Sunday, March 31, 2013

North Korea Vows to Keep Nuclear Arms and Fix Economy

I think this article is important.  It sums up most clearly Kim Jong-un's mindset and intent.   Too often we dismiss such statements as propaganda and thus we do not take them seriously.  But many of their past statements have shown exactly what they intended to do and then actually did do.  Excerpts:

…saying that his country was determined to rebuild its economy in the face of international sanctions while simultaneously expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal, which the ruling party called “the nation’s life.”
But a growing number of analysts also say that North Korea seems to have no intention of giving up its nuclear arms. “The enemies are using both blackmail, telling us that we cannot achieve economic development unless we give up nuclear weapons, and appeasement, saying that they will help us live well if we choose a different path,” Mr. Kim was quoted as saying during the meeting on Sunday.
On Sunday, officials at the plenary meeting made that stance formal, adopting a statement calling the North’s nuclear weapons a “treasure” that will not be traded for “billions of dollars,” because they “represent the nation’s life, which can never be abandoned as long as imperialists and nuclear threats exist on earth.

But we have to understand that the Myanmar "model" is not one that the north will except (just like they will except neither the Libya nor the Iraq "models").  To accept them in their mind means that the Kim Family Regime will end up like Qaddafi and Saddam. Per the statements above Kim flatly rejects this.
Both President Obama and his national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, have recently urged Mr. Kim to learn from Myanmar, where changes initiated by new leaders have resulted in billions in debt forgiveness, large-scale development assistance and an influx of foreign investment. It North Korea continues on its current path, they said, it will face more sanctions and deeper isolation.
However I think the highlighted sentence below is exactly right.  Kim is playing to his domestic political audience, elite and people alike but he is also looking to be able to gain political and economic concessions from the international community. 
American and South Korean officials still hope they can persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons through sanctions and diplomacy, especially if China agrees to use its economic leverage with the North. Many regional analysts and officials have suggested that the North’s recent strident language, including threats to attack the United States and South Korea with nuclear weapons, is intended not only to solidify Mr. Kim’s military credentials at home but also to draw the United States back to the negotiating table.
 But that is the paradox that the regime does not understand.  It believes that the tension it causes will coerce the international community into relenting and giving them what they want but unfortunately most of the key players in the international community are resolved not to give in to the blackmail diplomacy and given the current situation they find it politically unacceptable even if policy makers were inclined to do so.
North Korea Vows to Keep Nuclear Arms and Fix Economy

Published: March 31, 2013

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s leader on Sunday announced a “new strategic line” that defied warnings from Washington, saying that his country was determined to rebuild its economy in the face of international sanctions while simultaneously expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal, which the ruling party called “the nation’s life.”

The North’s nuclear weapons “are neither a political bargaining chip nor a thing for economic dealings,” the official Korean Central News Agency reported, citing remarks from the plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party, which adopted new guidelines for the country.

The North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, presided over the meeting, which South Korean news media said was convened for the first time since 1993. The rare event came a day before the planned gathering of the North’s rubber-stamp Parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly, which was expected to follow up on the new guidelines adopted by the party.

The party meeting took place against the backdrop of joint military exercises in South Korea involving American and South Korean forces. On Sunday, American F-22 stealth fighter jets were flown from a base in Japan to South Korea to join the exercises, according to an American military statement. In past weeks, B-52 and B-2 bombers offered a demonstration of American air power as part of the exercises.

American and South Korean officials still hope they can persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons through sanctions and diplomacy, especially if China agrees to use its economic leverage with the North. Many regional analysts and officials have suggested that the North’s recent strident language, including threats to attack the United States and South Korea with nuclear weapons, is intended not only to solidify Mr. Kim’s military credentials at home but also to draw the United States back to the negotiating table.

But a growing number of analysts also say that North Korea seems to have no intention of giving up its nuclear arms. “The enemies are using both blackmail, telling us that we cannot achieve economic development unless we give up nuclear weapons, and appeasement, saying that they will help us live well if we choose a different path,” Mr. Kim was quoted as saying during the meeting on Sunday.
(Continued at the link below)

U.S. Moves Stealth Fighters to South Korea

More demonstration of strength and resolve.

In response to this article and my comments about strength and resolve I received a response asking if we would really respond to north Korean actions and whether the deployment of the F-22s was only more US bluster.  He commented that given the last decade plus of Afghanistan and Iraq are we sure we would really conduct any kind of military operation against north Korea? Here is my response:

Do you think that the US will not respond if US forces or installations are attacked?  Do you think that the US will not  meet its commitments under the ROK/US Mutual Defense Treaty?  Do you think the US would or should do neither because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Do you really think that the US would not respond if the north employed a nuclear weapon? Have we completely given up declaratory policy?   Your comments seem to imply that we won't or can't (or should not?) respond.  If you think that President Obama would accept such recommendations and not act to either defend US personnel or interests or meet US treaty obligations then I can only assume that you believe the US should therefore abrogate all treaties to which it is a party and bring all US forces home (and go immediately to global zero).  If we are unwilling to defend ourselves and our allies because of Iraq and Afghanistan then we are in deep trouble indeed.  
·       ASIA NEWS
·       Updated March 31, 2013, 10:03 a.m. ET
U.S. Moves Stealth Fighters to South Korea

WASHINGTON—U.S. F-22 stealth fighter jets arrived in South Korea on Sunday for joint exercises, U.S. defense officials said, the latest demonstration of advanced military capabilities meant to deter provocations from Pyongyang.

The arrival of the F-22s came after previous displays of U.S. air power that included B-52 bombers and B-2 stealth bombers. The F-22s are ordinarily stationed in Japan at Kadena air force base, but flew to Osan Air Base in South Korea for the continuing exercises.

How far did B-2 stealth bombers travel for a "practice run" in South Korea? Why is North Korea threatening missile strikes against U.S. cities like Austin, Texas? WSJ's Jason Bellini has the Short Answer.

