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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headfake's picture

 "ready to fight tonight"

dropping bombs from great heights is not fighting!

CRM114's picture

Yes it is.


It's just not fighting fair ;)



az_patriot's picture

So, how are all the ZH Armchair Generals doing today?  Bloviating already, I see.

Thom Paine's picture

Hillary dear, go back to some blood semen and breast milk drink, then off to bed for you young lady.

az_patriot's picture

The truth is that we've certainly had highly detailed and well thought-out plans for dealing with NK if the need arises.  The comments in this section that argue that we're unprepared, hasty, or incompetent are -- if you'll pardon my Francaise -- fucking stupid.  Some ZH'ers need to go back to their retail jobs and stop playing Commander in Chief.  

I trust Trump.  He's shown restraint.  If he decides to take out NK's military infrastructure -- even pre-emptively -- I fully support it.

rwe2late's picture



but no matter how "detailed and well thought-out",

that does NOT mean justifiable, reasonable, legal, Constitutional, or moral

or exempt from criticism and opposition

particularly so long as anything resembling free speech (which you admittedly oppose)

still exists

dirty fingernails's picture

No, historical (since 9/11/01 anyway) right wing ideology states that dissent and criticism are considered treason, unless the prez is a Dem, then anything is ok. Its the very definition of hypocracy.

Ms No's picture

Some of you warmongers in the US that sit back on lazy boy and watch millions die everywhere over your lifetime, cheering it on, are very soon going to find out what war on your own soil feels like.  The banks aren't going to leave the US out this time.  China has been backing NK since the Korean war.  This could be a total trap.  You can't bomb that Continent with out engaging China, genius.  Hawaii goes, Japan goes, Guam goes then you go.  Your Pacific fleet could be a reef within hours of China engaging.  All for what?  The same threats that have been made for the last ten years and people's egos?

China and Russia know that the empire is growing weak.  They are having trouble holding on to Iraq and Afghanistan right now.  ROFL  You got yourself to excited watching your government slaughter goat herders and you are about to find out what real war on your own soil is.

dirty fingernails's picture

Well said. The most likely spark is the orange buffon's super fragile ego.

Bai Suzhen's picture

The truth is, the US certainly has highly detailed and well thought out plans (that part could be questioned, for sure) for dealing with any place, anywhere, if the "need" arises.  Those plans probably include most parts of the US, too. 

vietnamvet's picture

Only a completely fucking idiot trusts our sword-dancing orb-polishing double-dealing terrorist supporting traitor of a President.

I tell you what is really sad, I totally trust Kim to do what he says.  Trump?  Only braindead Trumpets like yourself trusts anything Trump says.

Hey "patriot" if you're so hot for supporting an aggressive fucking war, how about you put your treasonous ass on the front line?

CRM114's picture

Aircrew being ready to fight tonight has been the case for over 50 years, and when Saddam attacked Kuwait we grabbed the bag we'd packed for desert warfare (we had a bag for every climate zone) and were on our way within hours.

So has has planning for all kinds of strikes, including pre-emptive.

So, why is the media, including ZH, suddenly acting like this is a new thing?

jughead's picture

put yourself in Kim Ding Dongs shoes.  He may or may not have some usable nukes.  Now he reads all about America's plans to take his toys away before he can use them.   Do you wait and get your toys taken away, or do you use them and hope for the best?

If I were this fat little shit I would be launching everything I have about now. 

CRM114's picture

He has doubtless always had concerns about a US pre-emptive strike, as has every non-NATO nation. That's why the Pakistanis, for example, have always refused to allow the Americans knowledge of their access and launch procedures.

He has two basic possible philosophies.

The first is to acquire, perfect, and then maintaina redy-use nuclear strike force in order to maintain NK's independence, and therefore his rulership. This would end if he ever used those weapons with the inevitable US retaliation.

