CSIS Signals & Database Predict More North Korean WMD Actions
March 27, 2017In the last four weeks North Korea has launched four ballistic missiles in the direction of Japan, tested a rocket engine, attempted another missile launch, and declared that it is pursuing pre-emptive strike capabilities. While increasing missile tests and provocative rhetoric are disturbing, they are unfortunately not unusual for North Korea during this time of year.
A new big-data tool combining CSIS Beyond Parallel research with Predata analytics predicted on March 20, prior to North Korea’s March 22 failed missile launch, that there was a 34% chance of North Korean WMD activity in the following 14 days and a 51% chance of such activity in the following 30 days. In fact, both the 30-day and 14-day exponential moving averages for the underlying signals had started trending upward on March 18, simultaneously reaching their highest points in the previous 90 days on the day of the failed launch.
Today the prediction is showing that within the next 14 days the likelihood of North Korean WMD activity is 22% while within the next 30 days the likelihood of such activity is 50%. (Beyond Parallel defines WMD activity as nuclear and missile tests.) After dropping off slightly following the March 22 failed missile launch, the 14-day exponential moving averages for the underlying signals bottomed out over the weekend and increased slightly Monday morning.
These big data predictions are supported by a CSIS Beyond Parallel empirical study which previously predicted that North Korean provocations would be likely during this year’s U.S.-ROK Foal Eagle and Key Resolve military exercises from March 1 – April 30. Contrary to media speculation, U.S.-ROK exercises actually do not provoke North Korea in and of themselves. The Beyond Parallel study tracks correlations between military exercises and DPRK provocations dating back to 2005. We found that the 4-8 week window prior to the exercise period is the best indicator of North Korean behavior during exercises. When U.S.-DPRK relations during this window are coded as negative, then the exercise period will see a higher level of provocations. Last year when U.S.-DPRK relations were quite negative following North Korea’s 4th nuclear test, North Korea conducted a total of nine missile tests during the spring exercise period. This year U.S.-DPRK relations have continued to remain negative. And thus far, during the 2017 spring exercise period we have already witnessed two sets of missile tests.
Together, both the Predata-Beyond Parallel signals and Beyond Parallel databases indicate April will see a high chance of North Korean actions.
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