View Full Version : North Korea 2017 onwards

01-06-2017, 09:17 PM
North Korea got 2017 off to a menacing start. In his New Year's address, supreme leader Kim Jong Un warned that the nation was in the "final stage" of preparations to test an intercontinental ballistic missile.
A day later, President-elect Donald Trump said the North would never develop a nuclear weapon capable of striking the U.S. "It won't happen!" Trump tweeted.
Bombast aside, independent arms control experts agree that North Korea is moving rapidly to develop an ICBM. And many suspect it will test a missile capable of reaching the continental U.S. later this year.


'Alibi fire' from March.

Washington (CNN)Some U.S. intelligence analysts now believe that North Korea "probably" possesses a miniaturized nuclear warhead, several U.S. officials told CNN.
The assessment has yet to become a formal consensus view of the U.S. government. But it reveals just how far along many in the U.S. believe the reclusive country has come to gaining a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile that could potentially strike the U.S.


When these sorts of ideas are entertained by CSIS panelists, you can be assured that this is no joke.

Perhaps this is a message to Beijing that it needs to come to Jesus?

Color me cynical and brace for stupid#### happening (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Emdzsz_XvfA)

02-09-2017, 11:12 PM
A new thread as the older Korean thread has 513 posts with 168k views for 2006-2016. Prompted by the next post. A small number of old closed threads have been merged in.

02-09-2017, 11:18 PM
A different point of view from two academics who specialize in Korean matters, one American, one in the UK. Two paragraphs near the start:
Successive US governments have used a range of carrots and sticks to entice or pressure the North Korean leadership to give up its nuclear programme. The North’s missile launches and nuclear tests in 2016 make plain that these efforts have failed; in short, the West has to accept that it is now a nuclear power and focus instead on limiting the risks a nuclear North Korea presents. But it also pays to consider what sounds like a perverse question: could a North Korean bomb actually benefit both the country’s people and the world at large?
They conclude:
As far as Pyongyang is concerned, its militaristic strategy has worked: It has kept the Kim government internally stable, the population dependent on the government, and the country’s enemies at bay. Accepting the country’s nuclear status, rather than trying to head it off with sanctions and threats, could bring it back to the diplomatic bargaining table.
Link:https://theconversation.com/should-we-really-be-so-afraid-of-a-nuclear-north-korea-71855? (https://theconversation.com/should-we-really-be-so-afraid-of-a-nuclear-north-korea-71855?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20 for%20February%206%202017%20-%2066964888&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20f or%20February%206%202017%20-%2066964888+CID_81e2385c916b63fb37dafd37e169b97e&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=Should%20we%20really%20be%20so%20afraid%2 0of%20a%20nuclear%20North%20Korea)

(https://theconversation.com/should-we-really-be-so-afraid-of-a-nuclear-north-korea-71855?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20 for%20February%206%202017%20-%2066964888&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20f or%20February%206%202017%20-%2066964888+CID_81e2385c916b63fb37dafd37e169b97e&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=Should%20we%20really%20be%20so%20afraid%2 0of%20a%20nuclear%20North%20Korea)

02-12-2017, 11:39 AM
North Korea has fired a ballistic missile in the first such test since Donald Trump took office as US president.
Mr Trump assured Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that "America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100%".
The missile flew east towards the Sea of Japan for about 500km (300 miles), South Korean officials say.
Mr Abe said the test was "absolutely intolerable". Japanese officials say the missile did not reach its waters.


02-12-2017, 11:42 AM
A new thread as the older Korean thread has 513 posts with 168k views for 2006-2016. Prompted by the next post. A small number of old closed threads have been merged in.

Hey now, at least import the contextualizing post, the one with twenty seven 8-by-10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back. :D

The NorKs keep threatening to hit the mainland USA. You don't need a long range missile for that, if you can move the firing platform right up to the target's front stoop.

See http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/dprk/nd-b5.htm

See also http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/dprk/missile.htm


See also http://www.strategycenter.net/research/pubID.3/pub_detail.asp

Just park your cargo ship in with all the others off NOLA (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Vv37r0sY9ps/UzCg23xcb7I/AAAAAAAABEY/9ckWXzvSwQ0/s1600/SkyTruth-oilspill-shipchannel-24mar2014-overview.jpg), set your fire control system to Remote and look at what you can range.


02-14-2017, 03:06 PM
A marked contrast here between the BBC and Daily Teelgraph's reporting on the suspicious death in Malaysia of Kim Jong Un's older brother. From the DT:
Quoting government sources, other media reports claim Mr Kim died after being jabbed by a poisoned needle by two women in the city's airport. The women are believed to be North Korean agents but have so far been able to evade a police hunt.

The possible poisoning was not mentioned on BBC News a few minutes ago.


DT has quite an extensive background report:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/14/kim-jong-uns-older-brother-killed-north-korean-spies-poison1/

02-24-2017, 07:37 AM
If you set a red line on chemical weapons and don't enforce it, that lesson isn't only taken by Assad:
VX used by NK for example in killing an opponent...

02-24-2017, 01:28 PM
Police have arrested four people linked to the murder, including two women who allegedly carried out the attack, and are seeking four North Koreans whom they believe fled to Pyongyang on the day Kim Jong Nam was killed. Authorities also want to question a diplomat at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, an employee at Air Koryo, and a North Korean living in Malaysia for three years.
The female suspects were trained to swipe the poison on the victim’s face, and knew the substance was toxic, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said on Wednesday, dismissing reports that they were involved in a television prank. They had practiced at a couple of shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur, and were instructed to wash their hands after the attack, he said.

(Reuters) - The bizarre assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half-brother marks a departure from the isolated country's repertoire of overseas operations, according to experts on its opaque ruling structures. Kim Jong Nam died last week after being assaulted at the airport in the Malaysian capital with what police believe was a fast-acting poison. The two women who authorities say assaulted him, one Indonesian and the other who carried...


South Korea has said that it believes the assassination was coordinated by a shadowy North Korean agency called the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB).
The RGB is North Korea's "premier intelligence organization", according to the United Nations, which sanctioned it in March last year for its role in North Korea's arms trade.
But given the high profile of Kim, who had spoken out publicly against his family's dynastic control, his murder could have been a joint operation between different agencies, said Michael Madden, an expert on the North Korean leadership.
"The RGB is just one of many possibilities. It will take another week at least to pinpoint the organizations involved," said Madden.
On Wednesday, Malaysian police arrested 47-year-old Ri Jong Chol, a North Korean who had a Malaysian work visa for a small herbal medicine firm and lived in Kuala Lumpur with his wife and two children.
The use of North Koreans based overseas like Ri has the hallmarks of an operation by elite spy training unit "Office 35", said Jang Jin-sung, a defector who had worked in the United Front Department of the Workers' Party, which along with Office 35, is an espionage unit within the ruling party.


02-28-2017, 04:06 PM
Another country's President says "You're fired!"

SEOUL—North Korean leader Kim Jong Un executed at least five senior officials in the country’s Ministry of State Security using antiaircraft guns, the head of South Korea’s intelligence services told lawmakers on Monday.

Mr. Lee said that all eight North Koreans involved in the killing of Mr. Kim were working for Pyongyang’s Ministry of State Security, foreign ministry or for state-affiliated companies, recruiting the two women who carried out the killing. One of the eight, Ri Jong Chol, is in the custody of Malaysian authorities, while the others are still at large.
During the Monday briefing, Mr. Lee said that the five senior security officials who had been executed with antiaircraft guns had been working under Kim Won Hong, North Korea’s former top security chief, who was purged last month.

03-06-2017, 02:43 PM
(CNN)North Korea fired four ballistic missiles early Monday morning in what Japan's leader described as "an extremely dangerous action."
A fifth missile failed to launch, a US official told CNN.
Military authorities in South Korea, Japan and the United States all confirmed the launch of four projectiles, which traveled almost 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) towards the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea. One US official said they were intermediate-range missiles.

Three landed inside Japan's exclusive economic zone, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, which extends 200 nautical miles from its coastline, according to international maritime law.


SWJ Blog
03-14-2017, 01:54 AM
Why North Korea Seems to Be Pushing Trump Toward a Potential Crisis (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/why-north-korea-seems-to-be-pushing-trump-toward-a-potential-crisis)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/why-north-korea-seems-to-be-pushing-trump-toward-a-potential-crisis) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

03-17-2017, 01:53 PM
Sirens blared and loudspeakers broadcast warnings in Japan's first civilian missile evacuation drill on Friday, conducted in a fishing town by officials wary about the threat of North Korean missiles.
The exercise comes more than a week after North Korea launched four ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan's northwest coast, with one rocket landing about 200 km (124 miles)from the town of Oga.
Friday's drill played out a scenario in which North Korea had fired a ballistic missile on the Japanese islands


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is considering “all options” to counter North Korea’s nuclear threat while criticizing China over moves to block a missile-defense system on the peninsula.
In some of his most detailed comments yet on North Korea, Tillerson ruled out a negotiated freeze of its nuclear weapons program and called for a wider alliance to counter Kim Jong Un’s regime. He also left the military option on the table if the North Korean threat gets too large.


SWJ Blog
03-18-2017, 04:39 AM
The Basis of Negotiations with North Korea Should be Quiet Old-Fashioned Kissingerian Diplomacy (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/the-basis-of-negotiations-with-north-korea-should-be-quiet-old-fashioned-kissingerian-diplomacy)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/the-basis-of-negotiations-with-north-korea-should-be-quiet-old-fashioned-kissingerian-diplomacy) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

03-22-2017, 12:53 PM
North Korea fired a test missile Wednesday morning, but the launch failed, U.S. and South Korean officials have confirmed.
"U.S. Pacific Command detected what we assess was a failed North Korean missile launch attempt the morning of March 22 in Korea (12:49 PM Hawaii-time,) in the vicinity of Kalma," said Commander David Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command. "A missile appears to have exploded within seconds of launch. We are working with our Interagency partners on a more detailed assessment. We continue to monitor North Korea's actions closely."
South Korea's Ministry of Defense also confirmed the failed launch. A ministry spokesman initially said four missiles were fired, but he later corrected that figure, saying it was one missile.


03-23-2017, 12:28 PM
reading music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZqNUo6y52Q)

A senior National Security Agency official appeared to confirm that North Korean computer hackers were behind a multi-million dollar heist targeting Bangladesh’s central bank last year.
Computer hackers attempted to steal $951 million, but only got away with $81 million, some of which was later recovered. After the theft, security firms quickly pointed the finger at North Korea. Other experts disputed that finding. But on Tuesday, NSA Deputy Director Rick Ledgett appeared to say North Korea was the culprit during a cryptic exchange at a Washington forum.

Speaking at an Aspen Institute roundtable, Ledgett pointed out that private sector researchers had linked the digital break-in in Bangladesh to the 2014 hack on Sony Pictures, which the U.S. government attributed to Pyongyang.
“If that linkage from the Sony actors to the Bangladeshi bank actors is accurate — that means that a nation state is robbing banks,” Ledgett said. “That’s a big deal.”
The moderator of the event, former Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin, quickly followed up: “Do you believe that there are nation states now robbing banks?”
Ledgett offered a simple answer: “I do.”


United States federal prosecutors are reportedly building a case implicating North Korea's government of orchestrating an $81 million cyber heist from the Bangladesh central bank's account at the New York Federal Reserve.

The Wall Street Journal, citing officials familiar with the matter, reported on Wednesday that prosecutors also believe Chinese middlemen helped Pyongyang plunder Bangladesh Bank's funds. The case implicates the country of North Korea, rather than any particular North Korean officials, and also includes charges against the Chinese middlemen or businesses allegedly involved.
The US Treasury is reportedly also considering sanctions against the middlemen.


04-10-2017, 03:31 PM
Unvetted translation.

China Times reported on Apr. 9 that China's military deployed two army groups, about150 thousand troops, at Sino-N. Korean border to guard against an unexpected situation, while troops of S. Korea and U.S. have been conducting joint exercises since last month, including decapitation operation to remove Kim Jong-un.
According to China Times Online in Taiwan, the Northern Military District which is in charge of defending North Eastern region of China ordered full battle preparation to all land, sea, and air units under its command, and massed 150 thousand troops out of 430 thousand troops which makes up 16th, 23rd, 39th, and 40th Army Groups.
The news site reported that the Northern District took this measure in response to Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises by S. Korean and U.S. troops, which continues until the end of this month, whose scenario is to eliminate N. Korean leadership including Kim Jong-un and destroy N. Korea's WMDs when a crisis breaks out in Korean Peninsula.
The lead units for rapid response to a N. Korean crisis are 39th Army Group and 40th Army Group whose command headquarters are at Yingkou and Jinzhou in Liaoning Province. The 39th Army Group is a heavy mechanized unit and the 40th is the rapid deployment force.
Furthermore, they deployed a new Kongjing-500 early warning aircraft to the border to beef up aerial surveillance.
In addition, Dongfend-31A missiles, 12 Dongfeng-03 ballstic missiles with a range of 2,800km, and 24 Dongfeng-21 "Carrier-killer" missiles are aimed at N. Korea, United States Forces Korea and Japan and are ready to be fired.

04-10-2017, 03:33 PM
WASHINGTON — The commander of American forces in the Pacific has ordered an aircraft carrier and several other warships toward the Korean Peninsula in a show of force by the Trump administration just days after North Korea tested another intermediate-range missile.
The officer, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., the head of the military’s Pacific Command, diverted the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and its wing of fighter jets from a planned series of exercises and port calls in Australia, the command said in a statement. The Vinson and three guided-missile destroyers and cruisers steamed out of Singapore on Saturday for their new mission in the Western Pacific.

04-11-2017, 09:59 PM
Re Post 14.
Unvetted translation.


I listened to a South Korean SME AM today and he made no mention of the PLA movements. Curious.

04-11-2017, 10:03 PM
So China decides "No more coking coal from North Korea". Who gains? Well both Russia & USA are now exporting coking coal to China!

This report starts with:
A fleet of North Korean cargo ships is heading home to the port of Nampo, the majority of it fully laden, after the Chinese regime ordered its trading companies to return coal from the isolated country, shipping data shows. Following repeated missile tests that drew international criticism, the Chinese regime banned all imports of North Korean coal on Feb. 26, cutting off the country’s most important export product.
Link:http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2241283-north-korean-ships-head-home-after-china-orders-coal-returned/? (http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2241283-north-korean-ships-head-home-after-china-orders-coal-returned/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter)

04-12-2017, 12:35 AM
My personal opinion, is that Xi and Trump will arrive at an agreement over cigars and brandy, not unlike how Churchill and Stalin did with regard to German-occupied Eastern Europe.

It would envision something along these lines:

1. A joint Sino-American attack on North Korea, with a view to securing its WMDs and capturing or killing Kim and his inner circle. The PLA would likely invade on the ground, with the U.S. providing precision-strike from the air, and joint SOF teams inserted to seize key objects and persons.

2. A successor to Kim is found, probably within the KPA leadership, who will no doubt be pro-China and authoritarian capitalist in style.

3. Resistance to this change of leadership is quickly quelled by North Korean and Chinese forces. WMDs are destroyed.

4. A long-term plan is set in motion to improve North Korea's economy and living standards, with a view to re-unify with the ROK in 10+ years.

5. Upon reunification, Chinese and U.S. forces will exit the peninsula, and the unified Korea will be non-aligned and host no foreign forces.


Because Seoul is wary of repeating Bonn's experience, Beijing will not allow U.S. ground forces to approach its border with Korea, U.S. precision-strike capabilities are necessary, and South Korea is a drain on the U.S. military, as it has no reciprocal responsibility to come to the aid of the U.S. short of a North Korean attack across the DMZ.

04-12-2017, 08:03 AM
A UK academic comment:
The relationship between public opinion and foreign policy is a complex one for any country to manage. That’s especially true in China; while its authoritarian political institutions might seem relatively insulated from popular sentiment compared to their counterparts in many democracies, no sensible leader in any state can completely ignore what their citizens think. All this said, many people in China still believe their country should support Pyongyang. They aren’t necessarily big fans of Kim Jong-un or his signature hairstyle; they’re more worried that should his government collapse, a violent chapter in history might repeat itself.