F-22 fighters, among the most expensive and advanced weapons in the U.S. Air Force arsenal, are capable of evading radar and air-defense systems.

More on Korean Tensions
(Continued at the link below)

North Korea: Nuclear weapons are a 'treasure'

Nuclear weapons are probably the most important thing to the Kim Family Regime.  In the regime's calculus they are key to deterring outside attack, the provide the foundation for blackmail diplomacy, and the can be the source of hard currency.  In my opinion there is almost no hope of coercing or co-opting the Kim Family Regime to give up their nuclear program (and missile as well).  As long as there is a Kim Family Regime we will have a problem with a nuclear capability on the Peninsula.   Excerpt:
North Korea's nuclear weapons are a "treasure" not to be traded for "billions of dollars," the statement said. They "are neither a political bargaining chip nor a thing for economic dealings to be presented to the place of dialogue or be put on the table of negotiations aimed at forcing (Pyongyang) to disarm itself," it said. 
North Korea's "nuclear armed forces represent the nation's life, which can never be abandoned as long as the imperialists and nuclear threats exist on earth," the statement said.

North Korea: Nuclear weapons are a 'treasure'
Foster Klug, Associated Press
11:31a.m. EDT March 31, 2013

North Korea has called the U.S. nuclear arsenal a threat to its existence since the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula still technically at war. Pyongyang justifies its own nuclear pursuit in large part on that perceived U.S. threat.

  • North Korea's 'nuclear armed forces' represent 'nation's life,' statement says
  • Kim Jong Un presided over meeting that called for stronger nuclear arsenal
  • North Korea issued a warning Saturday that Korean Peninsula was in 'state of war'
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A top North Korean decision-making body issued a pointed warning Sunday, saying that nuclear weapons are "the nation's life" and will not be traded even for "billions of dollars."

The comments came in a statement released after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presided over the plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party. The meeting, which set a "new strategic line" calling for building both a stronger economy and nuclear arsenal, comes amid a series of near-daily threats from Pyongyang in recent weeks, including a vow to launch nuclear strikes on the United States and a warning Saturday that the Korean Peninsula was in a "state of war."

Pyongyang is angry over annual U.S.-South Korean military drills and a new round of U.N. sanctions that followed its Feb. 12 nuclear test, the country's third. Analysts see a full-scale North Korean attack as unlikely and say the threats are more likely efforts to provoke softer policies toward Pyongyang from a new government in Seoul, to win diplomatic talks with Washington that could get the North more aid, and to solidify the young North Korean leader's image and military credentials at home.

North Korea made reference to those outside views in the statement it released through the official Korean Central News Agency following the plenary meeting.
(Continued at the link below)

The secret item found in every North Korean home

Received from another Korean expert (I have a number of mentors on Korea) in response to the article and my comments below.
Targeting the minds of North Koreans will be, in the end, the most effective force, kinetic or non-kinetic, in establishing a base for intellectual resistance to the Kim Family Regime.  Transitioning that intellectual resistance to physical force is another thing under the current conditions of complete dominance of the tools of force by the regime.  But without the willingness to believe in values and beliefs counter to the regime, willingness to act is impossible.  The more counter-regime psyop the better.  This calls for ingenuity and one has to believe that the boys at Ft. Bragg can do it.  Now we just need the policy makers to give the go ahead.  Perhaps some of those visiting B2's can drop radios instead of ordnance...just kidding…not
I would just add this.   I would not necessarily use direct counter propaganda but instead try to show that Juche has corrupted true Korean culture and that in the end the north and South Koreans are more alike than different and that their true Korean culture that has been suppressed does allow them to have the values and beliefs that will allow for unification. Totally rejecting everything the population in the north has experienced may be more psychologically damaging and may lead to more resistance in the long run.   We cannot even vilify the Kim Family too much at first.  We do not want to undercut the individual's identity too much, too fast (and in actuality we need to help individuals reclaim their individuality).  Too many individuals are still likely to have a belief in the system thinking about the good old days when Kim Il-Sung was alive.  (Note when I use "we" I mean the ROK/US Alliance with the ROK in the lead with US support.)

Orignal Comments:  

Another indicator of why we should and can develop and execute an effective ROK/US Alliance influence campaign (PSYOP/MISO) to target the north Korean population (and one that should also target the second tier leadership as well).  The comprehensive plan is necessary now to achieve the effects at the unknown time in the future when we will need those effects to have been achieved.  We cannot wait to execute PSYOP after the crisis occurs.

The secret item found in every North Korean home

‘South Korean’ at home, ‘North Korean’ outside the home

Many North Korean families keep a secret item at home, whose discovery may lead to harsh punishment. Away from prying eyes and in the privacy of their homes, North Koreans enjoy using items forbidden by the state, according to North Koreans recently escaped from the country.
“In every North Korean home, there is at least one secret item” says Jung Young-chul* (age 34), who escaped from North Korea in 2012. He had a short-wave radio in the house and the family would secretly listen to South Korean broadcasts. To avoid being caught, they kept the radio hidden under a container for keeping rice.

They were not the only ones with a hidden radio. Jung continues, “Once, a friend described a story that I had heard the night before while listening to a South Korean broadcast. I brought it up with him one night in drink, and he confided that his family too had a radio. We laughed about it together.”

Kim Hee-young is from Chongjin and also escaped from North Korea in 2012. She tells us, “We secretly traded South Korean TV shows in the markets and they always went very quickly. We ran out of stock on most days.” She added how outside the home, North Koreans would dutifully obey the cultural restrictions enforced by the state. Yet at home, Hee-young describes how everything is different: “Where I lived, I would guess that almost every family owned a South Korean TV show. You can’t borrow what you want to watch if you don’t have something to trade it for, so everyone liked to keep at least one show at home.”
(Continued at the link below)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

North Korea: What happens if Kim Jong-un acts on his threats?

