Can The Us Defeat North Korea

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A view of the test-fire of Pukguksong-2 guided by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the spot, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang February 13, 2017.KCNA/Handout via Reuters Just after North Korea carried out a missile test and a high-profile assassination of Kim Jong Un's half-brother in Malyasia, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US was considering direct military action against the Kim regime.

  US President Donald Trump has apparently honed in on North Korea as his most serious external challenge, and has reportedly declared them the single greatest threat to the United States. In January, Trump tweeted that North Korean missile hitting the US, as they've often threatened, "won't happen!" But in reality, taking out North Korea's nuclear capabilities, or decapitating the Kim regime, would pose serious risks to even the US military's best platforms.

Business Insider spoke with Stratfor's Sim Tack, a senior analyst and an expert on North Korea, to determine exactly how the US could potentially carry out a crippling strike against the Hermit Kingdom.  View As: One Page Slides First, a decision would need to be made. President Donald Trump welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb.

10, 2017.AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Military action against North Korea wouldn't be pretty. Some number of civilians in South Korea, possibly Japan, and US forces stationed in the Pacific would be likely to die in the undertaking no matter how smoothly things went. In short, it's not a decision any US commander-in-chief would make lightly.  But the US would have to choose between a full-scale destruction of North Korea's nuclear facilities and ground forces or a quicker attack on only the most important nuclear facilities.

The second option would focus more on crippling North Korea's nuclear program and destroying key threats to the US and its allies.  Since a full-scale attack could lead to "mission creep that could pull the US into a longterm conflict in East Asia," according to Tack, we'll focus on a quick, surgical strike that would wipe out the bulk of North Korea's nuclear forces. Then, the opening salvo — a stealth air blitz and cruise missiles rock North Korea's nuclear facilities.

Aircraft mechanics prepare a B-2 Spirit bomber before a morning mission in Guam.US Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Val Gempis The best tools the US could use against North Korea would be stealth aircraft like the F-22 and B-2 bomber, according to Tack. The US would slowly but surely position submarines, Navy ships, and stealth aircraft at bases near North Korea in ways that avoid provoking the Hermit Kingdom's suspicions.

Then, when the time was right, bombers would rip across the sky and ships would let loose with an awesome volley of firepower. The US already has considerable combat capability amassed in the region. "Suddenly you'd read on the news that the US has conducted these airstrikes," said Tack. While the F-22 and F-35 would certainly do work over North Korea missile production sites, it really a job for the B-2.

As a long-range stealth bomber with a huge ordnance capacity, the B-2 could drop massive, 30,000 pound bombs on deep underground bunkers in North Korea — and they could do it from as far away as Guam or the continental United States. The first targets... A US Air Force F-22 Raptor, 49th Fighter Wing, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., flies over the Nevada Test and Training Range for a training mission.

Flickr/US Air Force The initial targets would include nuclear reactors, missile production facilities, and launching pads for ICBMs, according to Tack. Cruise missiles would pour in from the sea, F-22s would beat down North Korea's rudimentary air defenses, and B-2s would pound every known missile site into dust. Planes like the F-35 and F-22 would frantically hunt down mobile missile launchers, which can hide all over North Korea's mountainous terrain.

In the event that North Korea does get off a missile, the US and South Korea have layered missile defenses that would attempt to shoot it out of the sky.  Next, the US would try to limit North Korean retaliation. Thomson Reuters Once the US has committed the initial strike against North Korea, how does Kim Jong-un respond? Even with its nuclear facilities in ashes and the majority of their command and control destroyed "North Korea has a lot of options," said Tack.

"They have their massive, massive conventional artillery options that can start firing at South Korea in a split second." But as the graphic below shows, most North Korean artillery can't reach Seoul, South Korea's capital. Additionally, Seoul has significant underground bunkers and infrastructure to quickly protect its citizens, though some measure of damage to the city would be unavoidable.    According to Tack, much of this artillery would instead fire on the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, detonating mines so that North Korean ground forces can push through.