With a reminder how domestic policy could restrain China:
..very few Chinese parents, many of whom have only one child thanks to the country’s family planning policy, would ever take the idea of military conflict lightly.
Link:https://theconversation.com/chinas-leaders-and-citizens-are-losing-patience-with-north-korea-75262? (https://theconversation.com/chinas-leaders-and-citizens-are-losing-patience-with-north-korea-75262?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20 for%20April%2012%202017%20-%2071805432&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20f or%20April%2012%202017%20-%2071805432+CID_871b5b7cb768c08ae8abf08a2c6473b4&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=Chinas%20leaders%20and%20citizens%20are%2 0losing%20patience%20with%20North%20Korea)

04-12-2017, 10:33 PM

US gov’t and other sources say #DPRK has apparently placed a nuclear device in a tunnel and it could be detonated Saturday AM #Korea time.


USAF WC-135 Constant Phoenix "nuclear sniffer" aircraft deployed to Okinawa ahead of poss. N Korean nuke test

04-14-2017, 04:15 AM
Azor...BTW...I am far more concerned about going to war in Korean than Syria.

BREAKING: US prepared to launch conventional military strike on North Korea if country moves towards nuclear test, according to US officials

As someone who has exercised the Korean war scenario a number of times...you do not want to hear how it starts...how it develops and then how it might in fact end...

Anyone who tells you that we are the "winners" needs to have their head seriously examined....a number of times actually...

It will be hard..brutal and high loss numbers and in the end potential go nuclear...

If NK lined up their artillery on the border and just fired artillery all day long ...Seoul would no loner be on the map...just as starters and then we can move onto NK SOF moves south.....AND that is not nuclear....

04-14-2017, 04:50 AM
Azor...BTW...I am far more concerned about going to war in Korean than Syria.

BREAKING: US prepared to launch conventional military strike on North Korea if country moves towards nuclear test, according to US officials

As someone who has exercised the Korean war scenario a number of times...you do not want to hear how it starts...how it develops and then how it might in fact end...

Anyone who tells you that we are the "winners" needs to have their head seriously examined....a number of times actually...

It will be hard..brutal and high loss numbers and in the end potential go nuclear...

If NK lined up their artillery on the border and just fired artillery all day long ...Seoul would no loner be on the map...just as starters and then we can move onto NK SOF moves south.....AND that is not nuclear....

Enjoy the Goldman Sachs neocon WH that is exactly what Trump voters have gotten and actually I tend to agree with these accusations by the alt right that massively supported Trump and who have turned against him...they at least "see his shift".....

DOES DoD want to deliberately heat up Korea to a level they themselves can no longer control?

The Pentagon on Thursday declined to comment on an NBC report about possible pre-emptive action against North Korea, saying, as a policy, it does not discuss future operations "nor publicly speculate on possible scenarios."
"Commanders are always considering a full range of options to protect against any contingencies," Dana White, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a statement. Reuters had queried the Pentagon about the report.
"Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of potential threats, remains steadfast."
If your intention is to draw attention to NK but one level just under full war...they deny the report...NOT side step it thus reinforcing the image that the US is fully prepared to go to war....

04-14-2017, 08:02 AM
DOES DoD want to deliberately heat up Korea to a level they themselves can no longer control?

If your intention is to draw attention to NK but one level just under full war...they deny the report...NOT side step it thus reinforcing the image that the US is fully prepared to go to war....

We are rapidly reaching that point in time...China has never released since the Korean War such a statement....and then under "Breaking"...evidently they feel the nuclear test will be used by the US as a reason to physically strike NK nuclear/missile facilities...

AFP news agency

#BREAKING 'Conflict could break out at any moment' over North Korea: China

BREAKING: North Korea's vice foreign minister tells the AP it will conduct next nuclear test whenever supreme headquarters sees fit.

04-14-2017, 02:03 PM
Play up those Hollywood platitudes.

A conflict over North Korea could break out "at any moment", China said Friday, warning there would be no winner in any war as tensions soar with the United States.
The sharp language came after US President Donald Trump said the North Korea problem "will be taken care of", as speculation mounts the reclusive state could be preparing another nuclear or missile test.
Trump has sent an aircraft carrier-led strike group to the Korean peninsula to press his point, one of a series of measures that indicate his willingness to shake up foreign policy strategy.
"Lately, tensions have risen... and one has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment," Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said.
"If a war occurs, the result is a situation in which everybody loses and there can be no winner."


Cater to the American journalists' worst fears.

PYONGYANG, North Korea — President Donald Trump's tweets are adding fuel to a "vicious cycle" of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea's vice foreign minister told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Friday.

The official added that if the U.S. shows any sign of "reckless" military aggression, Pyongyang is ready to launch a pre-emptive strike of its own. Vice Minister Han Song Ryol said Pyongyang has determined the Trump administration is "more vicious and more aggressive" than that of his predecessor, Barack Obama. He added that North Korea will keep building up its nuclear arsenal in "quality and quantity" and said Pyongyang is ready to go to war if that's what Trump wants.


Oh noes! Another dud on the Launchpad?

The U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test, multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
North Korea has warned that a "big event" is near, and U.S. officials say signs point to a nuclear test that could come as early as this weekend.

and the latest from the Pyongyang Large Scale Modelbuilding Club

04-14-2017, 02:39 PM
Right now am not so sure Syria and Ukraine are the hot spots......

North korea: #Japan making plans to evacuate 60,000 citizens from #South Korea and to deal with a refugee crisis.

Russia reportedly moved military vehicles (Air Def) toward Vladivostok not far from the border w/ North Korea

04-15-2017, 02:08 PM
I don't see the incentive in DPRK responding to US threats by demobilizing or dismantling its nuclear program. Their rhetoric has made perfectly clear that the examples of Iraq and Libya surrendering their WMD only to be swiftly destroyed by the US are at the forefront of their justification. And the latest strike in Syria is not a good template for the US to use in response to any DPRK nuclear test - it will only show US impotence and possibly start a general war.

04-15-2017, 04:48 PM
"Wag the Dog" has now gotten out of control......

You know things have gotten upside down when China is urging calm and sounds like the most reasonable voice in the room.

Two uses of air strikes against countries that cannot defend themselves and now one who can fight back, has nuclear weapons and can flatten Seoul within hours and Trump is off golfing today?

From today's NK military parade....WHILE Trump is off golfing....

Generally speaking, this is not what you want to see North Korea military experts tweet while watching North Korea military parades.

Melissa Hanham‏#


Goes to the above comment....

"We’re totally floored right now...I was not expecting to see this many new missile designs.”

So was the MOAB a "Wag the Dog moment"????? It definitely did not impress the NKs.....

04-16-2017, 12:32 AM
Time to drag out those twin 23mm AA guns and dispatch another Project Manager.

North Korea attempted a new missile launch from an eastern coastal city early Sunday, but the operation ended in failure shortly after launch, U.S. and South Korean officials said.
It was not clear whether it was a long-range ballistic missile, but the attempted launch in South Hamkyung Province, around Sinpo, was a clear sign of the secretive country’s continuing attempts to develop an aggressive weapons program.
U.S. Pacific Command said it detected a missile at about 6:20 a.m. Korean time. The device apparently “blew up almost instantly,” Cmdr. Dave Benham, a command spokesman, said in a statement.The type of missile is still unknown, he said.


04-16-2017, 07:56 AM
Another "Wag the Dog moment" coming care of the Trump WH...........

BREAKING: UK officials say Trump Administration believes it can 'utterly destroy' the installations key to North Korea's nuclear threat

China doesn't like North Korea's wild behavior either. But it also fears collapse & reunification:

So what will China do if in fact Trump air/missile strikes NK????

Side with NK naturally....

04-16-2017, 09:17 PM
WaPo has an article assessing the missiles plus shown yesterday and notes the tubes content is unknown. It relies on Jeffrey Lewis aka @ArmsControlWonk and cites his colleague, Melissa Hanham who authored the "Oooh" tweet.

She noted:
Solid fuel is very significant because they can launch these missiles much faster and with a smaller entourage than with #liquid-fueled missiles, making them much harder for the United States, South Korea and Japan to spot from satellites.Link:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/04/15/here-are-the-missiles-north-korea-just-showed-off-one-by-one/

04-17-2017, 12:02 AM
WaPo has an article assessing the missiles plus shown yesterday and notes the tubes content is unknown. It relies on Jeffrey Lewis aka @ArmsControlWonk and cites his colleague, Melissa Hanham who authored the "Oooh" tweet.

She noted:Link:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/04/15/here-are-the-missiles-north-korea-just-showed-off-one-by-one/


I think there is a measure of sensationalism at work here.

There are no indications that these new designs are anything other than cosmetic revisions or that they even work. As for the DPRK's dalliance with solid-fuel, note that even Russia still retains dozens of liquid-fuel ICBMs (UR-100N).

I would imagine that Russian, Chinese, U.S., Japanese and Korean intelligence are all aware of North Korea's capabilities, irrespective of what they put on parade.

These analysts are helpful, but they are not privy to secret intelligence and rely on OSINT as much as the rest of us.

04-17-2017, 05:23 AM
BTW...the "Wag the Dog" theory is gaining ground now ....a well known former US ambassador to SK stated yesterday...."Trump is trying to out do NK" in his attempt to make his image look like that of a hardnosed US leader.....

He went on to state..."you cannot outdo NK with NK like actions"....it will always end in failure as NK is the only country truly prepared for war from the very first minute you engage them....there is no other country on this earth like that...

Trump has responded with heated rhetoric and military maneuvering that has many wondering how far he'll go to counter an aggressive Pyongyang.
But Hill warned the president is not in a position to "bluff."
"Great powers can't really bluff," Hill added. "So when you talk in those terms, you've got to be prepared to back it up. And I guess that's what worries people the most."
"Certainly it makes people nervous when they're not quite sure what he means by it," Hill said.
BTW...check the Russian TV rant I posted here from yesterday...I have never seen such a Russia media blast in the last 30 odd years...Russia is angry.....really angry at Trump....and that rant yesterday was personal and aimed directly at Trump and his family. BTW...Russian media speaks what is allowed by the government not vice versa....so we got yesterday Putin talking to Trump directly via TV....

SO do the Russians actually have compromising information on him and felt he would swing their way....this reaction from yesterday says YES they do have materials....and just might be n the edge of releasing them and burning Trump...

What many do not know is that Russians both personal friends and the government have memories like elephants....they never forget something even if years ago....

04-17-2017, 10:41 AM
You do not play a game of "chicken" with a country capable of striking back at you and your allies.....especially if they have 11 completed nuclear devices and one could be targeted against Japan as his shorter range missiles function well and have the range ...NK can hit Japan was well with CWs and they can flatten Seoul in a few hours just with normal artillery....

Trump Is Willing to Consider a Sudden Strike on North Koreahttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-16/mcmaster-rules-nothing-out-as-trump-team-mulls-north-korea-moves#

Trump got away with his TLSM strike because Russia did not actively counter the inbound TLAMs nor was Assad able to strike back.....

As an indicator of something coming down the proverbial highway......

The departures board at Pyongyang airport just went dark. Been waiting here 8 hours. No word about what's going on

REMEMBER Chia also cancelled all flight to and from NK today several days ago....so what is it they did not tell Trump in FL?????

North Korea is the only country China has promised by treaty to defend (and it is probably regretting that promise a little).

04-17-2017, 05:12 PM
Trump's "Wag the Dog thingy" is getting a tad out of control...HOW long can he park a US carrier strike force????

North Korea 'will test missiles weekly', senior official tells

BBC http://bbc.in/2pqCMIj

04-17-2017, 06:18 PM
Trump's "Wag the Dog thingy" is getting a tad out of control...HOW long can he park a US carrier strike force????

North Korea 'will test missiles weekly', senior official tells


N. Korean deputy foreign minister says army on "maximum alert", nuclear weapon not an illiusion

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/north-korea-maximum-alert-threats-170417131518873.html …

Are they getting ready to test their nuclear device...appears so....calling basically the Trump bluff....THEN what will Trump do then?????

Bill Moore
04-17-2017, 08:31 PM
The current approach to DPRK is just fine, despite sensational hype from the far left about the tail wagging the dog.

There are only a couple of facts that we need to keep in mind.

1. KJU is unpredictable, and he is rapidly enroute to developing the capability to strike our homeland with nuclear missile. Recent failures result in lessons and adaption, so they shouldn't be seen as he'll never get there. One only needs to look at the evolution of their missile capabilities since the mid 90s to today.

2. Cuddling KJU, or any form DPRK leader, has never worked. If they're not challenged they will continue to act out in increasingly destabilizing ways. DPRK is a sore spot in the global security that cannot be ignored, or addressed with strategic patience. That has already failed.

3. If the current approach of escalating to de-escalate doesn't work, then we need to be prepared to execute military operations. Failure not to will lead to greater risk later. What happens afterwards will be messy, but ultimately manageable.

This is no time for Chamberlains, instead we must face facts and deal with the world as it really is. The world is a tough place, we need to be tough to protect our interests.

04-17-2017, 08:42 PM
From Tyler Rogoway at TheWarzone: http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/9331/analyzing-north-koreas-missile-parade-prescription-for-fear-dose-of-reality

An unprecedented number eyes were focused on Pyongyang yesterday for this year's Day of The Sun military parade. Largely this was because the rhetoric between the US and North Korea has never been so hot, and there has been real posturing to go along with it. Intelligence agencies and journalists alike watch the display closely to see what new military capabilities the Kim regime will put on display, and as a result you probably woke up to headlines like "North Korea shows off sinister new ICBM" and the like.

It seems like many are quick to forget that this event happens on parade grounds, not a military technology testing and proving ground. Parades usually have floats, and big ominous looking missile canisters, and even missiles themselves, can be just that—elaborate displays—and nothing more.

We know what missile capabilities the North Koreans have actually tested, and what remains on their wish list. The War Zone was among the first to warn of Kim's changing missile development strategy (http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3381/north-koreas-failed-ballistic-missile-launches-are-no-laughing-matter?iid=sr-link1), and we have followed every major launch very closely since.

There is no question North Korea has gained incredible momentum towards a true intercontinental ballistic missile and submarine-launched ballistic missile capability over the last year, but that doesn't mean rolling a big transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) with a massive missile canister on top proves that there is anything inside.

It is best to think of this event as a place at which Pyongyang can make their end-game aspirations a brief but synthetic reality—a blank canvas for which to paint their most deadly hopes and dreams.

So no, just because it rolls through Kim Il Sung Square does not make it real—at least not real yet. But that also doesn't mean that it is all fake—far from it. Once again, many of these systems are actually in testing, and outgrowths of their original designs are both logical and expected...

04-17-2017, 08:49 PM
The current approach to DPRK is just fine, despite sensational hype from the far left about the tail wagging the dog.

There are only a couple of facts that we need to keep in mind.

1. KJU is unpredictable, and he is rapidly enroute to developing the capability to strike our homeland with nuclear missile. Recent failures result in lessons and adaption, so they shouldn't be seen as he'll never get there. One only needs to look at the evolution of their missile capabilities since the mid 90s to today.

2. Cuddling KJU, or any form DPRK leader, has never worked. If they're not challenged they will continue to act out in increasingly destabilizing ways. DPRK is a sore spot in the global security that cannot be ignored, or addressed with strategic patience. That has already failed.

3. If the current approach of escalating to de-escalate doesn't work, then we need to be prepared to execute military operations. Failure not to will lead to greater risk later. What happens afterwards will be messy, but ultimately manageable.

This is no time for Chamberlains, instead we must face facts and deal with the world as it really is. The world is a tough place, we need to be tough to protect our interests.

Agreed, Bill.

The "wag the dog" slogan is merely part of the 2016 Campaign that never ended in November. If the current president softens on Kim, then he is a Russian agent dismantling American power; if he hardens on Kim, then he is both a warmonger and a Russian agent feigning Hawkishness to distract from his secret plot to dismantle American power. I just did some mental contortions there...

You are correct that amusing blunders aside, North Korea is on track to be able to launch a nuclear warhead at CONUS in 5-10 years.

