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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The Cooler King's picture

My take is that you're more likely to be capped by Rahm. But since they demolished Cabrini Greens, all hell has broken loose & it's hard to tell what's goin on. Cats livin with Dogs, Cubs winnin the World Series.


Basically ~ The worst parts of the Bible.

spieslikeus's picture

....especially the Cubs part. Now fucking everyone is a Cubs fan. Fake news? How about Fake Fans?

The Cooler King's picture

They gave 'Bartman' a World Series ring

GUS100CORRINA's picture

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

My response: WELL, this latest development should make the VIX go crazy UP!!!!

You've heard the phrase: GOT MILK? Well I want to put forth the phrase: ARE YOU HEDGED!!!!


You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

deKevelioc's picture

This is all hyped-up news.  The Dow is off a MASSIVE 0.5%.  Big deal.  Zerohedge is starting to read like King World News.  This site is starting to suck.

The Cooler King's picture

Well, I did a quick search elsewhere & in 10 seconds came up with:


1. Britney Spears Stunned as fan rushes stage

2. Pitt & Jolie have slowed divorce process

3. NBA star arrested on felony drug charges

4. 8 secrets that cruise ship workers want you to know

5. 10 worst style mistakes men can make, that women want you to know

6. Woman sues COSTCO for chicken salad that cost her millions

7. Kitten crashes MLB game and may have sparked rally

8. Mindy Kaling [whoever she is], and her baby bump

9. Way too many people don't wash their underwear & other gross things

10. Oprah Winfrey is launching her own 'healthy foods' brand


I think that #5 & #9 up there might be of interest to you (unless you're a fatty ~ in that case, go right to #10)

tmosley's picture

They are a massive proliferation risk.

hedgeless_horseman's picture


They?  Meaning Israel?

Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons


The "top secret" minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa's defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel's defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them "in three sizes". The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that "the very existence of this agreement" was to remain secret.

A. Boaty's picture

The ANC government gave up those nukes. Remember?

tmosley's picture

Worst deflection in history. Wall the bastards up and let them kill each other. If they want out, force them to convert.

Victor von Doom's picture

If they want out hose them down with flamethrowers. They'll only lie when they convert, then switch back when feasable. Been done before. Never trust them. 

DeadFred's picture

This is the best indication that this is a bluff. Publishing your battle plan beforehand is not SOP

hedgeless_horseman's picture


Publishing your battle plan beforehand is not SOP

You must have missed the lead ups to both Gulf Wars.  

Operation Desert Shield ring any bells?

CNN ratings through the roof.

The 1991 Gulf War can be read as a text produced by the Bush administration, the Pentagon, and the media that propagated images and discourse of the crisis and then the war to mobilize consent and support for the U.S. military intervention. Unpacking the text of the "crisis in the Gulf" and then the "Gulf war" requires analysis of the process of the production of news and information, including analysis of sources, gate-keeping and censorship, codes and practices of "normal" journalism, the sociology of news production, and processes of disinformation and propaganda. This dimension of cultural studies has been downplayed and I believe that this is highly unfortunate because analysis of the production of news and information, as well as entertainment, sheds important light on the origins and context of the emergence of cultural texts which contributes to understanding their meaning and effects.


Analysis of the text of the "crisis in the Gulf" indicates that from the beginning the mainstream news institutions followed the lines of the Bush administration and Pentagon

The Cooler King's picture

I'll start getting nervous when I see Pussy Galore's Flying Circus girls on the tarmac

TuPhat's picture

We told them what we were going to do and then we went in and got our butts kicked.  We did kill a lot of people but accomplished nothing.

man from glad's picture

Trump is going to hit them. I have no doubt the decision is already made. I think spring next year timeframe.

HRClinton's picture

Will Andersen Pooper be embedded with the tranny Troops?

BarkingCat's picture

No, they will take turns being embedded in him.

Veritas X-'s picture

"Why, exactly, are we going to attack North Korea?

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

AND they're sitting on $6-10 TRILLION in Rare Earth Metals.

Lots of poppy fields too.

That's why.


trader1's picture

And don't forget cannabis!

shovelhead's picture

You can grow poppies anywhere there is dirt.

Krungle's picture

No central bank. Trillions in mineral resources. Moves US assets ever closer to Russia and China. Raised their people's standard of living substantially without capitalism. Refuses to bow to US hegemony. Fought us to a draw in the 1950s and never surrendered. Draws China into dealing with refugees and combat while also dealing with India in the SW and the US Navy in the S China Sea. Helps get rid of Japan's main competitor and makes them into Japanese slaves again. More weapon sales for MIC. Distracts from Trump's ever growing domestic crisises. Gives the oligarchy plausible denaiblity when the economy crashes ("it was the war, not our greed!"). And they might even be able to false flag a sanctuary city.

