Pentagon Unveils Plan For "Pre-Emptive Strike" On North Korea

Tyler Durden's picture

Just hours after Trump made his famously heated vow to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea if provocations by the Kim regime continued, the US Air Force issued a very clear statement in which it explicitly said that it was "ready to fight tonight", launching an attack of B-1 bombers if so ordered:

“How we train is how we fight and the more we interface with our allies, the better prepared we are to fight tonight,” said a 37th EBS B-1 pilot. “The B-1 is a long-range bomber that is well-suited for the maritime domain and can meet the unique challenges of the Pacific.”

Now, according to an NBC report, it appears that the B-1 pilot was dead serious, as the Pentagon has unveiled a plan for a preemptive strike on North Korean missile sites with bombers stationed in Guam, once Donald Trump gives the order to strike. Echoing what we said yesterday that war "under any analysis, is insanity", the preemptive strike plan is viewed as the "best option available" out of all the bad ones:

"There is no good option," a senior intelligence official involved in North Korean planning told NBC News, but a unilateral American bomber strike not supported by any assets in the South constitutes "the best of a lot of bad options."

The attack would consist of B-1 Lancer heavy bombers located on Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, a senior acting and retired military officials told NBC news.

Of all the military options … [President Donald Trump] could consider, this would be one of the two or three that would at least have the possibility of not escalating the situation,” retired Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe and an NBC News analyst, said.

Why the B-1?

Military sources told NBC News that the internal justification for centering a strike on the B-1 is both practical and intricate. The B-1 has the largest internal payload of any current bomber in the U.S. arsenal. A pair of bombers can carry a mix of weapons in three separate bomb bays — as many as 168 500-pound bombs — or more likely, according to military sources, the new Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile — Extended Range (JASSM-ER), a highly accurate missile with a range of 500 nautical miles, allowing the missile to be fired from well outside North Korean territory.

There is another important consideration: according to one senior military officer, "the B-1 has also been selected because it has the added benefit of not being able to carry nuclear weapons. Military planners think that will signal China, Russia, and Pyongyang that the U.S. is not trying to escalate an already bad situation any further."

The plan explains why in recent weeks pairs of B-1s have conducted 11 practice runs of a similar mission since the end of May, the last taking place on Monday, around the time Trump and Kim were exchanging unpleasantries in the media, with the training has accelerated since May, according to officials. In an actual mission, NBC notes that the non-nuclear bombers would be supported by satellites and drones and surrounded by fighter jets as well as aerial refueling and electronic warfare planes.

There are currently at least six B-1 bombers on Andersen Air Force base, which is located some 3,200km from North Korea. If given the command, these strategic bombers would target around two dozen North Korean "missile-launch sites, testing grounds and support facilities" according to sources cited by NBC.

Asked about the B-1 bomber plan, two U.S. officials told NBC News that the bombers were among the options under consideration but not the only option. NBC points out that "action would come from air, land and sea — and cyber."

Of course, as we elaborated yesterday, striking North Korea is certain to prompt an immediate and deadly response that could involve targets as near as Seoul, just 40 miles from the border, or as far away as Andersen AFB, according to Adm. Stavridis.

"The use of the B-1 bombers to actually drop bombs and destroy Korean infrastructure and kill North Koreans would cause an escalation," said Stavridis. "Kim Jong Un would be compelled to respond. He would lash out militarily, at a minimum against South Korea, and potentially at long-range targets, perhaps including Guam. … That's a bad set of outcomes from where we sit now."

"Diplomacy remains the lead," said Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander, after the B-1 bombers' late May training run. "However, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario. If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing."

Separately, Defense Secretary James Mattis said military strategists at the Pentagon have a military solution in place to address the growing threat emanating from North Korea, but they are holding their fire in favor of ongoing diplomatic efforts. The Pentagon chief said any military option would be a multilateral one involving a number of regional powers in the Pacific.

“Do I have military options? Of course, I do. That’s my responsibility, to have those. And we work very closely with allies to ensure that this is not unilateral either … and of course there’s a military solution,” Mr. Mattis told reporters en route to meet with senior leaders in the technology sector in Seattle and California.

However, as the Washington Times reports, Mattis reiterated that the administration’s diplomatic efforts to quell tensions on the peninsula remained the top priority for the White House.

“We want to use diplomacy. That’s where we’ve been, that’s where we are right now. and that’s where we hope to remain. But at the same time, our defenses are robust” and ready to take on any threat posed by the North Korean regime, Mattis said.

* * *

Finally, should the worst-case scenario be put in play, and conventional war is launched, here is what Capital Economics predicted would be the drastic economic consequences from even a contained, non-nuclear war.

