Perfect Storm of Incompetence Led to Hawaii Missile Warning Mistake



/ 8 months ago

Perfect Storm of Incompetence Led to Hawaii Missile Warning Mistake

The recent missile warning scare in Hawaii left many people asking questions. While it is easy to blame the person behind the machine who sent out the wrong alert, it appears that it is not entirely their fault. A simple glance at what the computer interface of the control booth looks like, and it is surprising that this did not happen sooner. It is far from the colorful and high-tech interface from movies, but rather a simple text based link on a white background. It actually looks more like a Craigslist ad than a missile defense warning system interface (see photo above).

Plenty of Blame to Go Around

This is not the only blunder the emergency management system has done. A photo has surfaced of the current operations officer Jeffrey Wong standing in front of a computer with a Post-It note bearing a password. This coupled with the awful interface is a recipe for disaster.

There is also plenty of blame to go around. Especially considering it took 38 minutes for the correction to happen. Why the correction take so long? And why didn’t those in higher positions step in to assuage fears immediately? NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) would know immediately if there is a missile inbound. Yet people were left in a panic.

Lt. Col. Charles Anthony, the director of public affairs for the Hawaii Department of Defense came out to do some PR fixing. Claiming that the first image above showing the interface is not inaccurate. He then presents the following image below as more representative and “accurate” of what the interface actually looks like.

Needless to say, it will not be surprising when another false alert happens. People don’t really have any choice but to take it seriously every single time since their lives depend on it.

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