Also within range would be US forces near the DMZ. Some 25,000 American soldiers are stationed in South Korea, all of whom would face grave danger from North Korea's vast artillery installations. But the North Korean artillery isn't top of the line. They could focus on slamming US forces, or they could focus on hitting Seoul. Splitting fire between the two targets would limit the impact of their longer-range systems.

Additionally, as the artillery starts to fire, it becomes and exposed sitting duck for US jets overhead. The next phase of the battle would be underwater. KCNA/Reuters North Korea has a submarine that can launch nuclear ballistic missiles, which would represent a big risk to US forces as it can sail outside of the range of established missile defenses.  Fortunately, the best submarine hunters in the world sail with the US Navy.

Helicopters would drop special listening buoys, destroyers would use their advanced radars, and US subs would listen for anything unusual in the deep. North Korea's antique submarine would hardly be a match for the combined efforts of the US, South Korea, and Japan. While the submarine would greatly complicate the operation, it would most likely find itself at the bottom of the ocean before it could do any meaningful damage.

  What happens if Kim Jong Un is killed? North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets scientists and technicians in the field of researches into nuclear weapons in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang.Reuters/KCNA "Decapitation" or the removal of the Kim regime would be a huge blow to the fiercely autocratic Hermit Kingdom. Kim Jong-un has reportedly engaged in a vicious campaign to execute senior officials with packs of dogs, mortar fire, and anti-aircraft guns for a simple reason — they have ties to China, according to Tack.

  Jong-un's removal of anyone senior with ties to China means that he has consolidated power within his country to a degree that makes him necessary to the country's functioning. Without a leader, North Korean forces would face a severe blow to their morale as well as their command structure, but it wouldn't end the fight. "Technically North Korea is under the rule of their 'forever leader' Kim Il Sung," said Tack, adding that "a decapitation strike wouldn’t guarantee that the structures below him wouldn’t fall apart, but it would be a damn tricky problem for those that remain after him.

" Unfortunately, North Koreans aren't shy about putting their leader first, and at the first indication of an attack, Kim would likely be tucked away in a bunker deep underground while his countrymen bore the brunt of the attack.  Then the US defends. U.S. and South Korean marines participate in a U.S.-South Korea joint landing operation drill in Pohang March 30, 2015. The drill is part of the two countries' annual military training called Foal Eagle, which runs from March 2 to April 24.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji "If North Korea doesn’t retaliate, they’ve lost capability and look weak," said Tack. Indeed few would expect North Korea to go quietly after suffering even a crippling attack.  Through massive tunnels bored under the DMZ, North Korea would try to pour ground troops into the South. "The ground warfare element is a big part of this," said Tack. "I think that the most likely way that would play out would be the fight in the DMZ area," where the US would not try to invade North Korea, but rather defend its position in the South.

Though its air force is small and outdated, North Korean jets would need to be addressed and potentially eliminated.  Meanwhile... Wikimedia Commons US special operations forces, after stealthy jets destroy North Korea's air defenses, would parachute in and destroy or deactivate mobile launchers and other offensive equipment. The US faces a big challenge in trying to hunt down some 200 missile launchers throughout North Korea, some of which have treads to enter very difficult terrain where US recon planes would struggle to spot them.

  It would be the work of US special forces to establish themselves at key logistical junctures and observe North Koreans' movements, and then relay that to US air assets.  So how does this all end? US Department Of Energy North Korea is neither a house of cards or an impenetrable fortress. Additionally, the resolve of the North Koreans remains a mystery. North Korea has successfully estimated that the international community is unwilling to intervene as it quietly becomes a nuclear power, but that calculation could become their undoing.

North Korea would likely launch cyber attacks, possibly shutting down parts of the US or allies' power grids, but US Cyber Command would prepare for that. North Korea would likely destroy some US military installations, lay waste to some small portion of Seoul, and get a handful of missiles fired — but again, US and allied planners would stand ready for that. In the end, it would be a brutal, bloody conflict, but even the propaganda-saturated North Koreans must know just how disadvantaged they are, according to Tack.

Even after a devastating missile attack, some of North Korea's nuclear stockpile would likely remain hidden. Some element of the remainder of North Koreans could stage a retaliation, but what would be the point? "If they chose to go the route of conducting a large scale retaliation, they’re inviting a continuation of the conflict that eventually they cannot win ... Nobody in this whole game is going to believe that North Korea can win a war against the US, South Korea, and Japan," concluded Tack.