  • North Korea’s conventional forces, which include 700,000 men under arms and tens of thousands of artillery pieces, would be able to cause immense damage to the South Korean economy. If the North was able to set off a nuclear bomb in South Korea, the consequences would be even greater. Many of the main targets in South Korea are located close to the border with the North. The capital, Seoul, which accounts for roughly a fifth of the country’s population and economy, is located just 35 miles from the North Korean border, and would be a prime target.
  • The experience of past military conflicts shows how big an impact wars can have on the economy. The war in Syria has led to a 60% fall in the country’s GDP. The most devastating military conflict since World War Two, however, has been the Korean War (1950-53), which led to 1.2m South Korean deaths, and saw the value of its GDP fall by over 80%.
  • South Korea accounts for around 2% of global economic output. A 50% fall in South Korean GDP would directly knock 1% off global GDP. But there would also be indirect effects to consider. The main one is the disruption it would cause to global supply chains, which have been made more vulnerable by the introduction of just-in-time delivery systems. Months after the Thai floods had receded in 2011 electronics and automotive factories across the world were still reporting shortages.
  • The impact of a war in Korea would be much bigger. South Korea exports three times as many intermediate products as Thailand. In particular, South Korea is the biggest producer of liquid crystal displays in the world (40% of the global total) and the second biggest of semiconductors (17% market share). It is also a key automotive manufacturer and home to the world’s three biggest shipbuilders. If South Korean production was badly damaged by a war there would be shortages across the world. The disruption would last for some time – it takes around two years to build a semi-conductor factory from scratch.
  • The impact of the war on the US economy would likely be significant. At its peak in 1952, the US government was spending the equivalent of 4.2% of its GDP fighting the Korean War. The total cost of the second Gulf War (2003) and its aftermath has been estimated at US$1trn (5% of one year’s US GDP). A prolonged war in Korea would significantly push up US federal debt, which at 75% of GDP is already uncomfortably high.
  • Reconstruction after the war would be costly. Infrastructure, including electricity, water, buildings, roads and ports, would need to be rebuilt. Massive spare capacity in China’s steel, aluminium and cement industries mean reconstruction would unlikely be inflationary, and should instead provide a boost to global demand. The US, a key ally of South Korea, would likely shoulder a large share of the costs. The US spent around US$170bn on reconstruction after the most recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. South Korea’s economy is roughly 30 times larger than these two economies combined. If the US were to spend proportionally the same amount on reconstruction in Korea as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would add another 30% of GDP to its national debt.

Naturally, should North Korea manage to successfully launch a nuke, the devastation, economic and otherwise, would be orders of magnitude greater.

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Conscious Reviver's picture

lowscore? Is that your IQ?

If Lil Kim is attacked and doesn't retaliate he is exposed as a fraud im front of his own people. Then he gets the anti-aircraft gun execution treatment.

But don't worry. This is all just hand bags. Nothing is gonna happen.

lowscorewins's picture

Conscious Reviewer - If we attack North Korea and Kim is still breathing in the morning his propaganda machine will tell his people he repelled the American military, killed 100,000 American soldiers and ate Trump's birthday cake. Nobody north of the DMZ will dispute it and anyone who does will be dead before the sun goes down.North Korean propaganda make Baghdad Bob seem like Walter Cronkite.

Victor von Doom's picture

Wow. It sounds almost as bad as living in the US.

Offthebeach's picture

There's no broken windiws like a nuked Seattle or San Fran!  Think of the stimulus, the jobs, the GDP growth( after that bad quarter )!

P. Krugman 

TBT or not TBT's picture

Trump may be alluding to new weapon systems, for example deorbiting tungsten alloy "rods" or/and other black budget stuff that has been in development.   

Eyes Opened's picture


US foreign policy.....

therealestg9's picture

Why would we not just base them in Japan or South Korea? What's the reason for having them all the way in the ocean in Guam?

lowscorewins's picture

"Why would we not just base them in Japan or South Korea?" - Don't want to have to negotiate with the Japanese or Koreans about their use. Flying from US territory allows them plausible deniability. Politically much simpler all around.

lowscorewins's picture

"Why would we not just base them in Japan or South Korea?" - Don't want to have to negotiate with the Japanese or Koreans about their use. Flying from US territory allows them plausible deniability. Politically much simpler all around.

c2nnib2l's picture

lol nobody fucks with trump


trump dkes fucking

Chauncey Gardener's picture

So, maybe you'd prefer if our base was hit in Guam first? Or, would you like Lil Kim to hit NYC, Boston, or San Diego instead? Asking for a friend, of course...


Chauncey Gardener's picture

So, maybe you'd prefer if our base was hit in Guam first? Or, would you like Lil Kim to hit NYC, Boston, or San Diego instead? Asking for a friend, of course...


Hugh_Jorgan's picture

The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is WAR. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.
~Ernest Hemingway

doctor10's picture

This little "pre-emptive strike" is more about pre-empting the coming volcanic eruption of DNC and DC criminality than about the latest sparklers Kim Il-jong has been lighting.

Kenny Drebson's picture

you're so hopelessly unfunny.  a truly toxic personality.  wtf are you STILL doing here?

shovelhead's picture

Do they just push it through your mom's basement window?

forestgump227's picture

Samsung makes the oled displays for the iPhone 8. Looks like it will be delayed further. Sad!

rayban's picture

No Samsung components = no iPhone 8

Abbie Normal's picture

Might want to rethink that -- Samsung makes most of the screens, memory, processors for the iphone.