If I had been asked I would have challenged this comment (while still agreeing and emphasizing that PSYOP/MISO is critically important)
One key focus for the US and South Korean militaries would be psychological operations, which would be focused on trying “to dissuade the North Korean public from believing all this propaganda they’ve been hearing their whole lives.” 

PSYOP illustrates best a variation of one of the five SOF truths:  "Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur" which I would adapt and say PSYOP cannot be effective if it is not used until a crisis occurs. Nowhere is this more important than on the Korean Peninsula.  More than anything else to prepare for war or regime collapse, PSYOP must be conduct now, an influence campaign targeting not only the population but also the second tier leadership has to start now (or should have begun 17 years ago when we recommended it to the SECDEF as part of CONPLAN 5029). It is a critical component of preparation of the environment.

North Korea: What happens if Kim Jong-un acts on his threats?

In the event that the 'bellicose rhetoric' of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un turns into something more serious, the opening hours of conflict could be 'pretty ugly,' defense analysts warn.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during a meeting of information workers of the whole army at the April 25 House of Culture in Pyongyang, March 28, 2013.

By Anna Mulrine, Staff writer / March 29, 2013 at 6:19 pm EDT

Veteran North Korea watchers, citing what they see as increasingly troubling signs coming from the dictatorial regime, are voicing concerns that its new young leader, Kim Jong-un, could do something ill-advised, even start a war.

On Friday North Korea renewed what the U.S. has condemned as its “bellicose rhetoric,” saying Kim had ordered the nation’s missile forces to prepare to strike the United States and South Korea.

In response to the prospect of North Korea following through on this and other marginally less dire threats, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday that the US military “will unequivocally defend, and [is] unequivocally committed to the alliance with, South Korea.”

But if hostilities were in fact to erupt, how might they play out?

Some former US Special Operations Forces and longtime Korea defense analysts have their own thoughts on what an “unequivocal” US military response could look like, including how US troops would be deployed in the event of a lethal first strike on US and allied military forces by North Korea – precisely the sort of move Mr. Kim has been threatening to make.

What would such a first North Korean move resemble? It might involve small-scale infiltrations using mini-submarines, assassination attempts, “maybe shooting someone on the DMZ [demilitarized zone] or missile tests that fly too close over Japan,” says Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.

This might be done “to show he’s in charge, he won’t be intimidated, or because he’s truly desperate,” Dr. Cronin says.

In the past, most such provocations generally have been met with international condemnation and strengthened sanctions.

Should Kim choose to do “something even more outlandish,” the US military and South Korean response would be more dire, he adds.

One of the scenarios that most concerns US defense analysts, for example, involves North Korea’s estimated 500,000 to 700,000 rounds of artillery aimed at Seoul, says retired Brig. Gen. Russell Howard, former commander of the 1st Special Forces Group, which has an Asia focus. 
(Continued at the link below)

U.S. Pledges Further Show of Force in Korea

As counterintuitive as it is to some, the demonstration os Alliance strength and resolve remains the best way to prevent escalation and deter the ultimate catastrophe: a deliberate attack and war.  The minute that there is an exposure of daylight within the Alliance or weakness or lack of commitment on the part of the US, the north will exploit that.  Yes the regime has to figure out an off ramp as Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il would have done, but a show of Alliance weakness will confirm their playbook and then we will see more.  Of course because of miscalculation due to Kim Jong-un's inexpereince we could see it anyway and that is of course a big fear, but it is better that we are ready and that we make every effort to deter it with the only thing the regime respects: strength and power; than to sit back and let it happen.

Some very good indicators of leadership on the Peninsula here:

"It was as if it could have been real," said Mark Lippert, an assistant defense secretary for Asia, who traveled to South Korea along with Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. Gen. Thurman "was going through the options in a way that instills a lot of confidence." 
Gen. Thurman remains in constant contact with top South Korean political and military leaders and delivers regular detailed updates to Washington on the situation, said Mr. Lippert.
GEN Thurman has not been caught up in the rhetoric but instead quietly continues to ensure readiness and provide military options to the Military Committee and the National Military and Command Authorities of the Alliance which is exactly what a military leader should be doing in times of crisis.  He is keeping all the options open to allow political leaders to frame the policy and determine the appropriate response.

GEN Thurman is providing a lesson in Generalship.

  • March 29, 2013, 7:05 p.m. ET
U.S. Pledges Further Show of Force in Korea
Officials Aim to Discourage Pyongyang From Rash Action With More Displays of Military Might, Following B-2 Flyover

Associated Press
North Koreans punch the air during a mass rally at Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang on Friday, amid escalating tensions.

WASHINGTON—American defense officials are vowing additional displays of advanced U.S. military might as they continue joint maneuvers with South Korea in the midst of growing tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Defense officials declined to detail their next steps, citing operational security concerns. But a new show of force would come after a pair of B-2 bombers flew over South Korea on Thursday and dropped dummy munitions. Earlier this month, U.S. B-52s flew over the peninsula.

The assertive U.S. response came in an intensifying exchange of threats and oaths with North Korea and as Russia and China appealed for calm. U.S. officials are seeking to dissuade Pyongyang from rash steps while assuring allies that, if necessary, American force would be used to defend them.

Pentagon officials said they expected to see still-more-heated rhetoric from North Korea. With joint U.S.-South Korean exercises scheduled to last for about 45 more days, there also will be additional demonstrations of American firepower.
"The United States will continue to demonstr
ate unique advanced capabilities as these exercises continue," said a defense official.

Although the use of U.S. heavy bombers risks provoking the North into a dangerous miscalculation, U.S. officials believe the joint exercises with South Korea ultimately will have a stabilizing effect.

How far did B-2 stealth bombers travel for a "practice run" in South Korea? Why is North Korea threatening missile strikes against U.S. cities like Austin, Texas? WSJ's Jason Bellini has the Short Answer.