What is probably of greater concern, is North Korea's attempts to develop an A2/AD zone comprised of shorter-range ballistic and cruise missiles. This would allow Kim or his successors to stage provocations such as the Cheonan sinking, knowing that the US-led coalition would face heavy costs retaliating.

After a generation of kicking the can down the road, there is now only a narrow window with which to disarm North Korea and prevent it from extorting or terrorizing its neighbors with impunity.

04-18-2017, 07:51 AM
China-made truck used in North Korea parade to show submarine-launched missile

04-18-2017, 08:01 AM
Agreed, Bill.

The "wag the dog" slogan is merely part of the 2016 Campaign that never ended in November. If the current president softens on Kim, then he is a Russian agent dismantling American power; if he hardens on Kim, then he is both a warmonger and a Russian agent feigning Hawkishness to distract from his secret plot to dismantle American power. I just did some mental contortions there...

You are correct that amusing blunders aside, North Korea is on track to be able to launch a nuclear warhead at CONUS in 5-10 years.

What is probably of greater concern, is North Korea's attempts to develop an A2/AD zone comprised of shorter-range ballistic and cruise missiles. This would allow Kim or his successors to stage provocations such as the Cheonan sinking, knowing that the US-led coalition would face heavy costs retaliating.

After a generation of kicking the can down the road, there is now only a narrow window with which to disarm North Korea and prevent it from extorting or terrorizing its neighbors with impunity.

I find it interesting that while all state what they state the only American with a relative deep negotiation skills with NK in eight trips there for a long number of days Bill Richards who has no dog in the fight suggested the following;.....

All previous US comments whether from Reagan...Bush...Obama and now Trump has actually reinforced the NK image that the US wants to totally and completely defeat NK and reunify it with the south....that is at least their perception....and based on all the sanctions they could actually believe it....

AND you read the Deputy FMs comments that "Gadhafi was crazy for giving up his nuclear drive in exchange of being accepted into the West...WHAT did it get him...shot in a ditch" ...

You can actually understand NK....anyway maybe the current leader is not as "crazy" as we make him out to be.....

Richards went on to say use economic and humanitarian aid and help to their electrical power industries to entice them long term that 1) the West is not out to destroy him or NK and 2) long term entice him off nuclear weapons if for a long period the West does not attempt to destroy NK...

Basically he went on to state that the Trump bluster and carrier strike force just reinforces what NK believes to be the reality of the US...the destruction of NK...

BTW...even the Chinese are now admitting they have limited abilities to reign in NK nuclear/missile development.....

AND the current Trump FP is to lean on the Chinese to lean on NK in order to be not called currency manipulators....

Not a thoroughly thought out FP strategic strategy if you ask me....just tactical responses to a thoroughly strategic problem...

04-18-2017, 05:11 PM
Trump says North Korea ‘outplayed’ Obama — but the truth is much more complicated

BREAKING: Japan is considering preparations for refugees from North Korea

04-18-2017, 05:42 PM
BUT WAIT...I thought Pence was in SK to condemn NK actions...BUT now it is really about trade it appears....

Pence takes a hardline on renegotiating the US trade deal with South Korea

Reality: our IC has too little HUMINT & SIGINT on North Korea.
Which makes Trump's tweets even more dangerous.

Nobody really knows what's going on inside North Korea. Not even US spies.
Here's why that's bad.

04-18-2017, 06:35 PM
Remember that 'armada’ Trump was sending to Korea? It is sailing the wrong way,

AND this is not a true "Wag the Dog moment"??????

04-18-2017, 06:37 PM
Eyewitnesses from Shenyang reporting mil. movement heading Dandong close to North Korea ("many medical vehicles")

04-18-2017, 07:15 PM
Citing Bill M in part:
AND you read the Deputy FMs comments that "Gadhafi was crazy for giving up his nuclear drive in exchange of being accepted into the West...WHAT did it get him...shot in a ditch" ...

I skimmed the BBC's interview with the Deputy FM this morning, but will now read it fully. The reporter concluded:
The message is clear. Militarised and isolated, North Korea has the right to follow its own path and, Mr Han apparently believes, no one will be able to stop it.So far, he has been proven right.

04-18-2017, 07:17 PM
I find it interesting that while all state what they state the only American with a relative deep negotiation skills with NK in eight trips there for a long number of days Bill Richards [sic] who has no dog in the fight suggested the following…

I trust Bill Richardson on North Korea as much as I trust Dennis Rodman.

All previous US comments whether from Reagan...Bush...Obama and now Trump has [sic] actually reinforced the NK image that the US wants to totally and completely defeat NK and reunify it with the south...that is at least their perception...and based on all the sanctions they could actually believe it...

Are you serious?

The record shows frequent and deadly North Korean acts of war against South Korea, Japan and the United States, which have not been responded to in kind, in addition to the unilateral withdrawal of American nuclear weapons from South Korea. In return, North Korea has continued to develop nuclear weapons that can reach the United States and has threatened nuclear war on a number of occasions. Pyongyang has been handled with kid gloves and that approach has not worked. Now, the window of opportunity for decisively stopping the threat is closing.

AND you read the Deputy FMs comments that "Gadhafi was crazy for giving up his nuclear drive in exchange of being accepted into the West...WHAT did it get him...shot in a ditch"...You can actually understand NK…anyway maybe the current leader is not as "crazy" as we make him out to be...

Why would I read what I already know to be true?

You will recall that I have consistently argued that U.S. intervention in Libya drove a nail in the coffin of non-proliferation, which was given the coup de grace by Russia in Ukraine three years later.

Yet both you and CrowBat whined that Gadhafi was a butcher who needed to be ousted. Well, Obama ruined the only positive developments from Bush’s aggressive non-proliferation focus, and the point was not lost on either Pyongyang or Teheran for that matter. If there is war on the Korean peninsula again, save your condemnation for Clinton and Obama: at least Bush was consistent. Gadhafi was never “accepted into the West”, but there was a gentleman’s agreement that relations would be normal again and he would not be subject to “shock and awe”. After Operation Odyssey Dawn, why would Teheran, Pyongyang, Islamabad, Damascus or any other rogue nuclear or would-be nuclear power ever trust Washington? That is the reason that the JCPOA is a failure: because Teheran has no incentive to comply for the duration.

Richards [sic] went on to say use economic and humanitarian aid and help to their electrical power industries to entice them long term that 1) the West is not out to destroy him or NK and 2) long term entice him off nuclear weapons if for a long period the West does not attempt to destroy NK...

By the time that “long period” is over, North Korea will have a minimum credible deterrent capable of reaching the U.S. and extorting it, South Korea and Japan for aid. There is no reason for Kim to believe that anything other than a nuclear deterrent will protect his regime. Neither Washington nor Moscow can go back on the messes they created in Libya and Ukraine, respectively, and the broken agreements.

04-18-2017, 08:25 PM
I don't see the incentive in DPRK responding to US threats by demobilizing or dismantling its nuclear program. Their rhetoric has made perfectly clear that the examples of Iraq and Libya surrendering their WMD only to be swiftly destroyed by the US are at the forefront of their justification. And the latest strike in Syria is not a good template for the US to use in response to any DPRK nuclear test - it will only show US impotence and possibly start a general war.

Well, hold on. Iraq never surrendered its nuclear weapons program; on the contrary, it ran out of resources due to the disastrous wars in Iran and Kuwait.

The countries that did dismantle their nuclear programs or weapons are:

South Africa

Of these, Libya was invaded less than eight years after it abandoned its nuclear weapons program in return for normalized relations, and Ukraine was invaded and partitioned nineteen years after surrendering the nuclear weapons in its possession.

The fact that these gentleman's or non-binding agreements were violated by key guarantors is not lost on Iran, North Korea, Pakistan or even Syria.

04-18-2017, 11:10 PM
and the latest from the Pyongyang Large Scale Modelbuilding Club

Were Kim Jong-Un's missiles FAKE?
Critics claim 'wonky' rockets put on display ahead of failed test launch were not real weapons
North Korea unveiled new weapons during a display of the country's military
But people have started questioning the validity of some of the missiles on show
One in particular looks as though the nose is either fitted incorrectly or a fake
Parade of weapons was part of the celebrations of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang#

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4416256/Are-Kim-Jong-s-missiles-FAKE.html#ixzz4ee4jQTIY

04-18-2017, 11:12 PM

Nice analysis from Tanchoppa

See also

05-03-2017, 12:22 PM
Someone with a firm grasp of the blatantly obvious

WASHINGTON (AP) — North Korea's nuclear weapons development may be designed to take over archrival South Korea and coerce the United States into abandoning its close ally, a senior White House official said Tuesday, questioning the North's stated purpose of warding off a U.S. invasion.
Ruminating about Pyongyang's possible motivations, Matt Pottinger, the Asia director on President Donald Trump's National Security Council, said there may be some truth to claims that the North wants a nuclear deterrent to protect its communist dictatorship. But Pottinger said the country's robust conventional military has worked as a deterrent for decades.

05-03-2017, 04:22 PM
Someone with a firm grasp of the blatantly obvious


Pottinger is partly correct. Certainly, Pyongyang believes that a nuclear deterrent will allow it to blackmail the international community to prop up the Kim dynasty materially as North Korea will be "too big to fail". This would echo the U.S.-Pakistani relationship, where the U.S. keeps Pakistan close more to ensure that its nuclear weapons are secure than because of Pakistan's "counter-terrorism efforts".

However, after the advent of U.S. precision-strike in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Iraq again and then Libya, it became clear that the KPA was obsolete and could be annihilated with impunity from the air. Therefore, while the KPA would deter a ground invasion and occupation, it could not prevent devastating airstrikes. Thus, Pyongyang does believe that only a nuclear deterrent will keep the B-2s at bay...

05-03-2017, 10:54 PM

By Lt. Col. Raymond Farrell, Canadian Forces

Selected Excerpts:

The North’s Attack Plan

...They therefore plan to win by striking quickly, by surprise, while ROK forces are still mobilizing, US reinforcements are not yet in theatre, and while our airpower is largely committed to overcoming the DPRK integrated air defense system and targeting WMD storage sites, launchers, and command, control, and communications (C3) networks.

Recognizing that ROK forces will be on some degree of heightened readiness during a crisis, the regime will use its formidable intelligence and special operations capability to obscure preparations for an attack and slow ROK responses. Its own past history of symbolic attacks, placing its forces on alert, and angry promises to destroy its enemies will actually work in its favor in this case: ROK/US intelligence agencies will expect some kind of posturing from the North and may therefore misidentify attack preparations as lesser actions. DPRK agents will also count on the psychological reluctance of the South Korean population and government to believe that war is imminent. They will actively seek to influence the ROK democratic decision-making process to get inside our decision cycle. In particular, ROK mobilization will require a political decision and every hour of delay imposed through threats, deception, information and cyber attacks, or direct action will have consequences. In the end, even if ROK/US commanders do recognize the signs of an attack before it begins, it will still take time to react. In that time, DPRK commanders hope to win.

There will be no need for detailed orders. Just as ROK forces know and rehearse their war plan, DPRK forces are largely in place, in numbers sufficient to achieve some local breakthroughs on the major routes towards Seoul—their first operational objective. North Korea will hope to begin mobilization before South Korea does, and thereby turn their currently modest advantage in numbers into a temporarily significant one. DPRK forces will rely, Soviet-style, on the use of overwhelming artillery and rocket fires to break through ROK prepared positions along the DMZ, while using deep fires to attack C3 nodes, routes forward, and mobilization centers. Strikes against targets in Seoul and the surrounding urban areas will have the additional useful effect of causing fear and choking routes with a panicked populace.

On the subject of routes it is worth considering the limited space for mechanized maneuver in central Korea: The eastern half of the peninsula is largely mountainous with roads running along valley floors. The grain of the country will tend to push DPRK forces southwest (towards Seoul). The western half of the peninsula around Seoul and the Han River system is slightly flatter, but at least south of the DMZ the land is now so built up that once major routes come under fire it will be slow going for both sides. It’s not good country for heavy forces, and until recently both sides planned to use mostly lighter infantry to fight on the line. Recent announced changes to ROK force structure see a much greater emphasis on heavy forces—perhaps to get more combat power out of a smaller overall force—but the terrain suggests that such forces will likely be difficult to maneuver. Furthermore, DPRK tactics emphasize the use of infiltration to achieve local penetrations and attack deeper, tactical targets. Their line formations include elite sub-elements specially trained for these tasks, and the terrain—whether urban or forested mountain—is ideal for it. Road-bound heavy forces will be especially susceptible to such tactics.

The final element in the DPRK plan is an extensive deep battle across the entire South Korean depth using some one hundred thousand special operations forces (SOF). An interesting feature of this war is that since both sides look and speak more or less alike, covert insertion and operation is easier for each side—but especially so for North Korean agents who may move freely within South Korea’s open society.

Some DPRK SOF will have been pre-positioned. More will be inserted by sea, air, and ground infiltration shortly before the main attack, exploiting—little-green-men-style—any public uncertainty or national command paralysis for temporary deniability. One of the main tasks for DPRK SOF in this preliminary phase will be to support the deception plan by encouraging and magnifying whatever confusion and chaos may accompany a crisis, and especially to foster political uncertainty and indecision in the critical hours before the main attack. Deniable attacks against political leadership, false-flag provocations, staged anti-war protests, terrorist attacks aimed at causing panic, and limited attacks against key C3 nodes will begin in this stage. This phase could last for days or even weeks, but hours are more likely.

Once DPRK main forces attack across the DMZ, the remaining DPRK SOF will surge south by sea and air towards targets in Seoul and in depth. Many will be destroyed en route by defending ROK forces, and more will be defeated at their objectives, but DPRK planners hope to overwhelm ROK defenses by sheer numbers of SOF and inflict temporary but serious damage while they still have operational surprise. SOF targets in this phase will be national C3 nodes, including political leadership, mobilization centres, airfields, ports and naval bases, and choke points on major routes. As with artillery strikes, fighting by SOF on objectives in Seoul will be aimed at heightening panic and demoralizing political leadership, and will be exploited by DPRK information warfare agencies to give the impression that the front has already reached the ROK capital.

With luck, DPRK planners hope to have main forces entering Seoul within the first week, from which position they can either transition to defense and negotiate from strength or, if conditions permit, push on to decisively defeat ROK forces.

But this plan is very optimistic. ROK planners understand it well and are prepared to counter it. Forces defending along the DMZ are in strong, prepared positions supported by obstacles. ROK C3 is hardened and redundant. Rear-area security forces are substantial and their plans are kept current and rehearsed. Even given some disruption by DPRK SOF, mobilization is expected to generate millions of men within days.

The Unknowns

There are three main variables which might affect this estimate: First, the combat performance of either side cannot be known for certain. My own guess is that ROK forces would fight very well—especially on defense. But there are ways in which North Korea may attempt to undermine ROK morale: Both sides consider the other to be cousins awaiting liberation and this could be used as part of a skillful information operations campaign—particularly if ROK forces seek to advance into the North. The possible combat performance of DPRK forces is even less predictable. On the one hand, the DPRK population has been brainwashed from birth. On the other hand, North Korea’s people fear their own leadership and are often on the brink of starvation. It is possible that they might fight fanatically, but also that, given a chance, they would turn on their leaders. We simply don’t know.

The second main variable is the potential DPRK use of WMD. Finding and killing these will be a high priority for ROK/US commanders, but it is possible that some will survive, especially in the first few days. The North’s leaders may decide to use chemical weapons for battlefield advantage or, if they fail to enter Seoul, may seek to blackmail the ROK government with the possibility of chemical or even nuclear attack against it. Of course the use, or even threatened use, of WMD might invite US retaliation in kind, but a desperate or simply risk-taking Kim regime could gamble that our side would blink first.

The third and related variable is what the DPRK regime would do in defeat. Facing defeat, it is possible that army commanders, or even their troops, would turn on the leadership and depose the regime. On the other hand, if Kim retains enough control over his forces but believes that he is on the brink of being deposed, it is possible that he could—with nothing left to lose—simply unleash whatever WMD he still possesses.