The second is that he considers the destruction of US influence to be worth the risk. This might mean he is considering an EMP strike on the US mainland, either from submarine, containership, or fake satellite launched nukes. With no direct immediate deaths, he may consider that the US would not launch a nuclear counterstrike, and anything else will likely not lead to his loss of power.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Okay... Looking forward to missing tonight's preseason football watching instead the end of my Country's existence!

Stan522's picture

WTF....! Is this simply a "trial-balloon" to see how the American public would react, or simply blabber-mouthing your intent...? I thought Trump did not want to broadcast his plans, so what else could this be other than a trial balloon, or perhaps a threat directed at the NORK's?

Thom Paine's picture

This just more rattling of China's cage to do something.

The US would NOT attack the NK without it being massive overwhelming force, otherwise the NK artillery all along the border would reduce Seoul to ashes quick.

I canot believe the number of idiots around thinking it serious the US would go send some bombers to start a war that would destroy major parts of SK and no doubt Japan.

JimmyRainbow's picture

just have someone whispering in trumps ear that all is fine with bombing a bit ......

Anteater's picture

Hey, it successfully pushed the Trump-Kushner-Manafort treason

investigation back below the fold, again, and reinforced that the

NORKS HAVE THE BMOB! Big Lie that the Luciferian Satanists at

Pentagon have been pushing for 54 YEARS NOW, again, and no

explanation or audit of where our 'soon to be insolvent' SS/MC

TRUST FUNDS are disappearing to.

Able Ape's picture

If not attacking or invading another country for over 60 years gets a country's leadership labeled as crazy and looney, then WHAT's wrong with being NUTS?...

aloha_snakbar's picture

Very thoughtful that each side is giving the other a timeline for everything they are going to do. Maybe they can use an app like Google Calendar so everyone can be on the same page..LOL...

Hey Trump... I might have an attack of explosive/projectile diahhrea tonight...make sure you put that down so my house does not get nuked...

headfake's picture

exactly...thats why its a load of bollocks

Ms No's picture

It might be BS that they are going to do exactly what they say they are going to do, but they have to do something.  The empire can't be punked out infront of the whole world and not respond.  The empire exists because of threat of force.  If nobody fears it anymore then it's over.

Everybody knows this, and with China backing NK, the real question is why are they provoking this right now? 

Blanco Diablo's picture

Unlike Duterte's Islands, It must be to cold in NK to send in our ISIS Dune Koons.

Harbourcity's picture

""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."


Are these people that stupid?  Any attack on Pyongyang is an act of war.

Taras Bulba's picture

To answer your question, yes they are that stupid!

But again, war mongering neo cons do not ever worry about the consequences of their stupidity.

dirty fingernails's picture

Yep, its on display right here on ZH in all of its painful ignorance, hate, and lack of any coherent "strategery". American exceptionalism, once again gambling with everyone else's lives because _______

Corey331's picture

Bombing dont escelate anything lol

the French bitch's picture

What is Lil Kim doing wrong?  He's trying to protect his country just like other nuclear countries such as US, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Israel, Pakistan, South Africa, hunh?


NickPeeMe's picture
Unveils Plan? Is that a good Idea? What about the element of surprize? That used to be a good idea in war time. Are we going to Unveil a specific date and time for  NK too? Man that Drumpf is a geniuos.
DjangoCat's picture

Well Nick, I am finally on your side with this.  Maybe you're not such a bad sort after all.  But do you really get the point that in the real world, nobody would reveal the "plan"?  So not to worry, its all theater and when the curtain gets pulled back we will see what's really going on.

Probably just distraction from Wells Fargo's latest revealed fraud.

trueFacts's picture

sadly, this could solve the automobile inventory problem. ...but that would be a cynical thought.

jughead's picture

Fucking morons...paste this shit all over the news so Kim Ding Dong feels like he's in a corner where he either has to use whatever he might have, or lose them.   

tkelo's picture

I wonder if this is all a setup by the deep state. They're pushing for war with NK because they know it's one that Trump will go along with. He orders a strike which fails / results in deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans, South Koreans, or Japanese and is forced to resign over the fuck-up.


tangent's picture

I suppose they are coming with a blank on how to convert a war with North Korea into a war with Russia. They can't settle for China because their factories would be at risk.

