questioned the state's adjutant general on why the system was being tested when a response plan wasn't fully developed. Maj. Gen. Joe Logan said it was needed because of the threat from North Korea.

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