The Takeaway: DPRK Will Make it Ugly

Recognizing that in war nothing ever goes entirely as expected, and that there are some major unknowns, this is based on what we do know about North Korea’s force structure, its comparative strengths, and terrain and other considerations—along with my own assessment of how Korean War II would initially unfold. But regardless of how it played out, one thing is near certain: It would entail horrific destruction and suffering. Tens or hundreds of thousands could become casualties. In defeat, North Korea would become a 25-million strong humanitarian catastrophe. And that is just with conventional weapons: The possible consequences of attacking Seoul with WMD are almost too awful to contemplate. There is a role for force here—a strong ROK/US posture has certainly constrained North Korean aggression for decades—and in no way should DPRK threats be simply acceded to. But under current conditions, and given the scale of likely destruction, planners should strongly question whether each DPRK provocation—even the imminent development of a ICBM—justifies risking such a war.

05-03-2017, 11:32 PM

By Maj. M.L. Kavanaugh

He did it. Kim Jong Un defied the world, again. Despite the American warships, despite the Chinese pressure, North Korea’s leader tested another illicit missile. Even if the practice launch “fizzled,” as with gifts, it’s the thought that counts—and in this case, the thoughts are pretty disturbing. And he’s still got a nuke “all primed and ready” to test.

Of course, North Korea has conducted nuclear tests on five previous occasions, including twice last year (not to mention 24 provocative missile tests in the same twelve-month stretch)—and US aircraft carrier visits to the region are not rare. But the backdrop of palpably increased tensions against which these developments are taking place gives them a particularly ominous character.

While an outbreak of war remains unlikely, because this recent cycle continues a long, dangerous trend, we have to ask: What would a war to end the North Korean regime look like? What historical example could we reach to? It is critically important for planners to set their scales correctly to understand the scope war might entail. And in this case, the task’s enormity demands accurate forecasting.

Twenty years ago, an American commander in Korea estimated a war with North Korea would take a million lives and cost $1 trillion (and that was against a pre-nuclear North). More recently, about a year ago, the previous US commander in Korea, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, testified to the US Congress that, “Given the size of [North Korean] forces and the weaponry involved,” a war there would be “akin to the Korean War and World War II—very complex, probably high casualty.” Translating this most recent assessment from alpha to numeric puts us somewhere between 40,000 and 400,000 battle deaths. That’s a lot, but, it does get us to a historical precedent. Another major Pacific operation featured similarly high casualty estimates: Operation Downfall. This was the planned invasion to defeat the Empire of Japan at the end of the Second World War—and it never actually happened because the Japanese surrendered before it kicked off. Still, thinking through the similarities is a worthy activity in the face of such a high-stakes endeavor.

The planning for Operation Downfall had many features that would be similar to a conventional assault on North Korea. The first is that against Japan, the US objective was unconditional surrender to remove a distant, significant threat to US vital interests. Against North Korea, the US objective is verifiable, complete surrender of its nuclear program, another distant, significant threat to US vital interests. The geographies have remarkable similarities, if one considers the combination of the nearly impenetrable DMZ and non-accessibility of the North Korean-Chinese border for US military use—a fact that makes North Korea into a sort of manmade island (like Japan 1945), which drives US military options centered on long-haul power projection and amphibious approaches. Also, in 1945, US war planners’ first assumption was they would be “opposed not only by the available organized military forces of the Empire, but also by a fanatically hostile population.” Modern North Korea is similarly hostile; loyalty is strong and a not-insignificant number of civilians will fight hard. Lastly, the defender’s strike threats are actually fairly comparable—Japan had thousands of kamikaze planes and kaiten (suicide) boats which acted as human-guided deep-strike munitions, while today’s North Korea similarly has thousands of missiles and rockets, which are tech-led deep-strike munitions. And both foes used years to dig in and improve defensive positions ready for oncoming attackers. 1945’s Empire of Japan and 2017’s North Korea pose many similar military challenges.

But they’re not the same—so, what makes these two operations different? First, the most obvious is the nuclear genie is out of the bottle now, having been let out at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nobody has the ability to question or “un-know” that nuclear weapons are indiscriminate and devastating; because we have two mushroom-clouded data points, today’s planners understand the gravity of the situation better than they did in 1945. Second, another departure point is that we live in an unconstrained media age today, where just about anybody with a laptop can get in the news game. Oppositely, the Second World War was a relatively controlled era, in which governments had much more say in how and when stories broke. A case in point is that New York Times journalist William Laurence was essentially given (and handled in the release of) the story on the first atomic bomb. Modern technology makes everyone a reporter and broadcaster; yesterday’s Edward R. Murrow and Tom Brokaw regularly get scooped by today’s smartphone-wielding Jane and John Q. Public—and while this means broader coverage, it also means public panic has the potential to escalate rapidly. Third, we live in a relatively multipolar world compared to the end of World War II, when much of the world lay in ruin and the United States was in a much more dominant position. Lastly, the lethality of today’s weapons technology threatens high casualty figures in societies where nations have fewer children and seem relatively less willing to spend them at war. Another contrasting data point.

What does it all mean? Stepping back from these broad points of comparison between planning Japan’s “Downfall,” and an invasion of modern North Korea—what can we learn?

Here are some initial thoughts, from the hip, that seem like useful crossover points in thinking through such a serious undertaking. Several considerations come to mind, the first of which is to be prepared to change demands and make concessions during the endgame-bargaining stage with your opponent to achieve swifter strategic victory. For example, in Japan, the United States ultimately dropped the pursuit of an unconditional surrender in favor of allowing one condition (letting the Emperor remain), thereby avoiding a long, drawn-out fight to compel the surrender of millions of Imperial Japanese soldiers still left in the Japanese home islands and in China. Second, technology like nuclear weapons might provide a way to a cost-effective outcome, but there’s no such thing as a cost-free outcome—use of such a weapon still carried a price in that the world held the United States accountable for using a fundamentally indiscriminate weapon that killed many innocent civilians (even if most agreed with its military necessity). And, with respect to the broader issue of ethics, we must think utilitarian when considering options for situations like Japan 1945 or North Korea 2017, because no matter what, somebody’s getting hurt, it’s just a question of who and how (i.e., even doing nothing is a choice that allows continued destabilizing nuclear progress and leaves millions of North Korean citizens in de facto slavery). It is imperative we seek the best outcome that minimizes harm and maximizes benefit. Lastly, coalition assembly is required, for such an enormous operation in the Pacific makes it necessary to break beyond service and international and institutional challenges. When it’s this big, we cannot fail.

History tempts us by demonstrating that we occasionally don’t have to follow through on our planning for the hard ones (like Japan’s “Downfall”). It gets us thinking: Maybe Kim Jong Un won’t push the next button? Maybe the North Koreans will come to the table? Maybe the United States won’t have to attack North Korea?

Or, this time, we might just have to follow through. And so while it’s natural to desperately want to avoid it, it’s necessary to start thinking through a North Korean “Downfall.”

05-15-2017, 07:19 AM
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said on Monday that the missile it launched a day earlier was a new ballistic missile that can carry a large, heavy nuclear warhead, warning that the United States’ military bases in the Pacific were within its range.
North Korea launched what American officials called an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Sunday from the northwestern town of Kusong. The missile, believed to have a longer range than any other North Korean missile tested so far, landed in the sea between the North and Japan, sparking angry comments from President Trump, as well as from President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.
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The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said on Monday that the new ground-to-ground missile, Hwasong-12, hit the targeted open water 489 miles away after soaring to an altitude of 1,312 miles. The missile was launched at a deliberately high angle so it would not fall too close to a neighboring country, the news agency said.


SWJ Blog
05-28-2017, 11:41 PM
Mattis: Defeat-ISIS 'Annihilation' Campaign Accelerating, On War With N. Korea, NATO (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/mattis-defeat-isis-annihilation-campaign-accelerating-on-war-with-n-korea-nato)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/mattis-defeat-isis-annihilation-campaign-accelerating-on-war-with-n-korea-nato) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
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06-07-2017, 10:12 AM
From the UK Defence-in-Depth blog an ex-NSC staff member, Dr. Paul Miller, which takes a broad view and here is a sample:
These three challenges—a difficult and destructive conventional war; a massive and expensive post-conflict operation; and a first-rate diplomatic challenge—mean that the Second Korean War would carry the biggest stakes of any initiative in American diplomacy in generations. And that is only considering the military, strategic, and diplomatic implications of a hypothetical war. The hardest part is political.There's also the Trump effect:
And even the best and most experienced staff in the world would not be able to compensate for an erratic and unconventional President who lacks foreign policy experience and appears unwilling to adapt to the steep learning curve.Link:https://defenceindepth.co/2017/06/07/trump-v-kim-a-test-of-wills-over-the-korean-peninsula/

06-08-2017, 04:46 PM
"...assumed to be anti-ship missiles"

(CNN)North Korea fired four anti-ship missiles into the sea east of the Korean Peninsula Thursday, which the South Korean military said was intended to demonstrate its "precise targeting capability."


North Korea has launched 16 missiles in 10 tests so far in 2017, and Thursday's test was the fourth since new South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office in May.


06-08-2017, 04:48 PM
there's also the assumed trump effect (since everything the mainstream media excretes has a particular spin on it).


06-13-2017, 07:48 PM
From Rajan Menon at TomDispatch, published at War Is Boring: http://warisboring.com/avoiding-apocalypse-on-the-korean-peninsula/

Selected excerpts:

So far the coercive tactics Trump has used to compel North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program and cease testing ballistic missiles have included sanctions and asset freezes, military threats, and shows of force...

By now, this much ought to be clear, even to Trump. North Korea hasn’t been cowed into compliance by Washington’s warnings and military muscle flexing.

Clearly, the North’s leaders reject the proposition that American approval is required for them to build nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles.

Indeed, from Pyongyang’s perspective Trump may be the unpredictable one.

Many Americans know about the bombing of Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg, Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the deliberate targeting of civilians in an attempt to break their morale. But few know what happened to North Korea in the early 1950s.(edited to final passage)

In his haunting book On the Natural History of Destruction, W.G. Sebald writes that Germans did not discuss the wartime bombings because Nazi crimes made them hesitant to cast moral judgments on other states, no matter what they had done to Germany. There has been no such repression of memory or reticence by the state or the citizenry of North Korea.

06-20-2017, 02:33 PM
North Korea dreams of turning out the lights
Op-Ed originally in the WSJ, June 9th 2017

07-04-2017, 01:54 AM
North Korea launched a missile on Tuesday, with Japan saying it appeared to have landed in the Japanese exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Reuters reported.
On its website, South Korean state news agency Yonhap cited South Korea's military as saying an unidentified ballistic missile launched from a location near the North's border with China at 9:40 a.m. local time.

07-09-2017, 10:12 AM
After intensive study, Elleman, a former consultant at the Pentagon, and other specialists would report that they had detected multiple design features in the new North Korean missile engine that echo those of a 1960s-era Soviet workhorse called the RD-250*.
There is no record of Pyongyang’s obtaining blueprints for the Russian missile engine, and experts disagree on whether it ever did so. But the discovery of similarities has focused new attention on a question that has dogged U.S. analysts for at least the past two years: How has North Korea managed to make surprisingly rapid gains in its missile program, despite economic sanctions and a near-universal ban on exports of military technology to the impoverished communist state?

Lemme guess - long-since declassified hard-copy plans got pitched in a Kremlin dumpster ("Yuri, clean out this storage room. Yes, all of those file cabinets must go"). Someone trashpicked them and put them on their table at a Moscow flea market. NorK embassy flunky bought them for the equivalent of $5?:rolleyes:
* See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RD-250 & www.astronautix.com/r/rd-250.html

07-10-2017, 06:17 PM
Robert E. Kelly at the Lowy Institute (Australia): Learning to live with a Nuclear North Korean ICBM (https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/learning-live-north-korean-icbm) (July 11, 2017)

There can be no preemptive attacks on North Korea by the U.S. because South Korea and Japan would “veto” such a decision due to the retaliation from North Korea that they would face. Were the U.S. to attack without consulting South Korea and Japan, these countries would probably withdraw from their alliances with the U.S. In addition, a U.S. attack may cause a shooting war between it and China. The U.S. has “learned to live” with Russian, Chinese and Pakistani nuclear weapons...


Continued sanctions: these measures have retarded North Korea’s development of a credible nuclear deterrent capable of reaching the CONUS, and sanctions relief offers leverage if North Korea ever decides to negotiate as Iran did for the JCPOA

Working with China: given China’s decisive economic leverage over North Korea, cooperating with China is crucial. We should pressure China to do more and search for “smarter sanctions”

Missile defense: although missile defense may be “expensive”, it is necessary, and Japan and South Korea should cease “whining” and work with the U.S. to construct “layered” missile defenses including Patriot BMD, Aegis BMD and THAAD, which are “defensive systems…they signal no offensive intention”

Richard Fontaine at the Center for a New American Security: Time to Lose Your Illusions on North Korea (https://warontherocks.com/2017/07/time-to-lose-your-illusions-on-north-korea/) (July 7, 2017)

The U.S. needs to dispense with various illusions now that North Korea can theoretically strike Alaska and will probably soon have the capability to strike the CONUS with a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile:

China Will Solve It: China will not pressure North Korea into denuclearization as this could cause that state to fail and remove a convenient buffer between China and U.S. and allied forces in South Korea

South Korea and Japan Will Solve It: both countries have tolerated a direct North Korean threat for decades, and any nuclear-tipped ICBM would be targeted toward the U.S. and not them. Neither has the capability to remove the North Korean threat to them without the risk of unacceptable losses due to retaliation

North Korea can be Wooed with the Right Balance of Incentives and Disincentives: North Korea only fears foreign intervention and has reportedly cited the fates of Qaddafi and Hussein who abandoned their WMD programs. North Korea believes that a credible nuclear deterrent is is “fundamental security guarantee and will not be induced into trading them away”. A more “realistic goal is a freeze in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and, more ambitiously, some rollback of them”

Military Force Can Work: North Korea holds populations in South Korea and Japan at risk. In addition, there is no guarantee that the U.S. could secure escalation dominance and keep a war restricted to disarming North Korean nuclear and missile forces

The U.S. should pursue a strategy of deterrence based upon North Korea’s “essential rationality – or at least its survival instinct”


Missile defense

Covert action: sabotage of North Korean weapons programs

Sanctions: current sanctions on North Korea are “minor compared to those applied to Iran as it enriched uranium”. Sanctions should target the North Korean elite and those Chinese individuals and entities conducting business with them (“there is much more the U.S. can do unilaterally”)

Information warfare: bombard North Korea with information detailing the state’s human rights abuses, encourage defections and sow distrust

Trade-offs: do not appease Chinese or Russian aggression due to a myopic focus on North Korea, such as ending joint exercises with South Korea, which are essential in the event of conflict

John Nilsson-Wright at Chatham House: North Korea Missile Test Exposes How Trump Has Overplayed His Hand (https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/north-korea-missile-test-exposes-how-trump-has-overplayed-his-hand) (July 5, 2017)

Recommendation: The U.S. could dispatch a senior diplomat to negotiate with Kim Jong-Un, and offer concessions such as a U.S. liaison mission in Pyongyang and “asymmetric conventional force reductions on the peninsula”

Mark Fitzpatrick at International Institute for Strategic Studies: Could a ‘double freeze’ be viable path to peace on Korean Peninsula? (http://www.iiss.org/en/regions/north-korea/reconsider-chinas-proposal-fitzpatrick-2bf0) (July 5, 2017)

The Sino-Russian proposal for a freeze on U.S.-South Korean military exercises for a freeze in North Korean nuclear and missile tests has "upsides":

Without flight testing, North Korea cannot develop a missile reliably capable of striking the CONUS
“Most observers believe that rolling back the nuclear-weapons programme is unattainable for the time being”
Discussing the proposal is a precondition for China to participate in pressuring North Korea further
A ban on exports by North Korea of nuclear technology could be added
A freeze would involve the return of IAEA inspectors
Return to the failed 2012 “Leap Day Deal”

Loren B. Thompson at Lexington Institute: The Only Answer To North Korea’s Missiles That Won’t Make War More Likely (https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2017/07/06/the-only-answer-to-north-koreas-missiles-that-wont-make-war-more-likely/#3274233a1dca) (July 6, 2017)

It seems there is only one step the Trump administration can take that would not increase the likelihood of war and materially improve the safety of the American homeland. That step is to accelerate and expand the modest missile defense system called Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) that operates interceptors in Alaska and California.