In the U.S. view, provocations by Kim Jong Eun, the young North Korean leader, so far have been variations on actions taken by Pyongyang in the past.
"The North is running the same playbook, but using their more aggressive options. Everything they have done, they have done before," said the defense official. "The real worry will be when they throw out the playbook."

A key unanswered question, one U.S. official said, is how much risk Mr. Kim was willing to take to show "he's a tough guy."

"His inexperience is certain—his wisdom is still very much in question," the U.S. official said.
Seoul is expected to respond militarily should Mr. Kim go beyond threats and do something akin to attacking a South Korean ship, as North Korea did three years ago.
Korea Real Time
Under a U.S.-South Korean "counterprovocation plan" completed earlier this month, Seoul will have a framework for responding to the North's belligerence, according to a senior U.S. defense official.
The agreement establishes both a minimum- and maximum-level response that should be taken by Seoul to future provocations by Pyongyang, with U.S. backing.

Creating an agreed-on response, U.S. officials argue, ensures that the South responds forcefully—theoretically not in a manner that escalates the crisis, but instead deters the North from further attacks.
The top American commander on the peninsula, Army Gen. J.D. Thurman, helped devise the counterprovocation plan.
(Continued at the link below)

Friday, March 29, 2013


I would say that as much as we need Joint UW Doctrine we need an interagency framework as well.  

But most importantly: We need Strategists and Policy makers who have a deep understanding of and value the strategic options of UW and Counter-UW. 



 By Maj. Robert S. Burrell, USMC 
Warfare in the 21st Century has changed, and the use of large conventional military forces to achieve the United States’ (US’) objectives, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, has proven a costly and dangerous option for addressing today’s security challenges. Irregular threats – derived from terrorist organizations, intrastate competition, weak and failing states, transnational crime, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction – have superseded the danger of state versus state confrontation with traditional military weapons and battlefield tactics.1 

 The US appears unprepared to successfully influence rapidly evolving aspects of regional instability. In January 2011, social media (e.g., blogs, social-network sites, video sharing, and Twitter) played a significant role in organizing and sustaining mass protest in Egypt, a major US ally.2 In a mere eighteen days, a change in Egyptian government transpired, significantly influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood.3 In February 2011, a rapid Libyan rebellion caught the US off guard, creating more opportunities for non-state actors like the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda to influence the political landscape. In 2011 and 2012, the US appeared unable to successfully influence a Syrian revolutionary movement toward one consistent with democracy and human rights, as opposed to the intolerance and radicalism of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.4 Even more disconcerting, the growing collaboration of transnational criminal organizations with terrorist organizations in ungoverned spaces (e.g., Northwestern Africa) poses a serious threat to international security. 

Irregular threats are not confined to the Middle East and Northern Africa. After six years of repulsive violence in Mexico, an estimated 47,000 people have died as a result of conflict with transnational criminal organizations. US objectives to end government corruption and provide stability in its nearest neighbor have proven unsuccessful, and the potential of a failed state remains.5 In order to effectively counter emerging irregular threats, the US should develop joint doctrine for unconventional warfare (UW). 

UW is an increasingly viable US strategic option. UW supports US policy with few resources, low casualty risk, and negates anti-access capabilities of hostile states. The joint definition for UW is: “Activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt, or overthrow a government or occupying power by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary, and guerilla force in a denied area.”6 

UW supports opposition groups to a state government or occupying power. US objectives range from the coercion of a hostile state, disruption of that state’s activities, or complete overthrow of its government. In UW, the US uses a surrogate to pursue its objectives, which is an indirect approach versus the direct application of US military power. Additionally, UW is conducted in a denied area, which is an area unsuitable for a conventional US campaign due to geographic, military, economic, or political factors. 

The five pillars of irregular warfare (IW) consist of: UW, foreign internal defense (FID), stability operations (STABOPS), counterterrorism (CT), and counterinsurgency (COIN).7 Irregular threats associated with IW activities normally occur simultaneously within the same region. Consequently, a UW campaign must also consider the relationships and activities of allied, neutral, and hostile countries while providing regional stability and addressing irregular threats within nation states. 

Remainder of the article can be downloaded in PDF from here:

Here is the link to the entire Air Land Sea Bulletin:

Director’s Comments .........................................................3 
Joint Doctrine for Unconventional Warfare ....................4 
Articulating the Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational Biometrics Operating Model in the United States (US) Africa Command Area of Responsibility ......................................................................................8 
Integrating Conventional Aviation with Special Operations Forces (SOF) is like Running a Marathon at a Sprint Pace .........................................................................14 
Unity of Command Should Guide 
SOF and GPF Integration ................................................18 
Integrating Village Stability Operations into a Conventional Force Battlespace ................................................…

The Failure of Deterrence in Korea

I have to take exception to the title.  There may be a failure of the perception of deterrence on the part of some, but we do continue to be successful in deterring the worst case and that is a deliberate attack by the north.

The Failure of Deterrence in Korea

In a poll released last month by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, 66 percent of South Koreans said they wanted their country to develop nuclear weapons to ward off attacks from North Korea. In fact, only 48 percent of the population last year believed America would use nukes to retaliate against a North Korean nuclear strike against them, down 7 percent from 2011.

The survey by the private think tank in Seoul is a clear vote of “no confidence” in the US, which has, by treaty, since 1953, pledged to defend the South, with nukes if necessary. If the South Koreans trusted Washington, they would not want to have their own arsenal of the world’s most destructive weapons. 

And if this many South Koreans suspect Washington’s resolve, it’s a safe bet that many policymakers in Beijing and Pyongyang doubt America as well. China and North Korea have increased their war-mongering rhetoric conspicuously of late, and both are behaving arrogantly, as if they think they can push the US out of Asia.

In the Cold War, the Soviets—and the Western Europeans—believed America would counterattack a strike by the Warsaw Pact forces. That deterrent threat maintained an uneasy but enduring peace along the Iron Curtain. Now, it appears that South Koreans’ confidence in the US commitment is eroding, along with their confidence in the security guarantees of the American “nuclear umbrella.”

