"We are not very well prepared to deal with a collapsed North Korea," said Bruce Bennett, a defense analyst at the RAND Corporation.
Bennett says his numbers for containing the regime's nuclear arsenal run even higher, 200,000 troops, larger than the force in Iraq and Afghanistan at its peak.
"We would have to send perhaps a third of our army to South Korea in order to deal with the weapons of mass destruction. And with the rotations we do of our forces, that's about all we can afford to do at any given time," said Bennett
It is thought that North Korea has 100 sites linked to their nuclear and missile program. But with a black tarp shrouding intelligence on the locations, troops would likely have to fight their way through the country to find and secure them.
"North Korea has about 1.2 million people in the military, that's a very large military for us to deal with," said Bennett. According to the South Korean defense ministry, North Korea also has "about 200,000 special forces. And those special forces would be prepared to fight you like Taliban, or the Iraqi insurgents."
"It was a family regime that had nuclear weapons, lost control of nuclear weapons. The population was considered to be so brainwashed, and we had a staging area with a country in the south," said Paul McLeary of Defense News. McLeary was present as the military officials debated the plans.