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.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Koba the Dread's picture

Part of it is called domestic violence. Other parts of it are called sexual foreplay.

Maynard G. Krebs's picture

Smells like 2003 all over again...

quebecgold's picture

By acting tough, I think Trump has a valid chance of succeding in making NK fold on thier nuclear weapon program. Tough words must always prevail war in order to make a final attempt at stopping the killing of million of innocents. 

But better 10 million lives today than a possible 100 million in 5 years... Gotta think about that. 

Bay of Pigs's picture

"In the end, they take you to war".

Gerald Celente

HRClinton's picture

"We EMP'd some American folks. If you like your electricity, you can't keep your electricity."

- Kim


(p.s. Once things go kinetic, how can you tell if it was a Nork sub that launched an EMP, or a Russian, Chinese or (((Specter))) sub?  Just saying.)

Bill of Rights's picture

So stop the clap Trap and let's do this is cheap Actions speak Volume. The Deep State will Put those little 20
Something snowflakes to work one way or another..

TuPhat's picture

All this talk means they don't plan to do anything.  Talk is cheap and if we were going to strike we would not tell anyone until after.  My question is what do they really want and what are they doing that we don't know about?

Bill of Rights's picture

I'll tell ya my theory, gold Is about to explode to the upside so we. Edd and excise as to why it's happening....again just a theory.

To Infinity And Beyond's picture

You fucking war mongers, the best option is no war.

spastic_colon's picture

this IS the no war option peacenik...............

if your beloved liberal media had'nt whipped this non-event into a frenzy there'd be no conversation.

Bill of Rights's picture

Shit the fuck up Obama had war his entire eight years and where the fuck were you? Bobbing your head in the audience like a good little sheep.

Krugg's picture

No... I spent the 8 years with Obama horrified at the sheer death and destruction he unleashed upon the world.  I spent months during the buildup to Libya begging people to give a shit.  I spent a year protesting the buildup to Syria.  I also condemned our overthrow of the Ukraine and Egypt.  I was against the bombing of Yemen, and Qatar.  I was also against the fucked up Iran deal.  I wasn't quiet while Obama ruined our legacy... and I will not be fucking quiet now when the man I voted for in hope of peace with Russia and Syria is going to cause a world fucking war over the same tired bullshit NK has been pulling for decades now.  It doesn't matter how many nukes they have, if we don't attack them.. they're not attacking us.  The US is the only country stupid enough to think deterrent means active declaration of war.  Wake up fool.. we're on the brink of the end our entire way of life... but yeah it's all about who didn't complain while Obama was in office. Fuck you.

Bill of Rights's picture

You did huh funny I don't recall you saying much maybe in private. Not that I belive a single word you Wrote your " Fuck you " at the end of your story blew your credibility out the window .

edotabin's picture

And here I was, thinking the last part was put there to add emphasis

general ambivalent's picture

Reminder that Bill of Rights was one of the people calling for anyone opposed to The Goldman Brotherhood to be sent to FEMA camps.

People like him are as much a part of the swamp as the Clintons.

The Cooler King's picture

"we're on the brink of the end our entire way of life"


Man, I sure hope so. This shit's gotta end sooner or later. (although I was more hopin' for the GIANT METEOR option, which is why I voted for it).

edotabin's picture

Is this because of general dissatisfaction or because of ideological reasons about the foundation being rotten etc?

nobodysfool's picture

"I spent months during the buildup to Libya begging people to give a shit.  I spent a year protesting the buildup to Syria. "

Get a job!

general ambivalent's picture

Oh my God, you fucking Drumpftard shits. He never said anything about Obama. 

But that's all you have left, 'MUH HILLARY,' 'MUHBAMA'. Your Goldman Brotherhood selection is just bad WWF buffoonery on top of the same old shit. Do us all a favour and kill yourselves.

(And I welcome the childish response, 'Make me...' It's about as libtard as you can get.)

DEMIZEN's picture

Aren't military plans and strategies supposed to be kept a secret?

Wile-E-Coyote's picture

Yesss, this is classic misdirection they probably intend to use submarine launched cruise missiles.

scubapro's picture


nothing, nothing could be more foolish or expensive.     when a little brat kid tries to challenge a much older stronger kid, the bigger kid's best actions are to ignore and leave, there is no upside for the stronger party to be pre-emtive.

Honey-Badger's picture

Military doesn't reveal shit if it is serious, this is all fear mongering and theatre.

Look a squirrel!

Winston Churchill's picture

Who says the B1 can't carry nukes ?

Soo Xi and Putin will take Uncle Scams word, I don't think so.

This is getting so stupid I want to scream.Its a nightmare that won't stop.

Ms No's picture

Anything can probably carry a nuke if they desire it to. They also might be full of BS and actually planning on using subs.  With Russia and China having their back against the wall (they know it's coming anyway and Russian sanctions will just continue to weaken Russia) maybe this is a trap.


Thom Paine's picture

If the US were to preemptively strike NK, it would HAVE to be more than just some submarines launching missiles.