David Santoro at Center for Strategic and International Studies: Don’t go ballistic! The least bad agenda after North Korea’s ICBM test (https://www.csis.org/analysis/pacnet-49-dont-go-ballistic-least-bad-agenda-after-north-koreas-icbm-test) (July 5, 2017)

There is no reason to think that deterring and defending against a North Korea armed with nuclear-tipped ICBMs can’t work...

Treating North Korea’s ICBM test as a game-changer is also counterproductive, for three reasons. First, that characterization suggests to Pyongyang that it is capable of deterring the United States…Second, the rhetoric of strategic game-changer suggests to Pyongyang that anything short of ICBM development is de facto acceptable, or “more” acceptable...Third, it is counterproductive to regard North Korea’s ICBM test as a game-changer because it suggests to regional allies, South Korea and Japan, that Washington only worries about North Korea when the US homeland is threatened.


Forward-deploy U.S. tactical nuclear weapons
Strengthen sanctions
Pursue dialogue with North Korea to negotiate limitations on its arsenal

Jonathan D. Pollack at Brookings Institute: North Korea has tested an ICBM. Now what? (https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/07/06/north-korea-has-tested-an-icbm-now-what/) (July 6, 2017)

Calls for preemptive military action or outsourcing the issue to China are simply not credible…At the same time, widespread calls for renewed U.S. negotiations with North Korea make little sense.

The only viable path is one that acknowledges the reality of the North’s nuclear weapons and missiles while explicitly denying any political legitimacy or implied permanence to these programs, and raises the costs to Pyongyang for its actions. We cannot expect to fully understand Pyongyang’s calculus of risk, but measures explicitly designed to heighten the pressures on the regime are essential.

07-11-2017, 12:15 PM
Pending an appropriate African thread popping up, I'll just leave this here -

North Korea’s surprising, lucrative relationship with Africa

WINDHOEK, Namibia — Near the southern tip of Africa, 8,000 miles from Pyongyang, this capital city is an unlikely testament to North Korean industry.
There’s the futuristic national history museum, the sleek presidential palace, the sprawling defense headquarters and the shadowy munitions factory. They were built — or are still being constructed — by North Korea, for a profit.

For years, North Korea has used African nations like this one as financial lifelines, building infrastructure and selling weapons and other military equipment as sanctions mounted against its authoritarian regime. Although China is by far North Korea’s largest trading partner, the smaller African revenue streams have helped support the impoverished Hermit Kingdom, even as its leaders develop an ambitious nuclear weapons program in defiance of the international community.


07-11-2017, 04:48 PM
These are the final opinions that I will be posting. Curiously, Heritage and RAND have been notably silent on how to address the July 4th "firework"...

Harry J. Kazianis from the Center for the National Interest at The Week: How America should handle the frightening North Korea problem (http://theweek.com/articles/709972/how-america-should-handle-frightening-north-korea-problem) (July 5, 2017)

Kazianis argues that a “defiant China” and “rogue North Korea” should be the top priority for the U.S., and that all other threats and issues, from Russia and Iran to the ongoing wars in the MENA region to counter-terrorism, should be secondary.

He refers to China as “the biggest foreign policy and national security dilemma of our lifetime”.


The U.S. should ensure that the Asia-Pacific region “should get the bulk of America’s attention”, rather than references to “pivots” or “rebalancing”
The U.S. should make it clear that it will penalize China for supporting North Korea, and that at the minimum, China should pressure North Korea to cease testing and release the three American hostages
More military assets need to be brought into the region, and the military expanded with more attack submarines and more missile defenses
There should be no talks with North Korea given its treatment of Warmbier and as long as it holds hostages
Crippling sanctions need to be imposed on any entities in any country transacting with North Korea

Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter on "CNN's State of the Union" (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1707/09/sotu.01.html)(July 9, 2017)

On his and former SecDef Perry's 2006 calls for a preemptive strike on North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs: "that was a very different circumstance"

On American preparedness for a North Korean nuclear attack:

Of course. Of course. We've -- we've been -- we've been at this since 1953. I personally have been at it since 1974. We have consistently improved our military capabilities. South Korea's capabilities have improved. We have deployed missile defenses, both short-range and long-range, consistently in -- in advance of what we anticipate the North Koreans will be doing, so that we always stay one step ahead of them. So, we're very prepared. But I think it's important not to take the idea of military action on the Korean Peninsula or war lightly. And this is a situation in which we need to get North Korea and China in a corner, and not put our president in a corner.

07-13-2017, 12:29 AM
The U.S. government is attempting to seize millions of dollars tied to North Korea from eight major banks after the rogue dictatorship announced on July 4 that it had developed a missile capable of reaching the United States.

Multiple newsoutlets#reported Thursday that the Justice Department has accused the banks of#processing more than#$700 million in#"prohibited" transactions since 2009.

The banks included in the court filings are#Bank of America Corp., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Standard Chartered Plc and Wells Fargo & Co.
Some transactions were processed for#Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Material Co and four other "front" companies. Prosecutors said those groups tried to evade sanctions through the transactions, which would benefit North Korea's military and weapons programs.

07-15-2017, 09:30 PM
John Schilling: What is True and Not True About North Korea’s Hwasong-14 ICBM: A Technical Evaluation (http://www.38north.org/2017/07/jschilling071017/) (July 10, 2017)


After the frenzy of technical speculation over the successful launch of North Korea’s Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the dust seems to be clearing and the emerging reality is that the North has an unreliable missile that can reach Alaska or Hawaii with a single nuclear warhead, and would be lucky to hit even a city-sized target. However, with a year or two of additional testing and development, it will likely become a missile that can reliably deliver a single nuclear warhead to targets along the US west coast, possibly with enough accuracy to destroy soft military targets like naval bases. In perhaps five years, North Korea may be able to incorporate a modest suite of decoys and penetration aids to challenge US missile defenses. Let’s hope US missile defenses are up to that challenge.

The Hwasong-14 cannot carry multiple warheads or penetration aids at present, but probably will be able to carry the latter in several years. Multiple warheads would require at least a decade of nuclear and other tests to achieve

The Hwasong-14 is new, but is based upon several previous North Korean missile designs, including the older Hwasong-12 and 13

It can deliver a 500-600 kg nuclear payload with limited accuracy (similar to a U.S. Atlas and Thor ICBM) to targets on the U.S. west coast, with a CEP of a few miles

More concerning than future MIRV possibilities are decoys and penetration aids to defeat U.S. missile defenses, which currently only work half the time during tests

Although North Korea cannot built more ICBMs than U.S. interceptors, they can maintain a credible deterrent with a dozen decoys per ICBM
North Korea will probably try to imitate the UK’s Chevaline Program from the early 1970s, albeit while settling for less decoys per missile

Various: North Korea’s Yongbyon Facility: Probable Production of Additional Plutonium for Nuclear Weapons (http://www.38north.org/2017/07/yongbyon071417/) (July 14, 2017)


Thermal imagery analysis of the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center indicates that from September 2016 through June 2017:

The Radiochemical Laboratory operated intermittently and there have apparently been at least two unreported reprocessing campaigns to produce an undetermined amount of plutonium that can further increase North Korea’s nuclear weapons stockpile. This suggests batch rather than continuous processing of spent fuel rods from the 5 MWe Reactor during the period of analysis.

Increased thermal activity was noted at the Uranium Enrichment Facility. It is unclear if this was the result of centrifuge operations or maintenance operations. Centrifuge operations would increase the North’s enriched uranium inventory; however, based on imagery alone, it is not possible to conclude whether the plant is producing low or highly enriched uranium.
The thermal patterns at the probable Isotope/Tritium Production Facility have remained consistent, suggesting that the facility is not operational, or is operating at a very low level. This means, the facility is likely not producing tritium, which is an essential isotope used in the production of boosted yield nuclear weapons and hydrogen bombs.

From December 2016 through January 2017, the thermal pattern over the Experimental Light Water Reactor (ELWR) was elevated. While that might indicate that the reactor was operational, the likelihood is low since the pattern does not appear in subsequent imagery over the last six months. It is possible that there are alternative explanations for the elevated pattern, for example, short-term activity at the ELWR such as the heating of pipes to prevent freezing. Regardless, any activity at the ELWR is cause for concern and bears continued monitoring.

The 5 MWe Reactor has either been intermittently operating at a low-level or not operating. The notable exception to this was during December 2016 and January 2017 when thermal patterns suggests a higher level of operations.

08-01-2017, 08:42 AM
Washington (CNN)The US military has detected "highly unusual and unprecedented levels" of North Korean submarine activity and evidence of an "ejection test" in the days following Pyongyang's second intercontinental ballistic missile launch this month, a defense official told CNN on Monday.
An ejection test examines a missile's "cold-launch system," which uses high pressure steam to propel a missile out of the launch canister into the air before its engines ignite. That helps prevent flames and heat from the engine from damaging either the submarine, submersible barge or any nearby equipment used to launch the missile.
Carried out on land at Sinpo Naval Shipyard, Sunday's ejection test is the third time this month -- and fourth this year -- that North Korea has conducted a trial of the missile component that is critical to developing submarine launch capabilities, according to the US defense official.


08-08-2017, 05:21 PM
From The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korea-now-making-missile-ready-nuclear-weapons-us-analysts-say/2017/08/08/e14b882a-7b6b-11e7-9d08-b79f191668ed_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_nkorea-1212p%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.c9578fd409ad


North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.

The new analysis completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The U.S. calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts believe the number of bombs is much smaller.

The findings are likely to deepen concerns about an evolving North Korean military threat that appears to be advancing far more rapidly than many experts had predicted. U.S. officials last month concluded that Pyongyang is also outpacing expectations in its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking cities on the American mainland.

08-14-2017, 07:33 PM
In Post 61 in JUly 2017, citing Michael Ellerman, ex-DoD and now IISS, amidst the linked report were two passages:
Elleman, the former Pentagon missile expert, believes that North Korea’s newest missile engine has a similar past. The designs were most likely obtained years ago, through rogue scientists or on the black market, only to surface recently as part of a newly energized missile program.Elleman is preparing to publish an analysis comparing the engine used in the Hwasong-12 and Hwasong-14 with the Soviet-era RD-250, using photos that highlight nearly identical features, including cooling tubes, exhaust nozzles and the four auxiliary engines that steer the rocket.
Today IISS has circulated a short online commentary by Mr Ellerman, that starts with:
North Korea’s missile programme has made astounding strides over the past two years. An arsenal that had been based on short- and medium-range missiles along with an intermediate-range Musudan that repeatedly failed flight tests, has suddenly been supplemented by two new missiles: the intermediate-range Hwasong-12 and the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Hwasong-14. No other country has transitioned from a medium-range capability to an ICBM in such a short time. What explains this rapid progression? The answer is simple. North Korea has acquired a high-performance liquid-propellant engine (LPE) from a foreign source.
Available evidence clearly indicates that the LPE is based on the Soviet RD-250 family of engines, and has been modified to operate as the boosting force for the Hwasong-12 and -14. An unknown number of these engines were probably acquired though illicit channels operating in Russia and/or Ukraine. North Korea’s need for an alternative to the failing Musudan and the recent appearance of the RD-250 engine along with other evidence, suggests the transfers occurred within the past two years.

08-16-2017, 10:15 AM
Ukraine has responded to the allegations of involvement in assisting DPRK's missile engine development.

08-16-2017, 10:21 AM
A regular SME visitor to South Korea (ROK) reports and starts with:
Donald Trump’s war of words with Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea has dominated the international news cycle for the last several weeks. Yet here in South Korea if you didn’t turn on the news channels, you wouldn’t know it. There is no public panic. There are no obvious signs of intensified military activity. Daily routines remain unchanged.
(Later) In terms of the ebb and flow of civilian life in the South, the present crisis feels little different to previous episodes.

08-17-2017, 03:33 PM
Ukrainian-made rocket engines could have been copied for use in North Korea’s missile program, but Ukrainian experts didn’t help Pyongyang, says Alexander Degtyarev, a chief designer at Yuzhmash, the Ukrainian state-owned rocket factory recently implicated in an article by The New York Times.
Degtyarev also recalled the 2012 espionage trial against two North Korean spies, who were sentenced to eight years in prison for trying to steal secrets from Yuzhmash. The factory manufactures the Russian-designed RD-250 engine, which The New York Times says may have reached North Korea from Ukraine.
Earlier, Yuzhmash issued a press statement arguing in detail why its engines aren’t being used in North Korea, claiming that the North Korean engines described in The New York Times’ story are unlike the RD-250.

08-30-2017, 11:40 AM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile over Japan could increase pressure on Washington to consider shooting down future test launches, although there is no guarantee of success and U.S. officials are wary of a dangerous escalation with Pyongyang.
More attention is likely to focus on the prospects for intercepting a missile in flight after North Korea on Tuesday conducted one of its boldest missile tests in years, one government official said.
Such a decision would not be taken lightly given tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
And while President Donald Trump has repeatedly vowed that “all options are on the table”, there has been no sign of any quick policy shift in Washington toward direct U.S. military action.
But Pyongyang’s launch of an intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missile over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island underscored how Trump’s tough rhetoric, pursuit of sanctions and occasional shows of military force around the Korean peninsula have done little to deter North Korea’s leader.


08-30-2017, 11:43 AM
Meanwhile, WaPo spins predictably.

North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan was unprecedented, but President Trump’s response Tuesday was not — a renewal of his warning that “all options are on the table.” His tough talk may only serve to remind that the possibility of military action has not yet deterred North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The missile launch seemed designed to wreak just the right amount of havoc: enough for Kim to show that he would not be cowed but not so much as to invite the “fire and fury” that Trump warned could follow continued North Korean threats.
The launch early Tuesday was the first test of such a sophisticated weapon over the landmass of a U.S. ally and an obvious warning to the United States that North Korea could easily target U.S. military facilities on Guam or elsewhere in the Pacific region.


09-04-2017, 03:09 PM
HONG KONG — One day after its latest nuclear test, North Korea appears to be making preparations to launch a ballistic missile, a South Korean official said Monday.
South Korea’s military has observed the preparations for a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile test, Chang Kyung-soo, a South Korean Defense Ministry official, told lawmakers, The Associated Press reported.
On Sunday, North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test, its most powerful by far. The underground blast triggered a magnitude 6.3 tremor centered at the testing site in the country’s northeast, the United States Geological Survey said. It was followed by a weaker tremor believed to have been the result of a collapse in the testing site.
The nuclear test followed threats against the American territory of Guam and weeks of missile tests, including launches demonstrating that North Korea had the capability to reach much of the United States.


09-07-2017, 06:32 PM
Nothing like a "cold shower", an IISS commentary available via the newly discovered Survival Editor's Blog:http://www.iiss.org/en/politics%20and%20strategy/blogsections/2017-6dda/september-87a1/the-problem-with-a-north-korean-oil-embargo-883b

It ends with:
North Korea imports Chinese oil for the same reason that Germany imports Russian gas: because it is convenient (that is, economical) to do so. Would it be good news for North Korea if the oil stopped flowing? No. Is it likely to cripple the economy and force the government to change course on their foremost strategic priority? No. There are ample hydrocarbons in North Korea to substitute for those it imports from China, though maybe not 100% overnight. Overcoming Chinese opposition to an oil embargo, in other words, is unlikely to solve the larger problem.

09-15-2017, 02:10 PM
North Korea has fired a ballistic missile across Japan, creating new tension in the region after its nuclear bomb test less than two weeks ago.
The missile reached an altitude of about 770km (478 miles), travelling 3,700km before landing in the sea off Hokkaido, South Korea's military says.
It flew higher and further than one fired over Japan late last month.


