On January 13, 2018, a false ballistic missile alert was issued via the Emergency Alert System and Commercial Mobile Alert System over television, radio, and cellphones in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The alert stated that there was an incoming ballistic missile threat to Hawaii, advised residents to seek shelter, and concluded “This is not a drill”.
The message was sent at 8:07 a.m. local time. However, no civil defense outdoor warning sirens were authorized or sounded by the state.
A second message, sent 38 minutes later, described the first as a “false alarm”. State officials blamed a miscommunication during a drill at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency for the first message. Governor David Ige publicly apologized for the erroneous alert, which caused panic and disruption throughout the state.
The Federal Communications Commission and the Hawaii House of Representatives launched investigations into the incident, leading to the resignation of the state’s emergency management administrator.
Below you will find documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regarding this incident.
Currently, there are multiple FOIA requests still pending throughout multiple agencies. More updates will be posted soon!
Navy Region Hawaii, Pearl Harbor Documents [3 Pages, 1MB] – This document found was the only document located at Pearl Harbor. I do have an additional FOIA request already open at PACOM (as referenced in this letter) and these documents will be posted when available.