Heywood Jablomi's picture

No, not Russia but Iran. The DS will find "evidence" of something linking Iran to NK. Then occupied Palestine will begin bombing Iran.

Bai Suzhen's picture

DS setup?  Your guess is as good as mine.  But, really, DS is pushing for war all around the globe.  Iran, Russia, China, NK, to name a few.  This goes with their wonderful track record in Iraq, Syria, Libya, parts of Africa, and a few other places we may not even know about. 

south40_dreams's picture

Democrats are praying for nuclear Armageddon just like they pray for weather apocalypse. The democrats have become a death cult just like their sister organization the mooslims

Anteater's picture

McCain and the Republican Congress looted $50 BILLION

from our US Treasury in July, 2015 to prop up the Israeli

Junta coup in Ukraine, and then Trump:Kushner and the

Republican Congress just sold $112 BILLION of tactical

and theater weapons to al-Saud Wahabbi terrorist head-

choppers, and now Trump unilaterally threatens WW3

against DPRK, because ... Democrats? Really?

You gotta ease up on the crack, Jack!

dirty fingernails's picture

Hey, jackass partisan moron, the Dems aren't in power any more. Your savior is the one trying to convince the world he isn't an impotent moron. Failing badly at that, too, I should add.

tangent's picture

A pre-emptive strike, as invented by Adolf Hitler and other tyrants before being extensively adopted by the United States against small countries that didn't help their bankers, is invalid as an idea. The obvious move here by Trump is to shower North Korea with cheap smart phones modified to have satellite internet access. He could get away with bombing North Korea so long as his payload is the internet. Not that the United States has any moral authority to tell other countries that they cannot have nuclear weapons.

Anteater's picture

Or instead of B-1s loaded with cluster bmobs, and white phosphorus bmobs,

with MOABs and nukes, instead load them up with Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

hanging from little white parachutes trailing tiny American flags. And strapped

on the bottom of each RPBC, wrapped in a gold lame 'Ivanka' ribbon, a fresh

$100 bill from Fiat Fed. 10,000 RPBCs would cost US only $1,000,000, instead

of the $754,000,000,000 we're grifting the Luciferian Satanists to destroy USA.

Bai Suzhen's picture

Pretty much the only thing the US has going for it is air power.  And that is questionable, if a couple of carriers are sunk.  NK can't do any of that, but that's the point.  The US military is great for air pounding third world countries.  Boots (or is it high heels, today) on the ground in a place like Korea is another thing, altogether. 

Boogity's picture

The Norks beat our azzz once before and they'll do it again if we try any shit.  Hell, our "mighty" LGBT-infested military can't even beat untrained Afghan Muzzies who fight with 40 year-old rebuilt AK47's and IED's made from used cell phone parts. 

With the notable exception of Ronny Raygun's courageous invasion of Grenada, the USA hasn't actually won a war since WW2, and even then it was because the Russkies did the beat down on the Nazi war machine while we fiddle-ficked around in the Pacific fighting the outmanned and outgunned Nips.    

GunnyG's picture

You might want to do some reading up on the Korean Conflict. The Marines were pissing in the Yalu River when the UN and the Democrats in Congress and the WH ordered them back to the 37th Parallel and stalemated the war. It was much the same thing when the Democrats played General and fucked up and the lost the Vietnam war after they cut and ran. 

Oh, and BTW, w/o US giving a shitload of stuff to the Russkies in WW2, from bullets to planes, they would have lost. Lend Lease is something you might to research.

aloha_snakbar's picture

Just a ginormous distraction, that has little if anything to do with NK bombing anyone/anything, except maybe open water. At the risk of sounding like a raving lunatic on a street corner, shits about to get real, and it has *nothing* to do with NK...

DjangoCat's picture

The publication of "plans" by both sides is a real tell that all this is bullshit.  Why would either side make their intentions known if the situation were serious.