SWJ Blog
09-26-2017, 03:12 PM
Five Decades Analyzing North Korea and the Bomb: A 'Foreign Affairs' Anthology (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/five-decades-analyzing-north-korea-and-the-bomb-a-foreign-affairs-anthology)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/five-decades-analyzing-north-korea-and-the-bomb-a-foreign-affairs-anthology) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

SWJ Blog
09-28-2017, 02:33 PM
Chinese Approaches to Contingency Planning in a Collapsed North Korea (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/chinese-approaches-to-contingency-planning-in-a-collapsed-north-korea)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/chinese-approaches-to-contingency-planning-in-a-collapsed-north-korea) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

10-02-2017, 12:28 PM
Last August, a secret message was passed from Washington to Cairo warning about a mysterious vessel steaming toward the Suez Canal. The bulk freighter named Jie Shun was flying Cambodian colors but had sailed from North Korea, the warning said, with a North Korean crew and an unknown cargo shrouded by heavy tarps.
Armed with this tip, customs agents were waiting when the ship entered Egyptian waters. They swarmed the vessel and discovered, concealed under bins of iron ore, a cache of more than 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades. It was, as a United Nations report later concluded, the “largest seizure of ammunition in the history of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
But who were the rockets for? The Jie Shun’s final secret would take months to resolve and would yield perhaps the biggest surprise of all: The buyers were the Egyptians themselves.


SWJ Blog
10-03-2017, 11:30 AM
Why We Are Where We Are With North Korea - And Where Do We Go From Here? (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/why-we-are-where-we-are-with-north-korea-and-where-do-we-go-from-here)

Entry Excerpt:

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Bill Moore
10-07-2017, 09:18 AM
CRS Report for Congress
North Korea Provocative Actions 1950-2007


36 pages, covers numerous incidents, including the 31 man commando unit that almost assassinated the ROK President in Seoul in 1968; North Korea attempt to kidnap a ROK couple in Belgrade in 1977; a success kidnapping operation of a ROK Actress and her film-director husband in Hong Kong in 1978; the 1983 bombing in Burma in an attempt to kill the ROK President; two North Korea agents planted a bomb on a Korea Airlines 707 in 1987 killing all aboard in an attempt to stop the 1988 Olympics being held in South Korea; and 2006 they conduct their first nuclear weapon test. A lot more in the study.

10-08-2017, 10:02 PM
CRS Report for Congress
North Korea Provocative Actions 1950-2007


36 pages, covers numerous incidents, including the 31 man commando unit that almost assassinated the ROK President in Seoul in 1968; North Korea attempt to kidnap a ROK couple in Belgrade in 1977; a success kidnapping operation of a ROK Actress and her film-director husband in Hong Kong in 1978; the 1983 bombing in Burma in an attempt to kill the ROK President; two North Korea agents planted a bomb on a Korea Airlines 707 in 1987 killing all aboard in an attempt to stop the 1988 Olympics being held in South Korea; and 2006 they conduct their first nuclear weapon test. A lot more in the study.


I have been asking CRS to update this report for years but there has been not request from Congress to do so. Here is another resource on provocations in the past 25 years from CSIS' Beyond Parallel that you might find useful. https://beyondparallel.csis.org/25-years-of-negotiations-provocations/

10-10-2017, 05:42 PM
Call you smell what SECDEF Mattis has brewing? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES1PLql-lGM)

America’s relationship with North Korea remains a diplomatic one, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Monday, but he urged members of the military to be prepared in case the situation breaks down.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean hackers stole a vast cache of data, including classified wartime contingency plans jointly drawn by Washington and Seoul, when they breached the computer network of the South Korean military last year, a South Korean lawmaker said Tuesday.

10-11-2017, 09:21 AM
WASHINGTON — The cybersecurity company FireEye says in a new report to private clients, obtained exclusively by NBC News, that hackers linked to North Korea recently targeted U.S. electric power companies with spearphishing emails.
The emails used fake invitations to a fundraiser to target victims, FireEye said. A victim who downloaded the invitation attached to the email would also be downloading malware into his or her computer network, according to the FireEye report. The company did not dispute NBC's characterization of the report, but declined to comment.
There is no evidence that the hacking attempts were successful, but FireEye assessed that the targeting of electric utilities could be related to increasing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, potentially foreshadowing a disruptive cyberattack.


10-12-2017, 12:46 AM
Please feel free to comment and critique...My thesis is that North Korea's WMD capabilities and conventional Seoul-threatening artillery can both be knocked out.

1. Washington confers with Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo and presents a plan to launch a disarming conventional first strike on North Korea with the objective of eliminating its CBRN and particularly nuclear capabilities. Secondary objectives would be minimizing casualties in general, protecting the region from North Korean retaliation and deterring or if necessary winning a full-scale Second Korean War. Neither regime change nor unification will be part of the objectives, in order to allay Sino-South Korean concerns, however, all parties will be required to contribute to the humanitarian aid required in the aftermath of the operation.

2. In order to prevent North Korean observance of attack preparations, the U.S. and South Korea will rely upon forces already in-theater or which are non-observable. The strike will solely be conducted with standoff (TLAM, JASSM-ER) and stealth (B-2) weapons. The assets will include US attack and cruise missile submarines already operating in the Pacific as well as strategic bombers already allocated to the Pacific as part of the "Pivot" (60%). These assets can reasonably be expected to bring 1,400 to 1,900 land-attack cruise missiles (or their equivalent in Mk 84 bombs via B-2s) into the theater. The U.S. Navy alone has 3,500 TLAMs stockpiled.

3. Follow-on forces, including the Carrier Strike Group in Japan, can be moved into position if necessary.

4. At zero hour, U.S. and ROK artillery along the DMZ open up on the 200-500 HARTS in North Korea to suppress any (counter)battery fire against allied forces or countervalue targets in and around Seoul. At the same time, cruise missiles begin striking the 350-430 SAM sites in North Korea, with an emphasis on C4ISR. B-2s can be applied where necessary, and possibly also against airbases hosting MiG-29 fighters. In addition, there are some 165-210 ballistic missiles on TELs that will need to be struck, as well as 35 to 60 CBRN facilities where WMDs could be mated to delivery systems. All in all, the target set for the strike would range from 750 to 1,200 discrete targets, of which U.S./ROK artillery in situ could tackle 200-500 of. Once the IADS is destroyed, the ROKAF/USAF can begin overflying North Korean airspace, and the forward-deployed USN CAW can also come into the picture.

5. Following this major strike and assuming that the operation is successful, it will be essential to prevent a North Korean conventional retaliatory invasion. The Allies will have to communicate their limited intentions to Pyongyang, but also to the DPRK forces along the DMZ, and airdrops of leaflets, medical supplies and food will go a long way. At this point, China could also intervene to stabilize North Korea by promising protection from a ground invasion and providing humanitarian aid.

6. If this sounds difficult: it is. But so too was Operation Desert Storm, and this is just as doable.

Sources include:

My matrix: 5354

Roger Cavazos, "Mind the Gap Between Rhetoric and Reality" (https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-special-reports/mind-the-gap-between-rhetoric-and-reality/), NAPSNet Special Reports, June 26, 2012,

10-14-2017, 11:48 PM
Desert Storm is definitely the model, I would add that affecting the power grid in such a way as to deny use to NoK military until end of war and then return as close to full power as possible would be a critical requirement. Otherwise the follow on humanitarian disaster would begin to nullify the victory political benefits.

SWJ Blog
10-18-2017, 04:31 AM
The Korea Crisis: When Human Politics Apes That of Chimps (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/the-korea-crisis-when-human-politics-apes-that-of-chimps)

Entry Excerpt:

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This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

10-22-2017, 11:05 AM
The notion of Chinese power over the North — that the countries are as "close as lips and teeth," according to a cliche recorded in the 3rd century — is so tantalizing that Donald Trump has spent a good part of his young presidency playing it up.
The reality, however, is that the complicated, often exasperating, relationship is less about friendship or political bonds than a deep and mutually uneasy dependency. Nominally allies, the neighbors operate in a near constant state of tension, a mix of ancient distrust and dislike and the grating knowledge that they are inextricably tangled up with each other, however much they might chafe against it.
This matters because if China is not the solution to the nuclear crisis, then outsiders long sold on the idea must recalibrate their efforts as North Korea approaches a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, something the CIA chief this week estimated as only a matter of months away.


10-22-2017, 11:19 AM
Desert Storm is definitely the model, I would add that affecting the power grid in such a way as to deny use to NoK military until end of war and then return as close to full power as possible would be a critical requirement. Otherwise the follow on humanitarian disaster would begin to nullify the victory political benefits.

*Indicator* (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSbPqin3L6E)

WASHINGTON#— President Trump signed an executive order Friday allowing the Air Force to recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots to active duty to address a shortage in combat fliers, the White House and Pentagon announced.

10-23-2017, 08:37 PM
*Indicator* (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSbPqin3L6E)


The U.S. Air Force is preparing to place its fleet of nuclear-armed B-52 bombers on 24-hour alert for the first time since 1991 amid escalating tensions with North Korea, the military branch's chief of staff said in a report Sunday.
Defense officials denied to Fox News that bombers were ordered to go on 24-hour alert, but#Gen. David Goldfein told Defense One#it could happen.

10-23-2017, 11:27 PM
*Indicator* (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSbPqin3L6E)



10-31-2017, 01:07 PM
This country is like a real-life Horror movie. I expect to post articles about satellite images of giant glowing NorK turtles next.

Japanese media reports 200 North Koreans died in a tunnel collapse at their nuclear test site.
In September, North Korea tested a powerful nuclear weapon that experts say rocked the mountain and made it unstable.
If the test site is totally compromised, the hazardous radioactive material could spread across the region.
After North Korea's most powerful ever nuclear test underground at Punggye-ri in the country's northeast, Japan's TV Asahi reports that up to 200 have been killed in a tunnel collapse.'


10-31-2017, 06:22 PM
Recently, the Congressional Research Service produced a report, providing 7 military options for Congress to consider (https://fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R44994.pdf):

1. Maintain Military Status Quo

This was the joint US-ROK policy from 2009 through 2016, often referred to as “strategic patience”. Since 2017, the priority level of the DPRK threat has been raised and US officials have openly discussed the possibility of preventive strikes against the DPRK

2. Enhanced Containment and Deterrence

Forward-deploying more forces to the region and prepositioning equipment
Enhanced missile defenses e.g. THAAD, Aegis BMD

3. Deny DPRK Acquisition of Delivery Systems Capable of Threatening CONUS

Reduce emphasis on de-nuclearization and focus on delivery systems, especially nuclear-tipped ICBMs
The US BMD could attempt to shoot down future S/M/IRBM launches to disrupt DPRK testing
DPRK missile tests are specifically prohibited by various UNSC resolutions

4. Destroy ICBM Facilities and Launch Pads

Similar to Option 3 in focus
Involves airstrikes and cruise missile attacks, and possibly US and ROK SOFs

5. Destroy DPRK Nuclear Facilities

A more expansive variant of Option 4

6. DPRK Regime Change

7. Withdraw US Forces from ROK

In an earlier post on this thread, I had argued for a variant of Option 5, which would also involve the destruction of conventional DPRK artillery/missiles targeting Seoul for a mass casualty retaliation.

Unfortunately, the CRS relies upon DPRK conventional military data from 2015, and it also ignores various risks of not attacking, namely:

1. At what point will the DPRK halt its nuclear weapon production? At 50 fusion warheads? 100? 200? 300? If the DPRK arsenal becomes too formidable, it will force China to increase its "minimum credible deterrent", which will have follow-on effects on the US-Russia-China strategic balance in East Asia, as well as New START.

2. Any enhancements to ballistic missile defense will be met with suspicion by China and Russia, and provoke strategic competition (as noted above).

3. The DPRK state is inherently unstable due to the personal rule of KJU. What if it fractures or fails of its own accord? Will KJU be able to control his growing nuclear arsenal? What if you have ex-officers and officials as nuclear-armed warlords?

4. Any toleration of the DPRK as a nuclear power means that it becomes "too nuclear to fail", and therefore any attempt to undermine it - from sanctions to diplomatic isolation - will be seen as risky.

5. Any toleration also sends a signal to Iran, Sudan and others that nuclear faits accompli can work against the US.

11-07-2017, 02:03 PM
Parallel reading / Indicator #2

Reading music gratis (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BmEGm-mraE)

11-09-2017, 11:53 AM
This country is like a real-life Horror movie. I expect to post articles about satellite images of giant glowing NorK turtles next.

To wit

Disturbing reports have emerged from North Korea#stating that the country's nuclear program has had a crippling effect on nationals who live near a major testing site.
The Research Association of Vision of North Korea spoke with 21 defectors from#Kilju, a town near the Punngye-ri nuclear test site where six tests have been conducted, according to South Korean#newspaper#Chosun Ilbo.
The group painted an extremely bleak picture of the current state of the region, claiming that about 80 percent of trees planted in the city die and that all of their underground wells have run dry due to nuclear activity.
"I heard from a relative in Kilju that deformed babies were born in hospitals there," one defector told the paper.


11-17-2017, 02:11 PM
According to the website 38 North—a program from the U.S Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies—satellite imagery of the Sinpo South Shipyard on the country’s east coast, taken on November 5, shows the movement of parts and components, including sections of a submarine’s pressure hull in the yards adjacent to construction halls, which suggests that the SINPO-C ballistic missile submarine might be under construction.

11-17-2017, 09:12 PM
This country is like a real-life Horror movie. I expect to post articles about satellite images of giant glowing NorK turtles next.

You laughed when I first posted that, didn't you Peanut Gallery?

More from the country that takes most of it's operational cues from old John Carpenter movies.

On Monday, a North Korean soldier was shot six times by his former comrades as he attempted to make an escape through the Korean Demilitarized Zone and defect to the South. While recovering from his injuries in a South Korean hospital, doctors discovered his intestines were riddled with large and unusual parasites, providing a rare insight into the nutrition, health, and everyday life of North Koreans.
“In my over 20-year-long career as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a textbook,” lead surgeon Lee Cook-jong said in a press briefing on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

11-18-2017, 10:56 AM
There is a discussion underway on North Korea following this Journal article:http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/the-strategic-implications-of-america%E2%80%99s-coming-choice-on-the-korean-peninsula

Added for reference.;)

11-24-2017, 10:48 PM
Caveat: source is a VOX writer.

But experts say there are also mundane reasons why North Korea isn’t launching right now: the weather in North Korea is hostile during the winter, which makes it harder to test missiles, and North Korean troops are too busy harvesting food to eat.
All of which means North Korea’s decision not to launch any missiles in recent weeks isn’t a sign of a sudden change of heart in Pyongyang. Instead, it could be sign that Kim is prepared to move closer to the brink of all-out confrontation with the US.


11-28-2017, 07:48 PM
Washington (CNN)North Korea fired a ballistic missile early Wednesday local time, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.
CNN confirmed the launch with the South Korean military leaders who said it was still flying.
"North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile early this morning from Pyongsong, South Pyongan, to the east direction. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff is analyzing more details of the missile with the US side," said an official at South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the South Korean military carried out a "precision missile strike drill" just minutes after North Korea's missile launch.

The precision missile strike matched the flight distance of the North Korean missile, and landed in waters off the east coast of South Korea.
The US military has also confirmed that there was a probable missile launch from North Korea.


11-29-2017, 11:55 AM
1. Rhetorical: Who gave them the technology for this great leap forward?

Washington (CNN)North Korea claims to have successfully tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile, topped with a "super-large heavy warhead," which is capable of striking the US mainland.

The country's state media made the announcement Wednesday, hours after leader Kim Jong Un ordered the 3 a.m. launch of the Hwasong-15 missile, which reached the highest altitude ever recorded by a North Korean missile.
State news agency KCNA called its so-called new missile "the most powerful ICBM" and said it "meets the goal of the completion of the rocket weaponry system development.

After the launch, Kim said North Korea had "finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force," according to KCNA.


11-29-2017, 06:46 PM
1. Rhetorical: Who gave them the technology for this great leap forward?


They've had plenty of time to do it themselves, and put all of their resources into it. It is, after all, a more than 50-year old technology...