As local trust in the viability of the US nuclear deterrence has eroded, so has deterrence against conventional attacks. In 2010, the North killed 50 South Koreans in two horrific incidents, the sinking of the Cheonan in March—46 sailors dead—and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November—four killed, two of them civilians.

To prevent further attacks, Washington on Monday announced the signing of a “South Korean-led, US-supported” defense pact to counter hostile acts. Seoul and Washington think that reducing the “combined counterprovocation plan” to paper will help contain Pyongyang’s threat. The concept is that the US, by promising to act against even small provocations, will prevent the North from committing any assaults.  
(Continued at the link below)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

US Army Pacific - AUSA Guide to Pacific Land Power

Some good background and useful and interesting information.

This is an interesting comment  - "The ROK will take the lead of its territorial defense by assuming overall coalition command and control functions."

Maybe I am reading too much between the lines here but that could be interpreted as a ROK General taking command of the ROK/US Combined Forces Command.

U.S. Stealth Bombers in Dry Run Over S.Korea

I know this is old news for everyone but there is one thing about this article that is interesting.

More often than not whenever the Korean press reports on US Forces they use US Forces Korea (USFK) and rarely use the ROK/US Combined Forces Command.

Whether deliberate or coincidence, it does illustrate the importance of the combined command because as we all should know that is the war fighting command and USFK is merely a force provider to that command.  But too often the press will use USFK and will even erroneously say that USFK has OPCON of ROK forces.  But in this report they acknowledge that the statements about the B-2 are coming from the ROK/US Combined Forces Command and not USFK.  Some may think this is semantics.  I think that is significant. 

U.S. Stealth Bombers in Dry Run Over S.Korea
U.S. stealth bombers conducted a mock bombing run over a firing range on the island of Jikdo off Gunsan on Thursday, according to the Combined Forces Command. 

The B-2 bombers, the most expensive aircraft in the world at about US$2 billion apiece, have conducted secret bombing runs over the Korean Peninsula several times, but this is the first time their dry runs have been made public.

U.S. military authorities apparently decided to announce them because they wanted to send a warning message to North Korea in response to recent belligerent rhetoric and dampen mounting calls from South Korea to build its own nuclear weapons.

Two B-2 bombers took off from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri on Wednesday night and flew 10,500 km for more than 15 hours, being refueled in mid-air. They arrived in the air over the Jikdo firing range around noon Thursday. After dropping drill bombs, they were refueled again and returned to their home base.

The CFC said in a press release U.S. Strategic Command sent the bombers "as part of the ongoing bilateral Foal Eagle training exercise," demonstrating U.S. commitment and "its capability to defend [South Korea] and to provide extended deterrence."

The B-2 is a new strategic bomber that has been deployed by the U.S. Air Force since 1993. Twenty m long and 52 m wide, it is far bigger than the F-22 stealth fighter jet but has such excellent stealth functions that it appears on the radar screen as if it were of similar size.

It would prove its real worth when striking strategic targets such as the North Korean presidential palace and nuclear and missile bases that are equipped with powerful anti-air defense systems or hidden deep underground.
(Continued at the link below)

America’s B-2 bomber ‘practice run’ may have also been about deterring South Korea

This is not helpful.  Speculation of any daylight in the Alliance is not good.

The message of the B-2's and the B-52's is simple and designed for two things deterrence and demonstration of US commitment and resolve - The US is committed to the ROK/US Alliance and if the ROK or US is attacked the US can and will inflict devastation on the north that it has not seen since 1950-1953 and will bring an end to the regime.

This is important for two reasons.  The north only respects one thing: strength and power.  It is important to demonstrate that strength and will.  Second, the north will not attack in the face of strength and readiness.  It needs to attack a weak force, preferable after there is a split in the Alliance which is part of its long term strategy.  It also requires surprise and therefore demonstrated Alliance readiness through exercises and a reinforcement of the peninsula with elements such as the B-52s and B-2s shows that at this time the north cannot achieve surprise.  

I would be worried if the north went silent as they did in 1950 and stopped their propaganda and rhetoric and then made overtures for talks as they did in May 1950. Analysts thought they wanted to have a peaceful settlement to the division of the peninusla.  And we know what happened on the June 25, 1950.

To summarize:

The north's strategy for 60 years has included the important component of trying to split the ROK/US Alliance. Many of the north's actions are designed for that. One thing the Alliance must do is to attack that strategy and it can do that by responding to nK rhetoric and provocations by demonstrating Alliance strength.  Continued combined exercises and training to enhance readiness and deployment of advanced capabilities such as the B-2 demonstrate US commitment to the Alliance and the defense of the ROK.  And most important this demonstrates a failure of the nK strategy.  It is critical that we respond to the north with demonstrated strength and resolve.  I cannot emphasize that enough.  Ironically the stronger we are the less there is a chance of miscalculation by the regime.  If we show daylight in the Alliance they will try to exploit that and then we are going to have trouble. The Alliance is the key to stability as long as the Kim Family regime continues to exist.

America’s B-2 bomber ‘practice run’ may have also been about deterring South Korea
Posted by Max Fisher on March 28, 2013 at 11:17 am

(Cherie A. Thurlby/U.S. Air Force/Getty Images)
Two B-2 “Spirit” aircraft, nuclear-capable stealth bombers that are as wide as a 17-story building is tall, took off early on Thursday from an air force base just outside of Knob Noster, Mo. They flew across the Pacific Ocean, past the Korean peninsula, to a small island in the Yellow Sea, where they dropped some inert munitions before flying all the way back to Missouri.
Such exercises are rare, or at least rarely publicized: after it was over, the U.S. military announced the practice bombing run, the first time it has ever acknowledged a B-2 mission over the Korean peninsula, according to a New York Times story.