On paper attacking NK is full of winning. Of course shit won't play out like they war gamed it....

veritas semper vinces's picture

Good summary.But too complicated for the average American to process. Give them USA!USA!

trader1's picture

The nature of reality is a tough pill to swallow.  Much easier and in many cases less painful to remain in oblivion.

sgt_doom's picture

Those crazy fookers DID NOT sign onto the WTO's Financial Services Agreement, and promise to recognize the "value" of credit derivatives, the way all those flunkies and floozies at the Federal Reserve do!

LadyMarmalade's picture

We're going to attack them for being the short bus of a nation state. Doy. The US has to attack someone for being retarded, right? We made a complete mess of the Iraq crap since we had no clue about all the fueds within the area that started a gazillion years ago.  Sunni's and Shi'ites look the same, yet they've hated each other for hundreds of years. Then you have the Turks hating the Kurds, etc. No one can convince me that we walked into that mess with open eyes.  We were clueless.  Honestly I feel like NK is a joke. Just something to keep us occupied for a while. Even if we do attack, we'll wipe the floor with them. But just praying that we don't end up in conflict with China or Russia. 

And that's when it gets real. And yikes, sorry to say, but Putin's stance and demeanor is...stronger than what we've got. Eek!  I'm a daughter of 4 generations of military men, but we're all in agreement on this right now.  We can't help but kinda like the guy. 

clinically alive's picture

Central Bank Customer Service Dept.

shankster's picture

Because the guy on the TV news say's so..

Stuck on Zero's picture

America always does the right thing ... after trying everything else.

shankster's picture

Yes after all other options have been extinguished.

veritas semper vinces's picture


America always does the right thing ... after trying everything else.


This time ,I doubt it.For the simple fact that there won't be many Americans left to do the right thing.

shankster's picture

There aren't many real Americans left anyway.

Putrid_Scum's picture

The only reason to attack is that it would provide political cover for The Reset. 

A war on the Korean peninsula won't save our System.


Mustafa Kemal's picture

"I must have missed something.

Why, exactly, are we going to attack North Korea?"

  Because they have asserted their right to defend themselves.


Chauncey Gardener's picture

That's just like my crazy lob brother in-law defending Iran getting nukes--just LOOK at the map, they're surrouded by hostile goverments with nukes, why they have to DEFEND themselves. It's ONLY FAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR...

Castle Bravo's picture

Because we have a permanent war economy. After ww2 it was decided In order to sustain economic "progress" it was deemed nessesary to have permanent war. Whether it be a war on drugs, Muslims or North Koreans it makes no difference.

wavman1's picture

Here's why. Say you are packing heat and someone walks up to you ,pulls out a knife and threatens to kill you. Would you not be justified in launching a preemptive strike with deadly force? Of course you can!

hedgeless_horseman's picture


It depends.  

Say I am packing heat in someone else's nextdoor neighbor's backyard, on the otherside of the planet, and that someone that lives there says, "if you try to make war with me, AGAIN, then I will kill you," that seems perfectly reasonable and to be expected, and I would not be justified in a preemptive strike.

But you already know all of this.

Victor von Doom's picture

They own the knife, but are not attacking. The US is the aggressor - as per usual.

PRISM_Sees_U's picture

Because Chubby Cheeks is psychotic. The first world is not going to tolerate a radical third world with weapons of mass destruction. The kid is going to get his ass handed to him.

Winston Churchill's picture

You both have the same psych ?

Small world isn't it.

Got to wonder how much guilt isfueling this paranoia, ask your psych when you see him again next week.

Or is it daily on your ward ?

Ms No's picture

The subconscious shadow can be real bitch when people refuse to acknowledge it.  Sometimes you see it when people are drunk and their repressed aspects come out.  Like that guy who recently went around a high end party showing his dick to everyone and calling them bitches.  He was probably holding that urge back for quite awhile.  Once the blackout hits the subconscious will be sure to oblige whatever emotional shit you have been secretly fixating on.  lol 

Edit:  Jung would call it a subconscious death wish and that Red Book that came out with some of his unpublished stuff is extraordinary, by the way.



Conscious Reviver's picture

Every thinking person should get ahold of Jung's Red Book a.k.a. the Liber Novus.

arby63's picture

don't expect anything positive in terms of feedback here on ZH. This site is now living on borrowed time. It's 100% foreign BS now.

hedgeless_horseman's picture


SURGEON GENERAL WARNING:  It is not a good idea to mix the tax-payer-funded mind-altering pills from the VA with the cheap alcohol at the VFW before posting on the internet.  

shovelhead's picture

Whaddya mean cheap?

They have Early Times on the top shelf at my VFW. That's like $ 7.99 a fifth.

Rusty Shorts's picture

Good question, I just Google Earth'd North Korea and well...there's nothing there except a few rice paddies along the coast.