11-29-2017, 09:43 PM
Interview of LTG Steven Kwast former Air University Commander. Good faith Warning I met General Kwast while attending a class at Colonel Warden's office with some really smart Air Force guys. Key take away from General Kawst we don't have to whine and complain about the problems facing USA, we have options to win but we must make choices and design a game we can win!

Oh yea those are Army jump school wings on his chest! All the way, Sir!!


12-01-2017, 07:49 PM
A fascinating article from 'The Diplomat' which is sub-titled:
What a public feud between two academics tells us about Beijing’s approach to North Korea.
(Near the end) The dispute between Jia and Zhu is revealing in that it suggests that the once red line of what is acceptable to say or not to say has been steadily redrawn, allowing a broader public debate over China’s North Korean policy.

12-03-2017, 07:11 PM
They've had plenty of time to do it themselves, and put all of their resources into it. It is, after all, a more than 50-year old technology...

They've also had the means, motive and opportunity to acquire it from elsewhere.

If there are complicit parties outside of NK, they need to be hunted down and dealt with appropriately.

12-03-2017, 07:13 PM
This country is like a real-life Horror movie. I expect to post articles about satellite images of giant glowing NorK turtles next.

Next scene -

SEOUL, South Korea — Defectors who lived near North Korea’s nuclear testing site say they believe they are suffering from exposure to radiation and fear for the health of family members still living there.
Standing about 5 feet tall, Lee Jeong Hwa walks with a slight limp. Middle-aged with an ashen gray complexion and deep-set dark brown eyes, Lee says she's in constant pain.
But back home, things are much worse, she says.
"So many people died we began calling it 'ghost disease,'" she said. "We thought we were dying because we were poor and we ate badly. Now we know it was the radiation."

12-03-2017, 07:14 PM
South Korea is making sure North Korea doesn’t forget about the regime’s soldier who defected to the South in a daring escape earlier this month -- by blasting updates about the defector’s health through its military’s loudspeakers at the Demilitarized Zone, a report said on Sunday.
South Korean troops broadcasted an update on Sunday about the North Korean soldier’s “nutritive conditions,” taking a hit at the Hermit Kingdom’s alleged health issues, Yonhap News Agency reported. The broadcasts are reportedly so loud that people within 12.4 miles from the DMZ are able to hear it.


12-03-2017, 08:48 PM
North Korea lambasted the U.S. and South Korea on Sunday for bringing the countries to the “brink of a nuclear war” a day before the allies begin a joint military drill in a defiant show of force against Kim Jong Un less than a week after the regime launched an intercontinental ballistic missile.
North Korea’s state-run newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, wrote in a commentary Sunday the upcoming military drill is an “all out provocation against” the rogue nation that “may lead to a nuclear war at any moment.”


12-03-2017, 08:56 PM
North Korea can make a nuclear bomb and has an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. If it launches such a missile, the United States has a $40 billion system designed to destroy the bomb in space.
What’s unknown is whether it will succeed.




Beware the dreaded Juche Bird! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwoSFQb5HVk)

Juche Bird would explode a nuclear bomb over the ocean, with a missile flying further than Kim’s weapons ever have done before.

12-04-2017, 10:11 PM
Doesn't sound 'successful' to me.

Cathay Pacific not changing routes despite crew’s suspected sighting of North Korean missile test

Airline confirms that crew on CX893 reported incident on November 29, though flight operations were unaffected

In a message on a staff online communication platform, the airline’s general manager of operations Mark Hoey, also a former 747 chief pilot, said: “Today [November 29] the crew of CX893 reported, ‘Be advised, we witnessed the DPRK missile blow up and fall apart near our current location. We advised ATC [air traffic control] and ops [operations] normal. Just letting you know’. Looking at the actual plots, CX096 might have been the closest, at a few hundred miles laterally.”


12-17-2017, 08:25 AM
SYDNEY — A Sydney man has been charged with acting as an agent for North Korea in Australia by allegedly attempting to broker sales for Pyongyang including components used in ballistic missiles.
The Australian Federal Police say the 59-year-old naturalized Australian used encrypted communication to broker sales and discuss the supply of weapons of mass destruction.
Police say the man was generating tens of millions of dollars for Pyongyang by arranging the sale of missiles, componentry and expertise from North Korea to other international entities, and was trying to arrange the transfer of coal from the country to Indonesia and Vietnam.
He's the first person charged under Australia's Weapons of Mass Destruction Act and faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence.


12-17-2017, 09:35 AM
Washington (CNN)Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Friday he does not believe that North Korea's current intercontinental ballistic missiles are capable of hitting the continental US.
North Korea's November ICBM "has not yet shown to be a capable threat against us right now," Mattis said during an off-camera briefing with reporters at the Pentagon on Friday. He added that the United States is still assessing the situation. "We are still examining the forensics, we're still doing the forensics analysis, it takes a while," he said.

12-17-2017, 05:59 PM
A North Korean official widely deemed as the nation’s second most powerful figure has been missing for some time, raising speculation that he has been executed.
The apparent disappearance of Vice Marshal Hwang Pyong-so was first reported in November, with South Korea’s National Intelligence Service telling lawmakers in Seoul that he’d been “punished” for having an “impure” attitude about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.


12-21-2017, 05:34 PM
The US is preparing plans to deliver a “bloody nose” attack against North Korea to knock out its nuclear weapons program.
The White House has “dramatically” ramped up its military plans amid fears that diplomacy won’t thwart North Korean despot Kim Jong Un from making good on his threats, sources told the UK’s Telegraph.
One option is destroying a launch site before the rogue regime uses it for a new missile test, while another is targeting weapons stockpiles, according to the news outlet.


12-23-2017, 03:06 AM
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — “Storm clouds are gathering” over the Korean Peninsula, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declared Friday. And as diplomats try to resolve the nuclear standoff, he told soldiers that the U.S. military must do its part by being ready for war.
Without forecasting a conflict, Mattis emphasized that diplomacy stands the best chance of preventing a war if America’s words are backed up by strong and prepared armed forces.


12-26-2017, 11:48 PM
U.S. reconnaissance satellites have spotted Chinese ships selling oil to North Korean vessels on the West Sea around 30 times since October.
According to South Korean government sources, the satellites have pictured large Chinese and North Korean ships illegally trading in oil in a part of the West Sea closer to China than South Korea.
The satellite pictures even show the names of the ships.

The U.S. Treasury Department placed six North Korean shipping and trading companies and 20 of their ships on sanctions list on Nov. 21, when it published spy satellite images taken on Oct. 19 showing a ship named Ryesonggang 1 connected to a Chinese vessel.

Track that scow from the comfort of your own chair

12-28-2017, 09:56 AM
1. Rhetorical: Who gave them the technology for this great leap forward?

They've also had the means, motive and opportunity to acquire it from elsewhere.

If there are complicit parties outside of NK, they need to be hunted down and dealt with appropriately.

WAPO: Documents shed light on North Korea’s startling gains in sea-based missile technology

A few months after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a group of American investors and Russian scientists struck a deal to begin marketing one of the crown jewels of Moscow’s strategic arsenal: an entire family of missiles designed for launch from submarines.
Up for sale were powerful missiles called “Calm” and “Ripple,” built to lob heavy warheads into space from a barge or a submarine tube, and a new model called “Surf” that could be rolled off the side of a ship and fired straight out of the water. The idea of the joint venture, as one of its U.S. partners wrote in early 1993, was to link American satellite companies to a top Russian weapons laboratory to “convert potentially threatening submarine missiles into peaceful space boosters.”

The Americans quickly ran aground on a series of legal and bureaucratic barriers, but the Russians forged ahead with a new partner willing to pay cash for Soviet military technology: North Korea. More than two decades later, some of the Soviet designs are reappearing, one after another, in surprisingly sophisticated missiles that have turned up on North Korean launchpads over the past two years. Now, newly uncovered documents offer fresh clues about the possible origins of those technical advances, some of which seemed to outside observers to have come from nowhere.


The documents from the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau include marketing brochures for an array of top-of-the-line Soviet missiles that were able to deliver nuclear warheads to U.S. cities. Initially designed for the Soviet navy’s nuclear submarines, some of the models offered for sale could be launched from a large boat (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=200428&postcount=5), a submerged barge, or a capsule dropped into the ocean, negating the need for a modern submarine fleet.

The fact that it has taken Pyongyang so long to exploit the Russian designs is perplexing, but North Korea had long lacked the sophisticated materials, engineering expertise and computer-driven machine tools for the kinds of advanced missiles it has recently tested, weapons experts say. With an industrial base enhanced by years of slow, patient acquisition efforts, North Korea is only now in a position to capitalize on technology it had been sitting on for years or even decades, analysts say.
“North Korea was just recently able to acquire machine tools that were state-of-the-art in the 1990s, meaning they are still damn good machine tools,” Wright said. “Once you have the plans, and are able to get your hands on the materials and the right kinds of tools, you have a real leg up.”

12-29-2017, 04:33 PM
A North Korean nuclear researcher who fled to China committed suicide after being captured and returned to North Korea, Radio Free Asia reports. The man, who led a research team at Pyongyang’s State Academy of Sciences, reportedly took a leave of absence this year and disappeared across the China border. He was later captured with a group of North Korean defectors in Shenyang city, China, on Nov. 4, and returned to North Korea on Nov. 17. He took poison within hours of being placed in solitary confinement. It is unclear how he was able to get access to the poison in the North Korea lockup.


12-30-2017, 07:20 AM
The reported discovery of anthrax antibodies in a North Korean defector is renewing fears that the regime of Kim Jong Un is developing lethal biological weapons in violation of international law.
A South Korean intelligence officer told that nation's Channel A television that one of at least four soldiers who defected from the North this year had the antibodies in his system. Senior defense analyst Shin Jong Woo said the anthrax vaccine is probably given to North Korean soldiers working on biological weapons projects.


Historical reminder.

Ustinov had been doing basic military research on the Marburg virus, studying its potential as a weapon. The long-term goal was to see if it could be loaded into special biological warheads on the MIRV missiles that were aimed at the United States. (A MIRV has multiple warheads, which are directed at different targets.) At the time, the Soviet biological missile warheads were designed to be loaded with strategic/operational smallpox virus, Black Death, and anthrax.

See also http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/anthrax-genome-reveals-secrets-about-soviet-bioweapons-accident
and https://arstechnica.com/science/2016/11/decades-after-deadly-lab-accident-a-secret-russian-bioweapon-decoded/

12-30-2017, 07:26 AM
LONDON/MOSCOW - Russian tankers have supplied fuel to North Korea on at least three occasions in recent months by transferring cargoes at sea, according to two senior Western European security sources, providing an economic lifeline to the secretive Communist state.


01-01-2018, 06:41 PM
SEOUL (Reuters) - Kim Jong Un on Monday warned the United States he has a "nuclear button" on his desk ready for use if North Korea is threatened, but offered an olive branch to South Korea, saying he was "open to dialogue" with Seoul.
After a year dominated by fiery rhetoric and escalating tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, Kim used his televised New Year's Day speech to declare North Korea "a peace-loving and responsible nuclear power" and call for lower military tensions and improved ties with the South.


01-02-2018, 02:23 PM
To the outside world, North Korean propaganda posters are notorious for their militaristic and anti-American messages. Recent topics include Donald Trump being attacked with an axe and missiles pointing at Capitol Hill.
But one former Pyongyang resident is hoping that her sizable Korean poster collection can present a more nuanced picture of art in the reclusive state. Stanford fellow Katharina Zellweger -- who lived in Pyongyang for five years while working for a Swiss government agency -- has collected over 100 examples from inside the country.
Most of the images promote agriculture and science, offering an alternative to the violent scenes typically associated with North Korean propaganda. The posters, which encourage hard work and solidarity, are reinforced with depictions of smiling model citizens and images celebrating national achievements.


01-04-2018, 09:27 AM
What happens when a North Korean ballistic missile test fails in flight and explodes in a populated area?

On April 28, 2017, North Korea launched a single Hwasong-12/KN17 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) from Pukchang Airfield in South Pyongan Province (the Korean People’s Army’s Air and Anti-Air Force Unit 447 in Ryongak-dong, Sunchon City, to be more precise). That missile failed shortly after launch and crashed in the Chongsin-dong, in North Korean city of Tokchon, causing considerable damage to a complex of industrial or agricultural buildings.

According to a U.S. government source with knowledge of North Korea’s weapons programs who spoke to The Diplomat, the missile’s first stage engines failed after approximately one minute of powered flight, resulting in catastrophic failure. The missile never flew higher than approximately 70 kilometers. The location of the missile’s eventual impact was revealed exclusively to The Diplomat and evidence of the incident can be independently corroborated in commercially available satellite imagery from April and May 2017.


01-06-2018, 11:33 PM
Interesting opinion piece - one of the co-authors appears to be General Shankar, an Indian Army artillery guy.

Way back in 2003, Time magazine reported that North Korean Artillery could flatten Seoul in the first half hour of any confrontation. A South Korean security analyst suggested that North Korean artillery pieces of calibers 170 millimeter and 240 millimeter “could fire 10,000 rounds per minute to Seoul and its environs.” There are many other such analyses and reports (before and after) that have reinforced and complemented this canard. The hype that has been created is now an amoebic prophecy which feeds on itself. It dominates the national thinking of South Korea and has created a fear psychosis. Attempts to argue otherwise or question this canard have lacked depth and are not conclusive. Hence, the canard has assumed delusional proportions. We have carried out an analysis to examine if North Korea can flatten Seoul with conventional artillery in any confrontation. We have given the best to North Korea. The benefit of any doubt was given to the team which argued that North Korean artillery can flatten Seoul. Our emphatic answer is: it cannot. This article is about logically proving that North Korean artillery can never flatten Seoul—leave alone in the first half hour of any conflict

Tangentially related thread (currently locked)

Bonus - who wants to play IMINT games (https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/qPk4884QCgjBIbKnR2WTmA--/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjtzbT0xO3c9ODAw/http://l.yimg.com/yp/offnetwork/092dcf41f8b955a28ca152d4360042f7)?

01-11-2018, 01:49 PM
The U.S. Air Force announced it has deployed three nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers and 200 air personnel to Guam -- sending a strong signal to North Korea just a few days after its talks with South Korea.
The B-2s join a number of B-1 conventional bombers already deployed on the Pacific island.

01-11-2018, 11:21 PM
The more I that I think through the problem, the more I believe the U.S. should just round up the money to fund the reconstruction, re-settlement, infrastructure repair/upgrades we’d have to deal with after any war, and throw it at the re-unification problem.

I get it that S. Korea doesn’t want reunification to stall its economic engine, and China doesn’t want to deal with the chaos of refugees or a failed regime, should we decapitate the leadership. I think we can make reunification an attractive alternative to war on the peninsula, where every actor would and keep paying for a long time afterwards.

Convince China that it is in their best interests to nudge Kim out of his seat, or at least not demand reunification under N. Korean terms. Convince the N. Korean military that if they want to live they need to remove Kim. And most of all, convince the otherwise brainwashed civilian population that they can have a much better life in 5-10 years (even if it’s just doubling the per capita invome to $2,000 USD per year), if they just lay back and let it happen.

These should be our aiming points, because otherwise we only have three options. 1) We accept the reality of a nuclearized peninsula and stop whining about it. 2) We go to war to try to achieve certain strategic objectives and assume a mess of epic proportions after the loss of countless lives and billions of dollars in equipment and S. Korean infrastructure. 3) We attempt military action which triggers a nuclear event.

Right now, sucking up the cost of reunification and getting it over and done with, seems like the least costly COA.

In exchange for China’s support, we reduce our presence on the peninsula down to small coordination elements, and pretty much leave. It’s a massive paradigm shift and I doubt any military or political leader has the vision or balls to dream that big, but what it we could remove the nuclear threat without firing a single shot?

01-15-2018, 03:39 AM
Carpet-bomb the North with food packages wrapped in commercial advertising.


Lest you think I'm jesting. (http://www.psywarrior.com/GiftsFromAbove.html)

01-15-2018, 10:32 PM
Additional readings.

You're welcome.

Bill Moore
01-16-2018, 03:44 AM
Additional readings.

You're welcome.