Barney Fife's picture

Maybe our semiconductor fab facilities will finally come back home. 

Ajax-1's picture

I thought war was supposed to be bullish for stawks. Where am I going wrong here? Somebody please enlighten me.

hedgeless_horseman's picture


they do not have a (((central bank)))

Apparently, they may not have any nukes either...

Countries by estimated total nuclear warhead stockpile.
According to the Federation of American Scientists.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Well.....if the military has a plan, what could go wrong?


<Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. - Mike Tyson>

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

Everybody has a plan, until you get punched in the face


TBT or not TBT's picture

Marines have a much older saying that no plan survives contact with the enemy.   

a Smudge by any other name's picture

Yanno it really is a bitch when you have to invent a whole new freaking war EVERY SINGLE FREAKING YEAR just to get attention.

spastic_colon's picture

"Apparently, they may not have any nukes either..."

my shocked face :|

pods's picture

Everytime I see that pic it makes me want to stomp the life out of that warmongering bastard.  


HRClinton's picture

Re "Last I heard, they had .9 of one."

I must have heard or read that one at least 6,000,000 times. 

The Cooler King's picture



Yeah, I've heard that 6,000,000 number many times myself (including all the newspaper articles published long before WW2, and all the Kabbala stuff having to do with the number "6", & other relevant, or obtuse references).


I'm a simple guy. So, notwithstanding ALL of the other truths, or half truths regarding Zyklon B, rubber gaskets, doors which swung inward, etc. the following is a fact:


Auschwitz began operation in May 1940 and closed in January 1945 (=4.5 years = 1642 days), which, alone would have required the ability to 'process' 3,654 victims PER DAY = 152 per hour, 24x7, round the clock, or, if they weren't working round the clock, almost 500 per hour, from Day 1 to the very last day to achieve the 6,000,000 number.


Now, WIKI, naturally, lists other camps, which total, curiously, 66, but most were small and were not purposed, reportedly, for 'EXTERMINATION' (only 11 were supposedly purposed for that, and NONE of those were actually in Germany)... 7 were in Poland (where Auschwitz was), and 1 each in Ukraine, Belarus, Croatia, & Serbia.


Anyway, that's the maff

OverTheHedge's picture

I once did some arithmetic based on the fact that it takes one to two hours to burn a body (time is fat-dependent). The numbers get ridiculous very quickly, especially if there are a limited number of crematoria.

From a witness statement (

Crematorium I

Crematorium I operated [at Auschwitz] from August 15, 1940 until July 1943. According to calculations by the German authorities, 340 corpses could be burned every 24 hours after the installation of the three furnaces."

peippe's picture

they only need one for D.C.

that would fix it.

The Cooler King's picture



"Apparently, they may not have any nukes either."


on that chart, I think Israel stores 79 of them in North Korea, the 1 that they were storing at Fukushima had an accident. The Israeli security firm that was in charge of the operation wiill soon come out with a full & honest reporting of the matter.

ne-tiger's picture

Fuck them. If Trump let this happen, he's worse POS than Hillary.

The Cooler King's picture

2/3rds of Americans think that N Korea poses a serious threat:


Here's a REGIONAL SAMPLING of the 2/3rds:


THREAT: Nancy Pelosi District ~ "OMG! Could one of those missles hit my vineyards?"

THREAT: Maxine Waters District ~ "Impeach Trump before one of those missles hits Tupac's grave"

NON - THREAT: Las Vegas District, Steve Wynn ~ "Try it FAT BOY & you won't be laundering any more money in my casinos"

THREAT: Illinois/Rahm Emmanuel ~ "Everything is a threat to us because we're so fucked up"

THREAT: Hamptons: ~  "If this happens, are we gonna have to switch from sushi to gefilte for our solar eclipse party?"

NON THREAT: PA/Ohio/WV/ ~ "I got my oxy, this ain't gonna hurt a bit"

THREAT: Chappaqua, NY ~ "These headlines suck because now people are more worried about the Norks than the Russians"

THREAT: Washington, DC ~ "COMET Pizza is closed for business"

THREAT: Atlanta/Hank Johnson District ~ "Guam gonna tip ovah!"

NON THREAT: Fort Knox Kentucky ~ "No use tryin' to pull that Goldfinger shit on us, ain't no gold here anyway. & besides, we have Odd Job as a human shield"

shankster's picture

Possible threat: Miami- We really are still part of the USA and we will fight to protect, oke,dako

The Cooler King's picture

Miami is not a threat. They don't have any guidance on those missles so they might miss & hit Cuba

shankster's picture

Cuba, Miami, Haiti all the same thing.

spieslikeus's picture

Might have to amend Chicago somehow. You have more likelihood of getting capped by Ta'Quan than getting nuked by Fat Boy.