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Military Quietly Preparing For War with North Korea

korea threat

By Debbie Gregory.

The welcome news that North Korea and South Korea will participate in the upcoming Olympics under a unified flag has not alleviated the threat of war for the U.S. military.

Two military drills last month and one in February are designed to ready troops for the possibility of war with North Korea, which has made repeated threats to attack the U.S. with its nuclear-capable ballistic missiles

Contingency planning is part of standard Defense Department training and troop rotations. But the timing of the exercises suggests a focus for what could be on the horizon with North Korea.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both hope that diplomacy will be the avenue pursued to address Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.

Following Hawaii’s false alarm of a text alert warning of an incoming ballistic missile attack, panic underscored the anxiety and uneasiness that most Americans have regarding North Korea.

This is especially true given the rhetoric, name-calling and threats that have been exchanged between the leaders of the two countries.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley called Pyongyang the biggest threat to American national security, and said that Army officers who lead operational units must prepare to meet that threat.

Countries have contingency plans for all kinds of emergencies, so it’s no surprise that Japan and the US drew up a scheme to remove their citizens from harm’s way.

It is unlikely that the Pentagon would launch military action on the Korean Peninsula without first warning Americans and others in the area.

There are 60,000 Japanese citizens living in South Korea, and the Japanese government has started looking into ways to get them out should a crisis with North Korea break out.

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.

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.”

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.

Army Updating Missile Defense System to Protect South Korea

patriot missile

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. and our allies across the Pacific are taking every precaution to protect South Korea from the North Korean nuclear threat.

To that end, the U.S. Army’s 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade has been engaged in an eight-month exercise to modernize its Patriot missile defense system charged with protecting Osan Air base.

The modernization effort was the result of a collaborative effort between the 35th Brigade, contractors from Raytheon, and the Lower Tier Project.

For nearly forty years, the Patriot missile defense system has protected the airspace above U.S. forces. Continuously upgraded since introduction, today it protects against the full spectrum of flying threats, from ballistic missiles to consumer-grade quadcopter drones. In fact, since January of 2015, Patriot has intercepted more than 100 ballistic missiles in combat operations around the world,” according to Raytheon.

According to the Army, work will continue to done in the coming months to fortify Army bases on the Korean peninsula against the growing threat of North Korean aggression.

Though Kim Jong-un has not publicly stated any plans to launch missiles at its enemy to the south, his regime recently made a threat to launch a nuclear missile at Guam in advance of a joint military exercise between South Korea and the United States.

On August 29th, Japan’s Air Force demonstrated a Patriot missile-defense system at Yokota in Western Tokyo, just hours after a North Korean missile flew over Hokkaido.

“Bilateral engagements like this one demonstrate the enduring strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance and the determination of both our nations to address the security challenge posed by North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs,” said Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez, commander of U.S. Forces Japan.

Raytheon has built more than 220 Patriot fire units and delivered them to customers in 13 nations.

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.

Army Chief of Staff Recommends More Troops In Afghanistan

in afghan

By Debbie Gregory.

General Mark Milley, the Army Chief of Staff, said he supports additional troops in Afghanistan.  He also supports a residual force in Iraq.   General Milley has not yet decided on whether or not to send more troops to South Korea.

General Milley was asked these questions by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) during a Senate Appropriations hearing on defense this week

The Army has requested $166.1 billion for 2018 for a total force of 1,018,000, including 476,000 active duty soldiers.  The focus is on combat readiness.

The Army also has a $12.7 billion wish list that was sent to Congress, asking for 17,000 additional troops.  There is $3.1 billion to pay for training, sustaining, housing and equipment for these extra troops.

Milley believes that the Army should be a force of 550,000 strong, the Army National Guard should be an end strength of 355,00,  and 209,000 soldiers in the Army Reserve.

What do you think?

What Damage Can North Korea Do?

kim dong

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.

US Flyover in S. Korea Seen as Show of Force

f22

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. military flew four of the most advanced fighter jets over South Korea in a clear show of force against North Korea

The high-tech, stealth F-22 planes landed at Osan Air Base after the flyover, escorted by other U.S. and South Korean fighter jets. The demonstration underscored the United States’ airpower that can be called upon to defend its ally, South Korea, from potential aggression from North Korea.

“The F-22 ‘Raptor’ is the most capable air superiority fighter in the world, and it represents one of many capabilities available for the defense of this great nation,” Lt. Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, deputy commander of the U.S. military command in South Korea, said in a statement.

The show of force came 10 days after North Korea used a long-range rocket to fire a satellite into space. The U.S. military would not say how long the F-22s will be deployed in South Korea.

The F-22 Raptor, each costing $143 million, became operational in 2005, but only saw initial combat in attacks on Syrian ISIS positions in late 2014. The fifth-generation single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft was developed for the United States Air Force (USAF).

Lockheed Martin was the prime contractor and was responsible for the majority of the airframe, weapon systems, and final assembly of the F-22, while program partner Boeing provided the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems. The aircraft was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but has additional capabilities including ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles.

South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye addressed North Korea’s nuclear bomb program, saying that South Korea will take unspecified “stronger and more effective” measures to make North Korea realize its nuclear ambitions will result only in accelerating its “regime collapse.”

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.