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Sen. Graham Wants Mil Families Out of South Korea

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In spite of the concerns of Sen. Lindsey Graham regarding the safety of U.S. servicemember families in South Korea, there are no government evacuations plans in the works.

Sen. Graham believes the Pentagon  should start evacuating the families of the roughly 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea as America gets “close to military conflict” with North Korea.

“It’s crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea given the provocation of North Korea,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

But defense expert Thomas Spoehr, a retired Army lieutenant general, thinks North Korea would see the evacuation as a provocation.

“Certainly when the U.S. seriously contemplates military action family members should be removed. I don’t think we are at that point,” he said in an email. “We should be careful not to act prematurely.”

“North Korea would interpret a move to remove families as a sign of U.S. preparation for offensive military action,” he said.

North Korea and the United States have been enemies for more than half a century, but tensions have never been as high as they are currently. Kim Jong Un’s missile tests and the ramping up of the nuclear program has baited President Donald Trump, who has employed  frequent threats and insults, often in tweets, towards Kim, who he has nicknamed Rocket Man.

“Readiness, safety and welfare of our service members, employees and family members are essential to the strength of the U.S. and South Korean alliance,´said Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command.  “We currently have no intent to initiate departures for military dependents, whether on a voluntary or mandatory basis, and no intent to modify the policy authorizing military dependents to accompany military members being stationed in South Korea.”

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What Damage Can North Korea Do?

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By Debbie Gregory.

North Korea has long been a threat to South Korea and Japan. The country’s arsenal of ballistic missiles and nuclear weaponry grows on a daily basis.

For this reason, previous administrations have avoided confrontation with Kim Jong-un’s regime. Indeed, it would be South Korean and Japanese civilians who would take the brunt of Pyongyang’s wrath in the event of war. And of course, the U.S. has military bases and personnel in both countries.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said any military solution to the North Korea crisis would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale.”

President Trump has said he is ready to act, with or without China. But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the nation would need some time to act.

War with North Korea would be a humanitarian disaster and a shock for global economy. This is why a diplomatic solution is widely seen as the only solution.

South Korea has numerous nuclear power plant reactors. North Korea has hundreds of missiles which are hard to stop.

If North Korea were to launch such a strike first, the first wave of shells could land with essentially no warning. Additionally, the North could hit the South with chemical or biological warheads.

The U.S. and South Korea both have preemptive strike plans in place should a North Korean nuclear attack appear imminent. While Japan is considering new options, it still relies heavily on U.S. defense.

While Pyongyang’s missiles might have some reliability issues, there are enough of them to do very significant damage to South Korea and Japan. According to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, North Korea now fields hundreds of missiles that can reach U.S. forces forward deployed to the Republic of Korea and Japan.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Navy Successfully Tests Missile Interceptor System

150727-N-ZK021-002 PEARL HARBOR (July 27, 2015) The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) departs Joint Base Pearl-Harbor-Hickam for a scheduled underway. John Paul Jones replaced USS Lake Erie (CG 70) in Hawaii as the nation's ballistic missile defense test ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Nardel Gervacio/Released)

By Debbie Gregory.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the Japan Ministry of Defense and sailors aboard the USS John Paul Jones successfully conducted a flight test, resulting in the first intercept of a ballistic missile target using the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA off the west coast of Hawaii.

A medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. John Paul Jones detected and tracked the target missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1D(V) radar using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 weapon system. Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the ship launched an SM-3 Block IIA guided missile which intercepted the target.

“Today’s test demonstrates a critical milestone in the cooperative development of the SM-3 Block IIA missile,” said MDA Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring. “The missile, developed jointly by a Japanese and U.S. government and industry team, is vitally important to both our nations and will ultimately improve our ability to defend against increasing ballistic missile threats around the world.”

The interceptor, designed to shoot down medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, is compatible with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System onboard many Navy ships, several of which are based in Japan.

Ship-based missile interceptors are part of U.S. defense plans in the event of an attack on the U.S. or its allies by North Korea, which has continued to develop its ballistic-missile program despite United Nations sanctions.

As recently as February 12th, North Korea test fired a medium long-range ballistic missile under the supervision of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency, KCNA.

Kim was present at the site and personally gave the order for the launch, which was the first missile test by Pyongyang since President Trump took office.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Pentagon Confident in Defense Against N. Korea

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By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Defense Department, reacting to North Korea’s statement that it plans to test an intercontinental ballistic missile, said it was confident in its ability to protect U.S. allies and the U.S. homeland from threats from Pyongyang.

Pyongyang is the capital and largest city of North Korea.”We remain confident in our ballistic missile defense and in our defense of our allies and our defense of the homeland,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said at a news briefing.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, in a New Year’s speech Sunday, said the country was “in the final stages of test-launching the intercontinental ballistic missile.”

“We have a ballistic missile defense … umbrella that we’re confident in for the region and to protect the United States homeland,” Cook said.

In 2016, North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and numerous missile launches last year alone in its quest to develop a nuclear weapons system capable of hitting the US mainland.

“We would once again call on the North Koreans to refrain from provocative actions,” Cook said.

President Donald Trump dismissed Pyongyang’s missile claims, tweeting, “”North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the US. It won’t happen!”

North Korea’s drive to develop nuclear ballistic missiles capable of striking the United States and its allies has prompted Washington to reinforce its antimissile defenses in the region.

The defense strategy is based notably on the AEGIS system, powerful TPY-2 radars and the antiballistic missile system THAAD that Washington is relocating to South Korea, a move that has provoked China, North Korea’s main ally.

The Pentagon spokesman declined to comment to reporters on whether the US had prepared scenarios on deterrent military actions to stop North Korea from developing nuclear missiles.

“We’re constantly adjusting to the threat North Korea poses,” Cook said.

Pyongyang “has shown disregard to the international community for its international obligations,” he said. “And we’re watching this very, very carefully.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

North Korea Claims Hydrogen Bomb Test Success

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By Debbie Gregory.

In a move that has drawn worldwide skepticism and condemnation, North Korea claims “spectacular success” of its first hydrogen bomb test, a defiant act that leader Kim Jong Un said would “make the world … look up to our strong nuclear country.”

“Let’s begin 2016…with the thrilling explosion of our first hydrogen bomb, so that the whole world will look up to our socialist, nuclear-armed republic and the great Workers’ Party of Korea!” some of the text written by Mr. Kim read.

What most North Koreans don’t know is the amount of skepticism outside the country.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest has expressed doubt that the claim is valid, saying, “The initial analysis is not consistent with the North Korean claims.”

Norway-based Norsar, a group that monitors nuclear tests, confirmed a blast equivalent to less than 10,000 tons of TNT, smaller than those of the atomic bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Along with the United States, South Korea Japan and China are testing the area for airborne or ground radiation. So far, the South Korean and Japanese attempts have not found any evidence of radiation.

According to experts, the proclamation of a successful test of a hydrogen bomb is a boost of loyalty to the leadership among officials and citizens, strengthening the dictatorship. North Koreans are told that they are under a constant threat of attack, which is why the idea of a successful nuclear bomb gets them behind their leader.

That is important as Kim Jong Un prepares for a ruling party conference in May, the first one in 36 years.

Mr. Kim, the young leader, came to power in 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. He has had little time to amass the power and influence his father enjoyed. But it appears that he is looking for ways to do so.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.