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False Missile Alert Investigation Released: Miyagi Resigns

Wayne Yoshioka

The internal investigation into the January 13th False Ballistic Missile Alert was released today. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Governor David Ige said he supported the alert notification plan

The internal investigation outlines the events on January 13th leading up to the issuing of a false ballistic missile alert and pinpoints Employee One as being responsible for that mistake.  Retired Brigadier General, Bruce Oliveira, conducted the investigation and said the miscommunication started with the Shift Supervisor.

“She did mention, ‘This was not a drill,’ in her message to the warning point.  However, it was preceded again, with, ‘Exercise, exercise, exercise,’ and ended with, ‘Exercise, exercise, exercise.’  And this was the protocol that they practiced 26 times before.  So Employee One heard, ‘This is not a drill,’ and stated that he did not hear ‘Exercise, exercise, exercise’ until later on when the recording was played back to him.”

Oliveira says there were no procedures in place to recall the alert or issue an all clear.  Employee One has been terminated, the Shift Supervisor is facing a possible suspension and the Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency administrator, Vern Miyagi, resigned effective Tuesday.  Governor David Ige says he supported the alert plans.

“General Vern Miyagi, I think, has served the people of Hawai’i well.  He really believed that it was in the public interest and consistent with his responsibility to assure the safety and well-being of the community.  And, so, certainly, I have no regrets.”

The internal investigation focused on the events of January 13th and not on any other factors leading up to the highly unlikely event of an intercontinental ballistic missile attack from North Korea.  State Adjutant General, Major General Joe Logan, says that was his call.

“The fact that there’s a ballistic missile threat to Hawai’i begs the question that we should prepare for something. And we need to inform the public of what we perceive to be a threatening situation.”

Credit Wayne Yoshioka
News media representatives asked questions about the findings for nearly an hour.

Meanwhile, an overall assessment of emergency management procedures is underway and Governor David Ige, who says he’s running for re-election, supports the review.

“We certainly would be looking at the total agency and identify those changes that will strengthen and improve the community’s preparedness.”

You can read the reports from the State and FCC below:



Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka is an award-winning journalist who has worked in television, print and radio in Hawaiʻi. He also has been on both sides of politics as a state departmental appointee and political/government reporter. He covered Hurricane Iwa (1982) as a TV reporter; was the State Department of Defense/Civil Defense spokesperson for Hurricane Iniki (1992); and, commanded a public affairs detachment in Afghanistan (2006). He has a master's degree in Communication from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is a decorated combat veteran (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 22 other commendation/service medals). He resides in Honolulu.
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