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President Donald Trump wants lawmakers to give the Pentagon an additional $4 billion for “urgent” missile defense improvements against North Korea and nearly $2 billion more to increase troop levels in Afghanistan by 3,500 and repair damaged naval ships. In a letter sent to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) on Monday, Trump asked Congress to consider budget amendments to give the Department of Defense an extra $4 billion for “defense enhancements to counter the threat from North Korea.

” “This request supports additional efforts to detect, defeat, and defend against any North Korean use of ballistic missiles against the United States, its deployed forces, allies, or partners,” Trump wrote in a letter to Congress. Read more Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, sent a letter to Trump on Friday, making a detailed request, which he said would be used to increase “critical capability and capacity” for the missile defense program.

The majority of the funds would be used to construct an additional ground-based interceptor (GBI) at Missile Field 4 in Fort Greely, Alaska and fund the initial procurement for the “eventual purchase” of 20 new GBIs. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) has the capability of detecting, tracking and intercepting long-range ballistic missile threats as far as outer space, according to the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA).

Missile Field 4 is one of the two ground-based missile defense units housing interceptors on the west coast. The unit was created to protect the United States from an intercontinental ballistic missile threat, according to the Pentagon. There are currently 44 GBIs in Fort Greely, according to a declassified reprogramming request from the Pentagon. The additional 21 requested would bring the number of interceptors to 65.

The request would also go toward buying 16 new Standard Missile-3 Block IIA interceptors, which are designed to intercept intermediate-range ballistic missiles with a kinetic warhead that intercepts threats with the force of a 10-ton truck traveling 600 mph. Additionally, the funds would go toward purchasing 50 more interceptors for the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors, which provide the military with mobile systems to intercept intermediate-range ballistic missiles both inside and outside the atmosphere.

THAAD interceptors have a range of about 200 kilometers and use “hit-to-kill” technology to destroy missiles in their terminal phase of flight. Trump made the request while on a 13-day tour of Asia, just before he is set to arrive in South Korea on Tuesday. Getting ready to leave for South Korea and meetings with President Moon, a fine gentleman. We will figure it all out! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2017 While en route to Tokyo, Trump told reporters on board Air Force One that the US makes “the best military equipment in the world” and the $700 billion military budget is “going up.

” “A shot was just taken by Iran, in my opinion, at Saudi Arabia. You know about that, right? You saw the missile that went out? And our system knocked the missile out of the air. That's how good we are. Nobody makes what we make, and now we're selling it all over the world,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One, according to Axios. Trump initially asked for $9.9 billion for missile defense for the fiscal year 2018, which was lower than the previous year.

Then, in August, Trump said he would increase the missile defense program “by a substantial number of billions.” “We’re going to be increasing our budget by many billions of dollars because of North Korea and other reasons having to do with the anti-missile [aspect],” Trump told reporters, then speaking from his private golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. The supplemental budget request also includes a request for an additional $1.

2 billion to deploy 3,500 troops to the country to support his Afghanistan and South Asia strategy. In August, Trump announced his administration's new strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia, which he said would have “a clear definition.” “Our troops will fight to win,” Trump said. “From now on, victory will have a clear definition:  attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge.

” Trump also requested $700 million to repair the USS John S McCain and the USS Fitzgerald, two Navy ships that were damaged in fatal collisions over the summer. In his request, Trump said that the ships “provide critical naval presence and additional ballistic missile defense capabilities in the Asia-Pacific theater.” Additionally, Trump asked lawmakers to provide $1.6 billion to build a wall along the US’s southern border with Mexico, writing that “the safety and security of the American people is my top priority.

” Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the chairmen of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, released a joint statement on Monday, saying that they “welcome the President’s amendment to his initial defense budget request and look forward to giving it the serious consideration it deserves.” “The timely submission of this budget amendment means that the NDAA conferees will be able to consider this request in time to incorporate the additional funding into the final agreement,” the lawmakers wrote.

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