The biggest shortfall in the article at this link is there is not an evaluation of the effects. The U.S. did a lot of interesting psychological operations in WWII to the present day. However, no matter how interesting, most of these actions didn't achieve the desired effect at the scale desired and required. While not directly a PSYOP mission, we provided substantial food aid to North Korea in 1990s, and it didn't put a dent in their loyalty to the Kim Regime. I'm a believer in PSYOP, but it isn't as simple as dropping food packages and sending messages via balloons. They have a isolated positive effects, but we need a larger campaign that drives mass dissatisfaction with the regime, and maybe even a little Arab Spring action. Doubtful, but still desirable.

01-30-2018, 05:04 PM
Washington (AFP) - North Korea has made new advances in its intercontinental ballistic missile program but has not yet demonstrated all the capabilities needed to hit America with such a weapon, a top US general said Tuesday.
While Pyongyang has shown it can put the United States in range and point a rocket to the country, General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it has not yet proven that its fusing and targeting technologies can survive the stresses of ballistic missile flight.


01-30-2018, 05:04 PM
Doubtful, but still desirable.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Bill Moore
02-03-2018, 09:51 PM
History may not repeat itself, but it does seem to have a continuous rhyme.


Remembering the Pueblo: How Internal Imperatives Shape North Korean Decisions

The tragic details of the Pueblo Incident are certainly important on their own merits, but they can also provide a useful window into North Korea in the late 1960s and perhaps even lessons for today, especially in the wake of the release of archival materials from the former communist-bloc states during this period. The most immediate conclusion that we can now draw about the incident is the fact that, despite what most Americans instinctively believed, the North Koreans had acted alone.

It goes on to explain that China was furious with North Korea for this action, and they even cancelled cultural exchanges. Now to the national level.

Moreover, a general disillusionment and demoralization had fallen over the country, one that appears to have been at the heart of a series of purges Kim launched against a number of officials. Accordingly, Kim seems to have latched onto the Pueblo as a means of rallying the people behind him during this difficult time. “The spreading military psychosis had other functions,” noted Czech officials in North Korea a few weeks after the Pueblo capture, “like distracting people from the existing economic difficulties, ‘justifying’ stagnation of the standard of living, demanding the strictest discipline and obedience, and preventing any criticism.”

I think the following statement is false, because many analyst consider this. It is still an important point though.

Few voices consider the possibility that North Korea might be driven by internal imperatives, rooted in changing economic or political circumstances and national ideology. For a reminder of how indigenous forces can shape DPRK behavior, contemporary policymakers could do worse than turn the clock back to 1968 and “Remember the Pueblo.”

Bill Moore
02-03-2018, 09:59 PM

North Korean Special Operations Forces: Hovercraft Bases (Part I)

If used as a staging area for an attack, the hovercraft units from Kibong-dong could land as many as 2,700 special force troops on South Korea’s western islands within two to four hours. Units from Tasa-ri could land an additional 800 troops within 2.5 to 4.5 hours of a first wave attack.

Sounds more like a MEU OTB offensive operation than SOF. One would hope South Korea could detect the craft and defeat them before the Marines dismounted.

02-06-2018, 04:35 AM
China is reportedly moving missile defense batteries and troops closer to its border with North Korea, a potential sign that Beijing anticipates either a large refugee wave north or a military disturbance triggered by the belligerence of communist dictator Kim Jong-un.

The South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo cited Radio Free Asia (RFA) in a report Monday, stating that RFA had compiled evidence that China had “late last year deployed another missile defense battery at an armored division in Helong, west of Longjing in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.”

The “North Korean source in China” speaking to RFA also noted that Pyongyang had observed the movement of 300,000 troops closer to the North Korean border and “missile defense batteries near North Korean reservoirs by the Apnok [Yalu] and Duman [Tumen] rivers.” The batteries would prevent the violent outpouring of those reservoirs into China in the event of an airstrike.

On Friday, China’s state-run People’s Daily newspaper reported that Beijing was also investing in establishing nuclear monitoring stations throughout the world, but especially near North Korea, to more rapidly gather information about a potential airstrike. While carefully noting that “detection is not targeted at any particular country,” the newspaper noted that the planned 11 nuclear monitoring stations “are responsible for detecting nuclear activities in neighboring countries, including North Korea.”



02-07-2018, 12:34 PM
US military officials and policymakers are devoting increased attention to the potential for conflict with a near-peer competitor, and they've pursued a number of operational and equipment changes to prepare for it.
Among the latest moves is the roll out of more cold-weather gear among the US Army and Marine Corps, underscoring the military's growing concern about its ability to operate in extreme environments outside the Middle East.
For the last several years, the Army has been looking to update its gear for extreme environments, mainly jungles and the harsh cold. Included in that search was a new cold-weather boot and a cold-weather clothing system that could be adjusted for various temperatures.


02-07-2018, 12:47 PM

North Korean Special Operations Forces: Hovercraft Bases (Part I)

Sounds more like a MEU OTB offensive operation than SOF. One would hope South Korea could detect the craft and defeat them before the Marines dismounted.

That's a really good analysis, but that's to be expected from Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. That whole place looks like one giant T.R.P., which would imply that any activity (like springtime exercises) there could be an early indicator of an assault.

The UK Telegraph synthesized Joe's writing (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/06/satellite-images-reveal-new-north-korean-bases-forfleet-assault/), but mentioned 'hardened' shelters (when the original did not). :confused:

03-04-2018, 09:38 AM
A short (10 mins) MNSBC news report:
Richard Engel visits The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, where academics use publicly available maps and media, and a lot of creative problem solving, to assess North Korea's progress toward nuclear weapon capabilityLink:https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/us-academics-track-north-korea-nuclear-progress-with-public-data-1175743555528?playlist=associated

Quite interesting use of open sources and crowd sourcing. Their website is:https://www.nonproliferation.org/about-2/

The professor is none other than Jeffrey Lewis, who is Arms Control Wonk:https://www.armscontrolwonk.com/ and a respected SME. His short bio:https://www.nonproliferation.org/experts/jeffrey-lewis/

03-04-2018, 08:26 PM
UNITED NATIONS — North Korea has been shipping supplies to the Syrian government that could be used in the production of chemical weapons, United Nations experts contend.
The evidence of a North Korean connection comes as the United States and other countries have accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons on civilians, including recent attacks on civilians in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta using what appears to have been chlorine gas.
The supplies from North Korea include acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers, according to a report by United Nations investigators. North Korean missile technicians have also been spotted working at known chemical weapons and missile facilities inside Syria, according to the report, which was written by a panel of experts who looked at North Korea’s compliance with United Nations sanctions.






04-11-2018, 12:35 AM
From Garwin and Postal at FAS: https://fas.org/rlg/airborne.pdf


The DPRK has demonstrated missiles with near-ICBM range and tested underground nuclear or thermonuclear explosives of yield estimated to be 100 or even 250 kilotons—comparable in yield to many of the current U.S. strategic warheads.
Although there is not evidence that the DPRK has mastered the technology of a ruggedized warhead and reentry vehicle that would survive the 60 G deceleration and heating of atmospheric reentry at ICBM range, they could do so in time. It is also not clear that any of the DPRK’s nuclear weapons can yet be carried to ICBM range, but that also is only a matter of time.
We sketch here an "Airborne Patrol System to Destroy DPRK ICBMs in Powered Flight" incorporating the well established MQ-9 Reaper (Predator B) remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), The Big Wing version of the MQ-9 has a loiter time of some 37 hours at 500 miles from itsairbase in South Korea or Japan, carrying two Boost-Phase Intercept missiles assembled of available rocket motors, e.g., from Orbital ATK.
A two-stage rocket would provide 4 km/s, with a 75 or 55 kg homing payload providing an additional 2.0 or 1.5 km/s divert velocity, and carrying a 25 kg seeker that would home optically on the booster flame and the ICBM’s hard body.
All of the technologies needed to implement the proposed system are proven and no new technologies are needed to realize the system .
The baseline system could technically be deployed in 2020, and would be designed to handle up to 5 simultaneous ICBM launches.
The potential value of this system could be to quickly create an incentive for North Korea to take diplomatic negotiations seriously and to destroy North Korean ICBMs if they are launched at the continental United States.
The proposed Airborne Patrol System could be a “first-step system” that can be constantly improved over time. For example, we have analyzed the system assuming that interceptors have a top speed of 4 km/s with a 25 kg seeker. We believe that faster, or lighter and smaller interceptors can be built that would increase the firepower of the system and possibly its capability against somewhat shorter range ballistic missiles like the Nodong – which poses a threat to Japan.
Since the Airborne Patrol System would be based on the use of drones that would loiter outside of North Korean airspace, the electronic countermeasures needed to defeat distant surface-to-air missile defenses would be easy to implement because of the long-range between the drones and the air-defense radars.
The availability of relatively inexpensive high-payload long-endurance drones will also improve, along with the electronic countermeasures
systems to protect them.

04-18-2018, 11:45 AM
Q: So why are the NorKs willing to talk, now?

Update: In a tweet early on Wednesday, President Trump confirmed reports about the C.I.A. director Mike Pompeo’s secret meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying the session “went very smoothly” and that “a good relationship was formed.”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Trump dispatched the C.I.A. director Mike Pompeo to North Korea to meet with its leader, Kim Jong-un, in recent weeks to lay the groundwork for a summit meeting between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump, two people briefed on the secret trip said on Tuesday.


05-16-2018, 07:02 PM
SEOUL (Reuters) - Satellite imagery shows North Korea dismantling facilities at its nuclear test site, but experts say the images can’t reveal whether it is the first step toward full denuclearization, or an attempt to cloak nuclear capabilities from outside observers.
North Korea’s intentions were thrown further into doubt on Wednesday, when it abruptly announced it may “reconsider” meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in June if the United States continues to insist on unilateral denuclearization.
Commercial satellite imagery - including photos taken by Planet Labs as recently as May 14 - show North Korea removing some structures around its nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, experts say.

06-06-2018, 01:07 PM
October 12, 2017

North Korea Nuclear EMP Attack: An Existential Threat

We recommend that the President direct the Secretary of Defense to deploy Aegis-ashore
missile interceptors along the Gulf of Mexico coast to plug the hole in U.S. missile defenses.
The U.S. has no Ballistic Missile Early Warning System radars or missile interceptors facing
south, and is largely blind and defenseless from that direction, including to missiles launched
from submarines or off ships, or from a nuclear-armed satellite orbiting on a south polar

06-12-2018, 06:32 PM
Understatement du jour

Washington (CNN)Dennis Rodman, a retired professional basketball player, is one of the few people who knows both US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and that makes him an important resource, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a CNN interview.

CNN's Chris Cuomo noted about Rodman on Monday night, "He is our best resource at this point right now for understanding the minds of the two men, especially Kim Jong Un."
Clapper responded: "I agree, Chris ... as weird as it is ... this whole thing is unconventional."


06-12-2018, 06:35 PM
Cyber-security experts have expressed surprise that journalists at the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Singapore were given USB-powered fans. Some warned reporters not to plug them in to their laptops, as USB devices can carry malware.


07-01-2018, 02:06 AM
WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence agencies believe that North Korea has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months — and that Kim Jong Un may try to hide those facilities as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration, U.S. officials told NBC News.


07-08-2018, 02:22 PM
North Korea appears to be working on a new submarine capable of firing nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, according to information gathered by South Korea's military. Kim Hack-yong, a South Korean lawmaker who until a few weeks ago was head of the legislature's defense committee, told The Wall Street Journal that North Korea appeared to working on the sub at the port of Sinpo on the country's east coast.


07-18-2018, 08:03 PM
Missed this one. Alibi Fire.

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, REUTERS) - North Korea may be mass producing biological weapons in a research lab that studies agricultural chemicals, Pyongyang Bio-Technical Institute, a US media outlet reported on Saturday (Oct 21), citing an academic report.

Radio Free Asia cited a report released by Belfer Centre of Harvard University's Kennedy School in October, which says the communist state already has biological weapons and its industrial facilities are able to produce such weapons.

"It is likely that anthrax and small pox is already used as a biological weapon," the report said. "North Korean soldiers are vaccinated against small pox, and so are US Army (personnel) stationed in South Korea - against small pox and anthrax."


07-31-2018, 02:48 AM
Predictable shennanigans are predictable.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. spy satellites have detected renewed activity at the North Korean factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, a senior U.S. official said on Monday, in the midst of talks to compel Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arms.

Photos and infrared imaging indicate vehicles moving in and out of the facility at Sanumdong, but do not show how advanced any missile construction might be, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity because the intelligence is classified.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that North Korea appeared to be building one or two new liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles at the large research facility on the outskirts of Pyongyang, citing unidentified officials familiar with intelligence reporting.

09-30-2018, 09:32 PM
Listen to the whirr of backpeddling...

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - North Korea's foreign minister told the United Nations on Saturday continued sanctions were deepening its mistrust in the United States and there was no way the country would give up its nuclear weapons unilaterally under such circumstances. Ri Yong Ho told the world body's annual General Assembly that North Korea had taken "significant goodwill measures" in the past year, such as stopping nuclear and missiles tests, dismantling the nuclear test site, and pledging not to proliferate nuclear weapons and nuclear technology.


11-16-2018, 02:14 AM
Nov. 14 (UPI) — South Korea’s spy agency said North Korea has continued to miniaturize nuclear warheads, even after the Singapore summit between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a South Korean press report.

Members of a South Korean parliamentary intelligence committee told Newsis on Wednesday Seoul’s national intelligence service has confirmation North Korea’s miniaturization of nuclear weapons has been ongoing, despite agreements to denuclearize.

The committee had met to discuss the report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, addressing the issue of undeclared missile bases in the North.

Seoul’s spy agency said the Sakkanmol missile base, the object of the CSIS study, was an “already known” quantity in the intelligence community.


11-19-2018, 09:49 PM
The North Korean soldier who defected to the South in a hail of bullets last year is a general’s son but says most Northerners of his age have no loyalty to Kim Jong-un, according to a Japanese newspaper. Oh Chong Song’s dramatic dash across the border at the Panmunjom truce village in the Demilitarized Zone – under fire from his comrades – made global headlines last year, and saw him hospitalised with serious injuries.

It is very rare for the North’s troops to defect at Panmunjom, a major tourist attraction and the only place on the frontier where forces from the two sides come face-to-face. The 25-year-old Oh is the son of a major-general, Japan’s Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported, in what it said was the defector’s first media interview.

But despite his privileged birth – he described himself as “upper class” – he felt no allegiance to the North’s leadership.


11-19-2018, 10:22 PM
One must wonder if the defector's father is: a) still a general; b) alive.

02-12-2019, 03:04 PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea has continued to produce bomb fuel while in denuclearization talks with the United States and may have produced enough in the past year to add as many as seven nuclear weapons to its arsenal, according to a study released just weeks before a planned second summit between the North Korean leader and U.S. President Donald Trump.


03-06-2019, 02:08 AM
I'll take "predictable outcomes" for $400, Alex. Time to test the orbital lasers again, Space Force guys.

Satellite imagery suggests that North Korea may be taking steps to reactivate a partially decommissioned long-range rocket test site on the 'country's west coast.

Experts say they see evidence that workers are rebuilding at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. In a matter of days, a rocket-engine test stand and a large transfer structure have been reassembled, according to Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., a senior fellow for imagery analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The structures were taken down over the course of last summer, Bermudez says, and reassembled in a matter of days.

07-08-2019, 01:56 PM
A former Washington insider's commentary on recent matters and face-to-face diplomacy has limits. Yes he is ex-CIA. He starts with:
Time to face it: North Korea is almost certainly going to remain a nuclear weapons state. Its nuclear capabilities are now impressive, well-documented and embraced by Kim Jong Un (https://www.ozy.com/opinion/welcome-to-life-beyond-kim/85850) as regime survival tools. But in assessing adversaries, you also always have to weigh intent. And that is the question least well-explored: What exactly does North Korea plan to do with its nuclear weapons — and how should that affect our perception of the threat?

The short article ends with:
Such personal relationships are important in diplomacy, but they need to be married to a clear, flexible and persistent strategy — one that seems so far to be missing.