Why conduct such an elaborate exercise? A big part of the answer is, of course, as a deterrent to North Korea’s recent provocations, which have included severing emergency communication lines with the South, announcing a state of readiness for war and threatening “pre-emptive” nuclear strikes on the U.S.

But there may be something more going on here. Pyongyang’s latest threats are not new; although U.S. shows-of-force are part of the routine, this was an unusually dramatic way to demonstrate American deterrent capability. It’s possible that the bombing test run was also meant as a message to South Korea. That would be a deterrence of a very different sort: not from war, but from the possibility that this long-reliant American ally might seek to develop its own nuclear weapons program.

South Korea has long been under the American nuclear “umbrella,” meaning that the U.S. extends its nuclear deterrent to South Korean soil. But, over the last year, a small group of right-leaning South Korean politicians and opinion-makers have been arguing that their country should develop its own “indigenous” nuclear weapons. And South Koreans appear to be increasingly persuaded: a recent poll estimated that two thirds of the country supported the plan.
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S. Korea to delink humanitarian aid from N. Korea's denuclearization actions

Some will criticize this and there will be comparisons to the Sunshine Policy.  However, I think an important difference is that President Park's policies will rest on the foundation of the strength of the ROK/US Military Alliance.

But this statement is somewhat troubling:
  "We do look at this as part of a pattern, and we respond in the way that we always have," White House press secretary Jay Carney said at a press briefing.
One of the reasons that the north is acting the way it is is because of the way the ROK/US Alliance has always responded.  The regime thinks the ROK/US  Alliance will do little to nothing in response to a provocation and that eventually the US will want to return to negotiations to restore stability in the region.  But the north would be wrong at least in the case of the ROK – the ROK military will respond decisively  to the next "kinetic" provocation that results in an attack on the ROK and I do not think that the US will provide political and economic concessions to the regime in return for a return to negotiations.  The north is miscalculating regarding the likely ROK/US response and that of course is potentially very dangerous.

S. Korea to delink humanitarian aid from N. Korea's denuclearization actions
2013-03-27 10:00
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   South Korea will delink humanitarian assistance to North Korea from overall diplomatic developments with Pyongyang and its denuclearization actions, in the early stages of a "trust-building" process with the North, ministry officials said Wednesday.

   Unveiling detailed diplomatic goals for the new engagement policy with North Korea proposed by President Park Geun-hye, a high-ranking ministry official also brushed aside concerns about to what extent the U.S. will support the initiative by Park to expand inter-Korean relations, saying Washington "fully understands" the new approach by Seoul.

   Park has pledged to pursue the "trust-building" policy with North Korea that calls for more engagement with the North, while, at the same time, not tolerating Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

   In an annual policy briefing to Park on Wednesday, the foreign ministry summarized Park's initiative as a three-step approach in which South Korea will first provide humanitarian aid to North Korea while calling for the North to keep the agreements made with the South.

   If the first-stage measure is successful in building confidence between the two Koreas, South Korea will expand inter-Korean economic cooperation without linking it to the North's nuclearization actions, the high-ranking ministry official said.

   The third-stage step is for large-scale government assistance, but it will be possible only if North Korea demonstrates its sincerity for denuclearization through actions, the official said.

   "From the start, the Korean Peninsula trust-building process does not link to North Korea's denuclearization," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

   "If confidence is built throughout the first two stages, the third stage of large-scale assistance will be linked to progress in the North's denuclearization," the official said.

   So far, the U.S. has maintained its stance that it won't return to nuclear talks with North Korea unless the North takes "irreversible steps" to denuclearize.

   However, numerous analysts have raised doubts over Washington's so-called "strategic patience" approach toward North Korea, a policy of shunning direct talks with the North until it agrees to abide by past nuclear commitments.

   Despite diplomatic efforts and international sanctions, North Korea has continued to develop its missile and nuclear programs.
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B-2s fly nonstop from US to Korea for exercise mission Stars and Stripes

This is important for deterrence.  B-52's and B-2's along with carrier battle groups send a strong message to the generals surrounding Kim Jong-un.

B-2s fly nonstop from US to Korea for exercise mission
Stars and Stripes

Published: March 28, 2013

A U.S. Air Force B-2 from the 509th Bomber Wing flies over the flightline during the 2011 Aviation Nation Open House Nov. 13, 2011, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — A pair of Air Force B-2 stealth bombers flew a mission from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., to South Korea on Thursday as part of the annual Foal Eagle joint exercise, making the long round trip without stopping.

“This mission by two B-2 Spirit bombers assigned to 509th Bomb Wing, which demonstrates the United States’ ability to conduct long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will, involved flying more than 6,500 miles to the Korean Peninsula, dropping inert munitions on the Jik Do Range, and returning to the continental U.S. in a single, continuous mission,” according to a U.S. Forces Korea statement.
The B-2 is a nuclear-capable intercontinental bomber that can fly long non-stop missions by using in-flight refueling.

At least one of the two B-2s was seen flying with an F-16 escort over Osan Air Base on Thursday.
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Village Stability Operations: An Historical Perspective from Vietnam to Afghanistan

It is always good to look at history.

