However, Wright and other analysts doubt that North Korea's stable of missiles, whose heritage traces back to Soviet Scuds, poses much of a threat to the continental U.S. or American territory in the Pacific.
North Korea's Scuds could hit most of South Korea and its Nodongs can reach Japan, albeit with poor accuracy, Wright said. Another missile called the Musudan has a range of perhaps 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers), potentially putting Guam at risk. But the Musudan has apparently never been flight-tested.
"There's no reason to actually consider them operational. There's no test data to say that they work," Wright said. "The Guam threat, to me -- I think that's bluster. I don't believe that." (How Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles Work (Infographic))
Unreliable missiles While satellite-launching rockets can be converted into intercontinental ballistic missiles, there's little reason to fear the Unha-3 rocket right now, Wright added.
"The Unha is just not that powerful," he said. "If we try to imagine them putting a heavier warhead on it and flying it, you can maybe get 7,000 or 8,000 kilometers, but you're not getting really long trajectories that can hit much of the country [the United States]."