NK has a massive amount of artillery along the NK SK border capable of making a mess of all SK cities along the border.

The USA would have to in very quick order disable NK air defense systems and do very very heavy air raids over the border with evreything they got bombs, missiles to neutralise the artillery ASAP.  And simultaneous missle attacks on their missle systems and aircraft resources, then also neutralise ground forces.

It is a massive complicated and heavily coordinated operation with objective of quickly as possible neutralising as much possible NK threat to SK and Japan.

Then of course there are all those NK subs


It ISNT just firing a few nukes or missles or bomgs into NK!!

Ms No's picture

I don't see it as just lobbing nukes from subs either.  First of all you have to determine what their goal is.  They may do nothing.  They may want to just give Kim a bloody nose so that he retaliates towards SK.  There is a lot of different ways this could go.

If they really wanted to annihilate NK you will not be seeing those lumbering bombers taking off because they are obvious and NK would immediately launch on South Korea and Japan.  We have new tech also.  I believe that  is what we were seeing when this and those other dozen incidents of explosions between China, Japan and Russia were going down (not everybody will agree but I am convinced of it after following them for a long time).  They were all very similar and it appeared as though it might be satellite based and causing whatever on the ground was flammable or explosive to go off.  But would they want to use the new stuff for NK or are they saving that for Russia and China?  I think Russia and China already know and have been hit so they probably would.

What I would guess would happen first would be electronic attack, satellite and sub.  Shortly after the hornets would show up and bombers would be last.  I saw stealths and B2s taking off from Guam when NK was launching over Japan a long time ago and those things are loud slow lumbering beasts and once they takeoff everybody knows.  Stealths are not quiet when they launch, unless they were trying to be obvious at that time.  I got pictures of them even when they were still technically classified.  It was funnier than hell watching all the Japanese pointing at them from the beach "Ooooohh".  It's funny because what is happening now isn't any bigger of a deal than those stunts were.

Conscious Reviver's picture

Ms No you're off the mark on this one. Relax this is not the big show. Nothing is going to happen.

Wile-E-Coyote's picture

I find it curious they need to use aircraft at all.

I think they are trying to provoke Kim into making the first move, then anything that follows is justifiable. As for nuking NK that won't happen either because of the fallout would likely be blown over China.

HRClinton's picture

Re "Who says the B1 can't carry nukes ?"

Well, the US has not been able to miniaturize nukes as fast as the Norks have. (sarc)

According to (((Reuters))), they have been able to miniaturize nukes in weeks, when it took others years.

Beowulf55's picture

19 weeks and you are already up to speed...........Impressive.  I tip my hat to you.


Going to keep an eye on you in the future.

Honey-Badger's picture

Been here for years, (tips hat back)

Ima anal sphincter's picture

This NK shit has become overly nauseating. We "always" have to have a bad guy. What happened to Assad and Syria? Oh...... he's not such a bad guy after-all. Or better yet, we got our ass's kicked and we're picking on somebody else now.

Hopefully the ass-kicking will continue.

Hikikomori's picture

Prediction: Kim Jong Un will be 300 ft underground in a granite, nuclear resistant bunker, unscathed.  After the B-1s leave, he will have one of his submarines fire a missile that will cause a thermonuclear explosion over Tokyo.  Then he'll challenge Trump to "Bring it on".

Fiat Burner's picture

Stupid order followers. Bullshit wars aren't possible without you.

EuroPox's picture

Wow!  That is some crazy shit right there.  There is no way to wipe out all the NOK infrastructure (buried too deep) and I would not want to be living in Seoul if the NOKs notice a bunch of B1s on a 'pre-emptive' strike. 

wavman1's picture

"B1 can't carry nukes. " Do they think we are stupid.

tmosley's picture

Yeah, I didn't get that part either. You can carry a nuke in a largish trunk.

If you can carry more than a half dozen 500 pound bombs, you can carry a fusion weapon.

That is, unless they are just too big to fit through the bomb bay doors or something.

Akzed's picture

Yeah its cup holders can hold Cokes but not Pepsis. Weird, i know.

HRClinton's picture

They can't.  We need Nork technology on how to miniaturize nukes.

According to (((Reuters)), they did it in mere weeks.

Likstane's picture

Sure...because it's always good fighting strategy to tell the guy you're about to punch him in the face

Philo Beddoe's picture

I see your pre emptive strike and will pre empt that with my own pre emption.

Oh yeah, I will see your pre empting of my pre empting and will pre empt you.

Oh yeah, ....

Mustafa Kemal's picture

"Oh yeah, I will see your pre empting of my pre empting and will pre empt you."

Philo, you got it!

Dank fur Kopf's picture

I'm out! Nope. Noooooooo. Nope.

Fisherman Blue's picture

I like it, lets end this central bank shit show the way they love to. 

Bay Area Guy's picture

Bye bye Seoul. We hardly knew you.

HRClinton's picture

Bye bye Samsung, LG, Hyundai and Kia. 

US stock of Apple, GE, Whirlpool, Maytag, Chrysler, Ford and GM to go high. 

When they go low, we go high.