Since this paper relies heavily on COL Kelly's Vietnam Studies monograph on US Special Forces in Vietnam: 1961-1971 here is the link to it.  This is a very useful source for those who want to look at the CODG program as well as some of the early organizations of Special Forces (A Team, B Team, and C Team): 


Village Stability Operations: An Historical Perspective from Vietnam to Afghanistan

Journal Article | March 28, 2013 - 2:30am

"The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish . . . the kind of war on which they are embarking." 
                                                                               - Karl von Clausewitz

Over the course of America’s 235 year history she has declared major war five times and has been involved in over 180 small conflicts (Boot 2002). The United States has experienced every facet of warfare in almost every geographical setting on earth (Boot 2002). Extensive archives of military strategy which could undeniably provide potential solutions for the strategic problems we are facing in warfare today are as easily accessible as a Google search. However it took the United States over eight years of fighting in the austere terrain of Afghanistan before the Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command Afghanistan (CFSOCC-A) finally proposed the strategy of the Civilian Defense Initiative (CDI). Within less than a year’s time this strategy was renamed and finally rested with the title of Village Stability Operations (VSO). Today Village Stability Operations is the premier strategy touted by the current US administration and is considered by many the strategy for success in Afghanistan.
When first tasked with implementing what is now called the Village Stability Operations (VSO) strategy in April 2009, a proposal of what the strategy should roughly resemble was forwarded through the 7th Special Forces Group’s chain of command to Operational Detachment Alpha 7224 (ODA or “the Detachment”). The briefing that was included in the mission description was established by input from Dr. Seth Jones of the Rand Corporation and Brigadier General Reeder, the Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command Afghanistan Commander (CFSOCC-A). The proposal depicted the typical counter insurgency (COIN) mission under the overarching mission in Afghanistan of Foreign Internal Defense Mission (FID). Special Forces conduct both of these mission sets on a routine basis. However the VSO mission differed from the usual mission of train, interdict, and disrupt which the Special Forces and conventional counterparts had been waging since the inception of the war in Afghanistan. The ODA realized that the VSO strategy proposal was essentially a combination of COIN and FID, and was similar to tenants that are taught in the Robin Sage portion of the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC).

When the Detachment started its initial planning on how to operationalize VSO, it conducted a historical study of some of the proposed tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and came to realize that some of the key components harkened back to the Special Forces’ strategy of Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) in Vietnam. CIDG was one of Special Forces’ greatest success stories in American history and by far the greatest example of how to fight unconventional warfare with an economy of force approach and modest foot print. Amongst all the different theories, schematics, and pillars of counter insurgency, the CIDG experience was American made and executed with precision.
During the period from 1954 to 1971, the longest COIN/FID mission ever conducted by an American force was directly implemented by the US Special Forces (USSF) in South Vietnam. In the initial stages of American USSF involvement in Vietnam, President Kennedy emphasized to new Army lieutenants graduating from West Point “[t]hat this is another type of war, new in its intensity, ancient in its origin - war by guerillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins, war by ambush instead of by combat; by infiltration, instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him” (Arnold 2009).  President John F. Kennedy stated that pure military skill is no longer enough to address the current defense challenges that our nation is facing (Olson 2011). He further elaborated that a full spectrum of military, paramilitary and civil action must be blended to produce success (Olson 2011). President Kennedy’s proposal of a whole new military strategy was considered to be ahead of his time by many. He displayed an innate ability to recognize the future of modern irregular warfare and identify it as one of the greatest existential threats to the United States beyond that of high intensity conflict. Many who have done the thorough analysis would agree that President Kennedy rather than a visionary could have been a tremendous steward of US military small war history.

Various Special Forces elements operated under the auspices of military advisory groups in South Vietnam as early as July 1954, just three months after the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu (Kelly 1973). From 1954 until 1957 there were roughly 342 trainers in country, advising, training, and assisting the fledgling South Vietnamese Army (Kelly 1973). By 1957, the 1st Special Forces Group had trained over 58 men of the South Vietnamese Army which formed the trainers of the elite Vietnamese Special Forces units (Kelly 1973). With the exponential growth of the Viet Cong insurgency, the counter insurgency strategy drastically needed to be expanded and it came to be known as the Civilian Irregular Defense Group (Kelly 1973).

The Civilian Irregular Defense Group took place in rural villages where Special Forces would set up area development centers and focus on local defense and civic action. Primarily the CIDG strategy resulted in an ODA occupying a village after they made their initial assessment which encompassed tribal elder wishes with rapport building. That ODA would be responsible for establishing a village security force comprised of roughly 10-12 men per village depending on populace size and enemy activity in the area (Kelly 1973). A larger village within that same province would have a more fortified position with the construct of a Mobile Strike Force (MIKE Force) and civil action platform. The MIKE force was essentially a 35 man element or larger of a more highly trained indigenous force (Kelly 1973). The MIKE force’s main mission was to provide a counter offensive strike capability to defend villages, local defense forces, and the ODAs in them. The MIKE force was trained, advised and led by an ODA.
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Can the Marines Survive? If America's amphibious force doesn't adapt, it'll be dead in the water.

Can they survive?  Of course they will as they are the only force that by law must retain 3 divisions and 3 air wings.  I think only Congress could end the Marine Corps and I am sure hell will freeze over before that happens.

I do love the Marines and I do believe the USMC is an elite force but I have to take exception to this statement:

In short, the future of warfare is in special operations, and the Pentagon will need a lot more operators. The future of the Marine Corps is as a special operations force that functions in a sustained combat mode.

I do not think that the Marines need to bill themselves as special operations and in fact an argument like this just seems to me like someone chasing the newest "shiny thing."  SOF seems popular at the moment so if a little if good a lot is better.  If the Marines can execute what is a traditional SOF mission then perhaps it does not need to be a SOF mission but instead a Marine mission.  And of course there are many SOF missions that are not SOF exclusive – FID being one of them.  I would be very much opposed to having the Marines writ large reinvent themselves as SOF.   

Organizationally, the Marine rifle squad as we know it today will no longer exist. Each squad will have a signals intelligence specialist, data and communications specialists, demolitions experts, one or two corpsmen, a sniper, and two or three machine gun teams -- only one or two team members may be certified "JTACs" but all must know how to coordinate the use of precision munitions and air assets via multiple radio and data waveforms. From the lowest-ranking member of the team to the general officer leading the joint task force headquarters, live video feeds will stream continuously, giving every warfighter a clear, concise picture of the battlefield. Rarely will the Marine of the future use his personal weapon; "rifleman" will become an antiquated term.

But this sure sounds like at least a partial attempt be an SF A Team. While I have no problem with someone else using an adapted organizational construct of an A Team (which is a very good and small combined arms organization) we should be under no illusion that a Marine Rifle squad will ever be able to replace an SF A Team.  Again no disrespect meant to our great Marines who are capable of doing great things, the SF mission is appropriate for SF.  And I would just add, can anyone show us the demand signal for a force beyond 360 Special Forces Operational Detachments Alpha( SF ODA) (or 120 continuously globally deployed ODAs at three to make one)?

But this statement below reminds me of the book by Richard Simpkin, Race to the Swift when he said, in 1983 I think, that the most important Soldier on he battlefield will be one that has a radio and can control fires and air.

To operate in small teams that can coordinate a massive precision-engagement campaign, Marines will have to change the way they fight and train. The ethos of "every Marine a rifleman" will shift to "every Marine a JTAC," or joint terminal air controller. A Marine or team that cannot communicate on the battlefield will die. Marines will manage and become experts on dozens of different communications platforms ensuring double and triple redundancy.
While I think that this capability may very well be an important one for the Marine Corps to have and may very well be the way of the future, I do not think that such a mission is special.  I think it is an advanced Infantry mission and  it may very well turn out to be routine.

The Marine Corps does not need to evolve or adapt and become SOF.  The Marine Corps can and will adapt to the changing environment and remain Marines.

If America's amphibious force doesn't adapt, it'll be dead in the water.


On one day in 1965, a large sortie of U.S. Air Force F-105s dropped over 600 750-pound bombs on the Thanh Hoa Bridge, just 70 kilometers south of Hanoi. The result was the loss of five U.S. aircraft and a complete failure to destroy the bridge. Amazingly, the bridge would withstand over 800 more sorties from U.S. aircraft in the next seven years and receive the moniker "The Dragon's Jaw" because of its seeming indestructability and the nearby air defenses that stymied U.S. forces. Finally, in 1972, a sortie of F-4Ds carrying the new Paveway laser-guided bomb destroyed the Thanh Hoa Bridge.
Although not obvious at the time, the advent of the Paveway marked the beginning of a dramatic transformation in U.S. military technology that would change warfare forever. The revolution in precision munitions that began then has so accelerated in recent years that enemy forces can no longer operate in formations and in mass. They simply present too big a target. That, in turn, means that the days of U.S. corps, divisions, and brigades maneuvering on a battlefield with tanks, artillery, and motorized/mechanized infantry are numbered. Our surveillance capabilities allow us to sense everything on the battlefield. Any sizable vehicle formation, or single vehicle for that matter, can be destroyed with the click of a button half a world away. On today's battlefield, movement means death.

A lively debate is taking place within the Pentagon these days over how to adapt to this new reality. The Air Force and the Navy have come up with a new concept called Air-Sea Battle, which focuses on integrating naval and air forces to defeat adversaries with precision weapons backed by robust intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets. Simply put, the Air Force and the Navy are embracing new technology and have come to understand that with an integrated approach they should be able to defeat an enemy that is hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles away.

By contrast, the Marines -- and the Army -- are still trained in infantry tactics that would be recognizable to a World War II vet, organized to fight big land battles with heavy tanks and armored personnel carriers. There's an elephant walking around the Pentagon these days and everyone is trying to ignore it. No one wants to talk about the fact that land forces, as currently organized, are becoming increasingly irrelevant. This is not to say that there is no use for ground troops. They are needed, but in future conflicts they will only play a secondary role. Land forces will no longer win wars. Computers, missiles, planes, and drones will. If the Marines want to survive, we're going to have to adapt -- and fast.

Struggling for Relevance

The Marines are a door-kicking service, designed to breach enemy territory and establish an entry point for the Army's strategic land capability. But the U.S. military's development of unmanned aircraft, combined with stealth technology and unmatched ISR capability, makes it almost impossible for an enemy today to significantly impede the landing of U.S. forces on a beach or at a port. Forcible entry no longer requires landing forces -- it takes precision strikes, coordinated by special operations forces as needed. But if the door is going to be kicked in by a cruise missile, an unmanned aircraft, or other platform delivering precision munitions, why does the Marine Corps insist on maintaining such a large amphibious forcible entry capability based around the same Marine who stormed ashore at Tarawa? Because to argue that the United States does not need a forcible-entry force would be to question the very necessity of having a Marine Corps. Unfortunately, that is the question the Corps must now answer.
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North Korea says it has cut key military hotline

One of our long time fears is what could happen to the South Koreans at the Kaesong Industrial Complex.  This is a scenario that will be very complex if those South Koreans are "held hostage" and not allowed to return to the South (if it goes beyond being "stranded" as in 2009)

North Korea says it has cut key military hotline
By HYUNG-JIN KIM | Associated Press – 1 hr 3 mins ago
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Raising tensions with South Korea yet again, North Korea cut a military hotline that has been essential in operating the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation: an industrial complex in the North that employs hundreds of workers from the South.

There was no immediate word about what cutting one of the few remaining official North-South links would mean for South Korean workers who were at the Kaesong industrial complex. When the link was last cut, in 2009, many South Koreans were stranded in the North.

The hotline shutdown is the latest of many threats and provocative actions from North Korea, which is angry over U.S.-South Korean military drills and recent U.N. sanctions punishing it for its Feb. 12 nuclear test. In a statement announcing the shutdown, the Northrepeated its claim that war may break out any moment.

Outside North Korea, Pyongyang's actions are seen in part as an effort to spur dormant diplomatic talks to wrest outside aid, and to strengthen internal loyalty to young leader Kim Jong Un and build up his military credentials.

South Korean officials said that about 750 South Koreans were in Kaesong on Wednesday, and that the two Koreas had normal communications earlier in the day over the hotline when South Korean workers traveled back and forth to the factory park as scheduled.

Workers at Kaesong could also be contacted directly by phone from South Korea on Wednesday.
A South Korean worker for Pyxis, a company that produces jewelry cases at Kaesong, said in a phone interview that he was worried about a possible delay in production if cross-border travel is banned again.
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